Christian Conservative Anti-Spore Site a Fraud - The Intrepid

Friday, September 12, 2008

Christian Conservative Anti-Spore Site a Fraud

Yesterday Anti-spore.com, a staunch Christian blog upset about the evolutionary elements in the new PC game Spore, revealed its fraudulent nature by posting lyrics from the song “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley. The site, which had received attention from hundreds of gaming sites for its controversial nature, turned out to be an elaborate Rickroll. (Rickrolling is an internet based bait and switch tactic in which users are often tricked into watching Astely’s video or seeing his lyrics in some form or other.)

Although the deeply Christian conservative outlook in this blog was faked, many of the elements of this blog are based on truth. Christian conservatives and the conservative media in the United States have often attacked video games for supposedly promoting immoral actions.

Fox News has often been at the forefront of these sleazy attacks. In a segment called “SeX-Box”, Fox News famously attacked the game Mass Effect for supporting rape and other deviant sexual activity. As it turned out, the Fox News correspondent, Cooper Lawrence, had never even played the game and had based her criticism on second hand reports.

A Google search reveals numerous Christian conservative sites that feature “Christian” video game reviews. One of the most prominent of these sites is Guide2Games. According to their Mission Statement, Guide2Games “exists to assist gamers and parents in making wise decisions in their choice of electronic games. Many games contain objectionable material, behavior and attitudes. Although some game companies provide a simple rating system, it is not based on a Christian worldview.”

The reviews on the site typically assess the gameplay and then in the final portion of the review the violent, language, sexual, and spiritual content. For the most part the site does a good job of catering to the Christian base, and probably a useful resource for parents with young children. However, some of the commentary goes a little over the top and direct associations are made between playing a violent game and acting violently.

For instance in a Doom III review, the reviewer stated, “after hours of exposure to this game, I could see a child’s attitude and personality change because of this game. I would have displayed more images but due to the graphic and satanic nature of this game I just couldn’t show it. Stay far away from Doom III it has no value to it at all. I would highly recommend that anyone who professes themselves to be Christians, to NOT PLAY THIS GAME.”

The most famous Christian conservative anti-gaming crusader is Jack Thompson. Thompson, a self-professed advocate of Christian moral standards, has attacked everything from Grand Theft Auto to The Sims for overly violent and sexual content. Although, Thompson usually generates media attention with his over-the-top assertions, he has failed to make a significant impact on the standards of the gaming industry. Though he has made himself a wealth of enemies in the industry.

Sites like Guide2Gamers, though a little high strung at times, provide a useful service for conservative Christian gamers. Although Anti-spore.com provided a link to Guide2Games, the joke inherent in anti-Spore is on hypocritical institutions such as Fox News and bulldogs like Jack Thompson.