Skepticism

Skepchick Quickies, 9.10

Jen

Jen is a writer and web designer/developer in Columbus, Ohio. She spends too much time on Twitter at @antiheroine.

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  1. That anti-spore page is a good place to go for a laugh. Here’s an example of one of the posts: “8,500 people all working together and not a single one with enough Jesus to stand up and say what they are doing is wrong.” I didn’t know that Jesus was a unit of measure! I don’t know how much Jesus the creator of that page has, but my guess is that it’s probably over 9000.

    It’s amusing that this guy/gal has a problem with this one EA game. What about ‘Red Alert’ (the first EA game I ever played) where you could play as the godless Soviets as they smash through Western Europe, or ‘The Sims’ where homosexual relationships are treated the same as heterosexual ones. There are so many wonderful games to get all offended about. Some of you folks might remember that people were offended by Space Invaders when that came out.

  2. @Jen: The controversy was mostly directed at the fact that the game couldn’t be beaten. Since the player is going to eventually lose no matter how hard he or she tries there were adults who concluded that the game taught “unwholesome life lessons”, and “encouraged defeatism” in the minds of the children who played it. The reaction was probably that severe only because kids all over the world were suddenly obsessed with this brand new type of game and old people just didn’t get it (think of the reaction by some to Elvis Presley and to Jazz Music). I think that the game was even banned in a country or two. Apparently there were some sensational stories about kids stealing from their parents and blackmailing folks to get money to play that game. So it’s not too surprising that some people reacted the way they did. But in the end the Space Invaders won… they always won.

    To be honest, that game was just a bit before my time… I grew up with Intellivision and Nintendo

  3. @jabell2r: Well, I do remember playing Centipede at the arcade, if that makes you feel better. I feel impossibly old remembering playing Duck Hunt with that stupid gun that hardly ever worked and then watching my three-year-old daughter kick ass at GameBoy Advance Pokemon.

  4. The last article is interesting.

    I don’t play a lot of computer games. Mostly because I prefer turn-based tactical games over the types of games that merely require you to be the fastest at hammering on the keys or buttons (or having the better internet uplink), as is typical with real-time strategy games and first person shooters.
    As such, I’d much rather play board games than online multiplayer stuff.

    That said, figuring out loopholes in any game system is fun. Cheating to win isn’t though, no matter how many twelve year olds seem to find it highly enjoyable to suck any fun out a game by using all the cheats other people discovered/reported.

  5. Of course Jesus is a unit of measure. Despite their similar names, a “Jesus” is inversely proportional to a “Genius.” So it would be mathematically impossible for Will Wright or any of the Spore devs to have enough Jesus. I’ll bet the anti-Spore site is chock full o’ Jesus…

    I don’t know how much Jesus the creator of that page has, but my guess is that it’s probably over 9000.

    …twitching from bad YouTube memories…

  6.  former WoW addict.

     Wary of time-sink games

     LOVES the idea of Spore… NPR did a whole thing on it last week, there was almost drool.

     Never played video games as a kid unless you count Tetris.

     Knows there is a bad joke about “getting a little Jesus on your dress” but can’t think straight before coffee.

  7. @Imrryr: *grin* We had one, one of those old-style two screen ones, but it was closed when I was, 10. My home town STILL doesn’t have a Wal*Mart, amazingly enough, though a 4-screen movie theater did finally open up there several years ago (my dad was GIDDY).

    @jabell2r: I think we did have a drive-in at one point, but this was so long ago I don’t even remember it.

    I’ve actually NEVER seen a movie in a drive-in.

  8. @LBB: You know, I seem to recall a game in which you play God, but for the life of me I can’t remember what it was called. Was Black & White a game in which you could be a “good” god or a “bad” god? Because I think that’s the premise of the game I’m thinking about. Aaah, I can’t remember and it’s going to drive me nutters.

    Aren’t you technically playing god in The Sims, anyway? And as someone else mentioned, they treat homosexuality, at least in The Sims 2, like any other relationship, and there is plenty of sex, and hell, you can get add-ons or whatever to make the sex realistic. I’ve seen them. They are hysterical.

  9. @marilove: That’s exactly right. You have worshipers, and you can increase the strength of their faith either by taking really good care of them, or punishing them harshly. And unlike the Sims, there’s nothing implied. The game makes no bones about the fact that you are a god, competing with other gods for the worship of the people.

  10. @LBB: Ooh, I’ve never heard of that one. It sounds a little like “Populous” for the Snes. In that game you play as a deity, grow your civilization and then compel your worshipers to fight the followers of an enemy deity in an Armageddon of sorts. I remember playing that as a kid and thinking it was depressing :)

    When fundies make games they seem to be universally awful. “Super Noah’s Ark 3D” is the first game that comes to mind. It was an exact clone of “Wolfenstein 3D”, except instead of shooting Nazis with guns you shoot goats with fruit. And no… I’m not making that up. The most recent game was “Left Behind: Eternal Forces” where you engage in spiritual warfare against non-believers. That’s a game that has fundamentalists divided. Some like Stephen Baldwin (of Biodome “fame”) think it’s a masterpiece. Others say it completely contradicts the teachings of the Bible. It’s nice to see them fighting amongst themselves for a change.

  11. Every time I see one of these Christian anti-something sites I’m always seized by the suspicion that it just has to be a spoof. That or a really clever piece of marketing on the part of EA. Is anyone really this dumb or intolerant?

    If there is a theological point to Spore (and it’s just a bloody computer game after all) it seems to be a promotion of theistic evolution. The device used by the Catholic church and more liberal protestant faiths to accomodate uncomfortably disprovable evolutionary science within an ancient set of superstitious beliefs: god created everything, evolution is just the tool he used to do it. Which means god is basically an absentee landlord who still demands the rent.

    I probably won’t be buying Spore. Took a look at a demo and there wasn’t a BFG in sight. What kind of game is that?

  12. The great irony in this is that just the other day, after getting all excited about the game, I had a downer, buzz-killing moment when I realized the whole thing would encourage the Intelligent Design viewpoint by not providing a realistic game-means for real evolutionary change. *Sigh*

    Note to the complainers: If your religion is so weak that it can be challenged by a video game, you’re in some pretty serious trouble without any help from us godless skeptics. ;)

  13. Have you people seen today’s post at Antispore?

    But the Bible teaches us that God was not done with man. For we were His creation and He then spoke to Noah in Genesis 8:21-27 after the flood. “21. The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. And never gonna give you up. 22. “Never gonna let you down.” 23.”Never gonna run around and desert you.” 24. “Never gonna make you cry.” 25. “Never gonna say goodbye.” 26. “Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you.” 27.”Never truly believe anything you read on the Internet. There will always be cases of Poe’s Law.”

    We’ve been poerolled.

  14. Speaking of humans creating life, isn’t that one og the big gaps that the God of the Gaps likes to hide in? As in…”Man can do X, but only God can do Y?”

    Looks like another gap is going to slam shut soon…don’t get pinched! ;-)

    The Christers think of everything in theological terms, which is why they frequently come up with such lunacy as the latest criticism of “Spore.” They are so locked into their superstitious, “the world is about to end any day now and I’m saved” paranoia that they cannot see reality or their own hypocracy any more.

  15. On the Spore note… has anyone else noticed that it ascribes to the Panspermia theory of the origins of life? You start off as a spore that has been brought to your world on a meteorite. Panspermia: the deus ex machina of the biological world. :)

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