Thursday, November 09, 2006

Just in time for Christmas

What on earth are some people thinking? The following are real products aimed at young people.

Tesco, a major retailer in England, has agreed to remove a stripper pole kit from its "Toy" section. Yep, right there along side Barbie and Tonka trucks (or their English equivalents) you'd find a kit with extendable pole, garter, sexy music, fake money and lessons on doing, well, what you do on a stripper pole. What genius saw fit to classify this as a "toy"? All it would have taken is about 3 seconds of thought to come to the realization, "You know this is the section of the web page that the kiddies spend the most time on. Maybe this isn't the best place for it." Curiously it has now been moved to the "Fitness Accessory" category.

Major retailers in Jolly Old are obviously a different breed than over here. Not sure if that's good or bad.

Here's my favorite though:

"Left Behind - Eternal Forces". This is a video game based on the extremely popular book series. I've read most of the books but got bored about 2/3 of the way through the series.

The video game has some serious problems in my view.

First while the maker stresses that it's a "strategy" game there's plenty of places for good old fashioned shoot 'em ups. This from the manufacturers website:

Conduct physical & spiritual warfare : using the power of prayer to strengthen your troops in combat and wield modern military weaponry throughout the game world.

Am I the only one having a problem with that concept? I know I'm only an Episcopalian but doesn't Jesus warn us that those who live by the sword, die by the sword?

Then we have:
Command your forces through intense battles across a breathtaking, authentic depiction of New York City .

· Control more than 30 units types - from Prayer Warrior andHellraiserr to Spies, Special Forces and Battle Tanks

Now follow that up with this line from the company's FAQ area:

The millions of parents – and many casual players of games – that are looking for entertainment that also offers positive, inspirational content will flock to this title. (bold face is mine)

I will acknowledge that the players are supposed to try and evangelize and convert "the other side". This is done by getting your character to stand next to some other character for three seconds. That's it. Who knew it was that easy?

So am I anti-video game? No. While not a player myself I have no problem with the concept. I don't like some of the games out there that turn violence into amusements.

Am I a pacifist? No, not really. I enjoy the Chronicles of Narnia, and there's violence in those as well. I recognize all violence as being outside the teaching of Christianity. Of course most of the world remains outside of Christianity in many ways too.

Beyond any theological disagreements some of us may have with the whole "Left Behind" universe I get seriously queasy about tying the concepts of "Christian faith" and "wield modern military weaponry". I'm even more appalled that some churches are allowing this to be marketed in/through/with them.

The games are expected to get either a "T" rating (13 and up) or an "E" rating (age 6 and up). That's even more disturbing in some ways.

So my recommendation? Don't buy it. Don't let your kids buy it. Don't let someone else buy it for them. (The same goes for video crap like "Grand Theft Auto") If this is the best idea we can come up with to use the amazing technology of computer gaming, then maybe our kids need to spend more time outside. Playing in God's reality.


No comments: