On Sunday I received a bizarrely misinformed e-mail that purports to protest the upcoming Electronic Arts video game based on the epic poem Dante’s Inferno. I can’t follow the train of thought — if there is one — but the writer is laboring under the misapprehension that the game is for the Nintendo Wii (it’s not, but rather will be available for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PSP) and that it’s coming out in time for Christmas (when it’s really due in mid-February).
The game’s publisher has certainly not avoided casting the first stone. In June, EA secured its place in Hell with a publicity stunt involving a staged protest against its own game to coincide with the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, in Los Angeles. They also offered a $6.66 discount on 09/09/09 and sent $200 checks to video game critics, daring the journalists to cash them.
The e-mail, reprinted on the jump, also makes reference to a viral marketing campaign that involves a website and promotional video for a nonexistent game called Mass: We Pray, which links to the Inferno game’s official site and a Facebook app. But the rest of it is gibberish. (Mary Baxter?)
Maybe something got lost in translation (she writes from Spain and it certainly reads like it could have been translated by a computer … or assembled from various boilerplate church talking points).
See for yourself:
Videogames: from the Bible to Hell
Christmas is approaching and so is the massive sale of video games. Whilst the Xbox becomes an interactive Bible, “Bible Navigator X”, that which teaches that man is so big that he can only be filled with God, Wii offers the “adventure” of trivializing Hell and the capital sins in “Dante’s Inferno”, wicked children, who have died without baptism and who must be killed are included. Bloody scenarios which offer a terrible reality as being a matter for fun (that is what playing is all about) . The Inferno’s witnesses from the past and from the present, such as Mary Baxter, explain how this place of eternal gloom, fire, screams of despair, unbearable heat and stench , atrocious tortures of the devils inflicted upon the damned caused them a trauma which went on for months during which they could hardly eat or sleep. Now, young people will play driven by the designers’ motto “Go to Hell”, virtual or real? which is preceded by a promotional video which makes fun of the Catholic practice : “Mass: we pray”.
Eva N Ferraz
Inferno, the introduction to Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, is the classical allegory that has done more than just about any other work to shape our conception of the afterlife and sin. The fact that it’s being adapted into a video game, the medium that connects with more modern youths than any other, is a testament to the evolution of that medium as an art form and communication tool.
I suspect that even a loving adaptation of the Bible into an interactive game would be inappropriate to the likes of Senora Ferraz, because gamers would have too much fun catching animals for Noah’s Ark or leading the Israelites across the desert, a la Lemmings.
Instead of — typically — condemning the game without having even played it, people like this should be directing their energies toward the adaptation of more of the classics, both secular and religious. If they don’t do it, someone else will — and they won’t have a leg to stand on if they don’t like the result.