The yawntastic link of the day: The Watchman Expositor: Fantasy Role-playing Games - Downloading Danger.

Of course, the article is pretty old, as it refers to Ultima IX as being upcoming in 1997 and N64 being a new system...

Anyway. I was looking for more references about the Ultima VII's Scientology links (note the subtlety, depth, moral analysis, and sheer brilliance of this epic of a game!) and Google tosses this rambling at me. I'm not happy.

First off, I'm not particularly happy about RPGs getting condemned by people as "occult" or anything. In fact, right now, my head is completely empty of anything witty to say about the anti-D&D folks like that incoherent guy and that ol' annoying blabberer, because firstly, it's past four o'clock in the morning and secondly, this thing has been discussed before to the extent that it's even remotely discussable.

The big irony is that the article opens thus: It is important to note that not all RPG's are connected to the occult, and that parents should experience the game with the child before condemning it. Yet, the article is filled with commenting stuff on store shelves (A description of 'Warlock' provided by one toy store gives an example...) and as they're descibed in magazines. And anyone who has ever followed the modern "media industry" even passingly knows very well that there are five kinds of lies: Lies, damn lies, statistics, back cover descriptions, and magazine preview articles.

The bit on Ultima IX goes like this:

Another game which may open the door to occult activity is Ultima IX: Ascension (due out in spring '97 on CD-ROM). Next Generation provides a preview of this game that contains a picture of an Avatar (used here as a demon-like figure instead of the traditional definition: the incarnation of a Hindu deity) standing in a circle of protection. Condemning the game on the basis of one picture may seem a little harsh, but this kind of symbolism is often characteristic of strong occult tendencies. Many video and computer games have these types of characters and symbols, and so they can be said to introduce players to the realm of the occult.

This is a beautiful example of how not to do analysis of moral values in a videogame! Basically, they took a preview picture - very early preview picture also - and picked the whole game apart based on that. That's kind of like saying the Bible is really evil because it contains so many "smotes", and right in the first books!

I haven't seen the picture they're talking about, but "a demon-like figure" sure doesn't sound like Avatar to me. Circles of protection... Hum, let me guess, something from the games around that: Pyros or maybe the Guardian? You see, this thing is very vague. They most likely didn't even know who this Avatar fellow was supposed to be in the picture they were looking at!

Right now, I was sort of hoping to hear some analysis of the Virtues and moral content of Ultimas in general - I'd love to hear what some other Christians could say about it. I'm fairly sure there are people who can just look at the games with open mind and not just supposedly open mind.

Here's a quote I'd like to tell to the author of that supposed article: "Not all games that have just a teeny weeny little bit of supposed occultism on the cover are evil. People who assess the moral content of the games should actually play the game throughoutly before saying any kind of judgement on the moral depravity of the game, and not base things on such obviously false things."