Xseed Interview and Podcasts are incoming, late tonight or early tomorrow due to extenuating circumstances. Thank you.
It is exceedingly surprising how often I get asked if I play Shin Megami Tensei. Like, I can honestly say that out of ten conversations I have where my website comes up, at least seven of them involve someone asking me if I like Shin Megami Tensei and Disgaea. I generally at that point politely point out that as a Christian gamer I take offense to those games, because of their devil summoning, their demonic protagonists and their obsession with a vehemently negative portrayal of Christianity. I usually then get one of three responses:
1) It’s just a video game; you shouldn’t let yourself be swayed that easily!
2) Yeah, but they’re so cool!
3) Have you even played them? They’re totally not even like that!
To which I reply:
1) It’s not just a video game; it’s a malicious attack on my faith that goes out of its way to go after Christianity in a volatile manner, and is always full of straight up lies about my faith.
2) It doesn’t really matter how cool the gameplay is if it spits on my beliefs.
3) Yes actually I have, and yes actually they are.
See, that’s one of the things that I do here; I go out of my way to play games that spit on my faith. Why? Because I can’t very well say
“Bayonetta is bad.”
unless I’ve played it and can follow up that statement with why.
To summarize, gamers always be like
“You gotta play Bayonetta! It’s friggin’ amazing!”
and I’m all like
“Yes I have, that game is an affront to my faith.”
and then they’re all like
“You close minded Christian, it’s just a game!”
and then I’m all like
“Are you aware that Bayonetta’s background is told as a caricature of the Bible that replaces Christ with Bayonetta, a witch, and then proceeds to have her molest and kill angels with the end goal of killing God and Christ?”
and they be all
“It’s not even like that! Have you even played the game?”
and I’m all
“Yes. Yes I have. Allow me to point you to the scriptures they’re intentionally misrepresenting.”
They usually get flustered and suddenly want to change the subject at that point. That, or they go
“Oh you silly Christian, you must hate Harry Potter!”
and I go
“I loved Harry Potter. Within the realm of those seven novels the writer went out of her way not to attack my faith. They’re great books.”
and then they go
“You must hate Lord of the Rings!”
and I go
“…Tolkien was a Christian and Lord of the Rings was based on the Bible.”
and then they go
“Well, well, you must hate Narnia!”
and then I go
“…C.S. Lewis was a Christian, and Narnia was based on the Bible.”
Then they laugh awkwardly and change the subject.
So, I’m playing Shin Megami Tensei IV. I had a lot of people like “But you hate Shin Megami Tensei! You probably hate Atlus too!” to which I reply “I like the concept of Shin Megami Tensei. The dark, eldritch, gothic struggle against insurmountable odds. I love the idea of the constant battle to resist the demonic whisper in your ear to submit to a chaotic path. I even like the concept of Pokemon for grown folks (which by the way, you know what Pokemon for adults is called? It’s frigging called Pokemon. Deal with it. #GettingBothXandY). What I don’t like is the obsession with devil summoning as well as the obsession with portraying Christians as psychotic zealots. Also the various lies the games tell about my faith.”
See, Shin Megami Tensei has always been intriguing to me. I’m not sure why; maybe its because its something I shouldn’t play. See, I have this problem with being told I can’t do something; like most human beings it only makes me want to do it more. However, as I’ve often told people, I’m not willing to sacrifice my faith to play a nifty video game.
So, when I told people that I was reviewing Shin Megami Tensei IV they were all like “Awww snap! You’re gonna heap so much hate on that game!”
To which I replied “I hope I don’t have to.”
See, when I say I’m an unbiased reviewer, it’s not just in regard to games I don’t like, such as Call of Duty. I also go into things that appear to attack my faith with an unbiased view, and I hope to be pleasantly surprised. On rare occasions, exceedingly rare occasions, I am. I think the last time I was pleasantly surprised was with the original Devil May Cry, or perhaps Asura’s Wrath. Although Asura’s Wrath lost points with me because its racist.
“NO IT’S NO–”
Remember the jigaboo characters in the true ending? Yes, yes it is.
Anyways, I always hope to be surprised. I guess the reason is two fold:
1) If the game really is nifty cool then yeah, as a gamer I want to play it.
2) Despite considering myself to be quite pragmatic, I still have this “I want everyone to be nice and get along” thing goin’ on, so I really do want to believe that developers whom I’ve held a great deal of respect for, such as Keiji Inafune and Hideo Kojima, didn’t really just release something that makes me feel sick, like Soul Sacrifice or Peacewalker.
I often times get someone that tells me “Don’t be so uptight, it’s just a game. Don’t let it get to you.”
If I see a movie with a black church where everyone is all “CAN I GET A WITNESS UP IN HEE-YAH!” and a lady with a big hat faints, that’s pretty funny. It’s an innocent parody that actually parallels a lot of down south churches quite well. If I play a game where, well, let’s try this.
Let’s say you’re a…Buddhist. And let’s say you are bombarded with games that portray Buddhists as super fat and lazy and idiots and perverts and the cause of all evil in the world. You’d be pissed off, wouldn’t you? What if you believe that having an affair is a hurtful and negative thing (which is a belief that everyone should hold, but apparently that line of thinking isn’t as prevalent as one would expect), but you’re bombarded with games and movies that portray it as hunky dory. You’d be hurt, right? Upset? If you’re an advocate for fair treatment of individuals with mental illnesses, doesn’t it piss you off when you hear someone say “retard” as a derogatory bit of slang, or as a survivor of abuse doesn’t it make your blood boil every time you hear someone say “oh dude, I totally just raped you!” when playing a game?
That’s how I feel when I see games like Bayonetta, El Shaddai and Shin Megami Tensei. That’s how I feel when someone says “God da** it!”
So, yes, I am playing Shin Megami Tensei IV to review it. And yes, I really do hope to be pleasantly surprised because the gameplay is a lot of fun, and the whole “specter of death” concept is far less ham handed than it was in Persona 3, though I still feel like I don’t care adequately about certain deaths when I only got to know the characters for a handful of minutes. I read the story before I played it, and so I already know I can’t review it positively (and there is literally only one, possibly two plot points that are the cause of that, which is a darn shame), but I’m still going into it hoping to be proven wrong.
Maybe I just keep looking for the best in everyone, maybe I want to hope that these developers don’t honestly care so little about me and hundreds of thousands of millions of other people in the world, maybe I just want to be able to enjoy what is an otherwise well designed game. However, the point still remains: I will always be absolutely unbiased until provided a reason to react.
This got a little more long winded than I planned, but, there ya go. The game is like, fifty hours long, so don’t expect the review any time soon, but I might do a little snapshot impression part way through. I made it to Tokyo, so, if anyone wants to tell me how far I am that’d be nifty.