Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Evangelical Nerds Salivate as German Company Announces Massive Bible Video Game

When I was a little kid, I got my hands on a game for the original Nintendo Entertainment System called "Bible Adventures." The game featured modules based on three stories from scripture: "Noah's Ark," "Baby Moses," and "David and Goliath." I mainly remember the first one, a clunky side-scroller in which a rectangular Noah walks around a painfully 2-D jungle picking up animals and, with luck, lofting them into a menacing gray-brown cavern--presumably the ark, though it always looked to my adolescent mind like a big sinkhole.

I vaguely recall the Moses game too, but only because you can't kill the baby--it's a Christian game, after all. I spent most of my time lofting the infant savior of the Israelites like an over-ripe turnip, into bad guys and streams.

"Bible Adventures" was independently released by Wisdom Tree Games because Nintendo never officially approved it. It's hard to see why, though: they clearly passed up a goldmine. I mean, what kid wouldn't want to drop $35 on a NES title whose main objective is hoisting animals over your head, rushing around gunning for the best prize of all: Bible verses!

However, fans of "Bible Adventures" wet their pants earlier this week when German company FIAA GmbH--pronounced "fee-aah gim-buh" (kidding)--announced the release of a massive multiplayer online (MMO) Bible game appropriately titled "Bible Online." That's right, "World of Warcraft" meets "Word of God." In a fight to the death, who will win?

The first chapter is called "The Heroes" and is apparently based on stories from Genesis, or "the Genesis," as the slightly askew English translation of the press release reads. It continues, "As the leader of their tribe, players have to construct their villages, manage recources [sic] and the budget." God, I love the chapter when Isaac manages his budget--I'm so excited to see how Feyah Gimbah will do it!

After successfully managing a budget--if players can stand the excitement--they'll begin questing for the Promised Land in an effort to get Abraham to Canaan. But it's not all Abraham's show here, folks: "The game also offers role playing elements. The birth right system introduces Abraham's successors Isaac and Jacob. Side quests allow users to experience less known stories of the Genesis."

Now, I'm not sure what the "birth right system" is, but I know for a fact that God was just waiting for the day when someone would finally allow Jews and Christians to learn "the Genesis" through "side quests." I'm personally looking forward to one from Genesis 38, in which Judah sleeps with his daughter-in-law Tamar. It's probably going to be like a kinky Japanese anime video game.

There's no word yet on whether "Bible Online" will include other pieces of the Torah: the near-sacrifice of Isaac, Simeon and Levi's slaughter of Shechem, the creation of the world. (I always wanted to see what the universe would have looked like if God made light after he made humans--I picture lots of primeval heads bumping on doorposts.) I'm also hoping for a Wii-style power-pad race up Jacob's ladder.

Nonetheless, one thing's for certain: I want in on the beta testing ... it starts September 6.

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