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Old 02-20-2006, 07:11 AM   #1
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Hey, cool! You reviewed that Digital Praise game. And it sounds pretty good, too, with very little to keep away unbelievers like myself. Makes the whole argument we had about it seem a bit silly. (Though I still think that even if it had been a sanctimonious, homophobic, Dad-knows-best, women-should-stay-in-the-kitchen, prayer in school-themed game, it would nevertheless have been worth reviewing.)

The only statement of some concern comes in the last paragraph, when it's revealed that the game is based on a license held by Focus on the Family, a group that is all the things listed above. I don't think I could allow myself to put money in their pocket, and I guess you go to hell for pirating a Christian computer game.

Oh well. Maybe someone will make a Gilmore Girls adventure game so those of us with a less conservative mindset can get our own brand of wholesome entertainment.
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Old 02-20-2006, 07:24 AM   #2
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Hey, I told you the argument was only theoretical, even then. Took a little longer than I intended, but we got there.

(And lest anyone think we ONLY reviewed it because it was so moderate, we're planning to push the boundaries even farther in future. 'Sall I'm saying for now, sorry. )

I'm not sure what kind of benefit Focus on the Family receives for the use of its license. Maybe as a Christian organization, it donated the license use charitably?
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Old 02-20-2006, 07:26 AM   #3
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What's this? A Christian game that doesn't suck?

Someone has just broken one of supposedly-unbreakable laws of game design! What is going on???
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Old 02-20-2006, 07:53 AM   #4
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When I read the thread title I was sure it was going to be about The Dig.

Yeah, the game might be worth buying, but I'll never give money willingly to Focus on the Family, who along with the many other conservative interest groups bear some responsibility for the current state of American politics. (But that's really matter for a different thread.)
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Old 02-20-2006, 09:06 AM   #5
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I'm not quite sure I understand the reasoning here. Let's set aside the issue of whether Focus on the Family would benefit from such a purchase at all. Even if it does, does it not make sense to reward the things done well and spurn the things done poorly? Does it not make the better statement to encourage the use of their properties in a positive, productive manner? Do you think they'll look at the results and say, "hey, the moderate, more balanced approach is really effective; let's start ramming our agenda down people's throats more"? I dunno. I'm not seeing the connection.
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Old 02-20-2006, 09:22 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackal
Do you think they'll look at the results and say, "hey, the moderate, more balanced approach is really effective; let's start ramming our agenda down people's throats more"?
No, but they might say "Hey, look, we made some money. Let's use it to ram our agenda down people's throats more."

Just to be fair, if I found out a company that makes great adventure games was doing something awful but completely un-game related like torturing puppies in its spare time, I wouldn't want to buy their games either, regardless of quality.

Anyway, nice review, Martijn. Brave of you to take it on.
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Old 02-20-2006, 09:32 AM   #7
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If likening their other activities to torturing puppies is considered "being fair", then I concede the argument.

But I still don't get the reasoning. If you hated Myteries of the Druids but heard Moment of Silence was good, would you refuse to buy it because the developer might make more games like Druids?
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Old 02-20-2006, 09:41 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackal
But I still don't get the reasoning. If you hated Myteries of the Druids but heard Moment of Silence was good, would you refuse to buy it because the developer might make more games like Druids?
I don't see how that's a parallel situation. My not wanting to buy the game has nothing to do with the game's merits, but with the mission and tactics of the people behind the license. It may be unfair to the developer, but I'm still not going to buy a game that's based on and representative of things I disagree with. Especially if my doing so is indirectly putting money in the pockets of the people leading us into World War III.

Great to hear that the game isn't a "Christian propaganda machine," as Martijn put it. But that doesn't change my opinion or make me want to play it.
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Old 02-20-2006, 09:42 AM   #9
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Just out of interest, do you also boycott Nestlé?
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Old 02-20-2006, 09:47 AM   #10
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I boycott Walmart.

EDIT: I'm not actually sure what's wrong with Nestlé. Pulling out any company that might have a questionable affiliation and expecting me to know why they're questionable is a cheap shot. But I don't have to go out of my way to know why I don't like Focus On the Family. It's written all over their homepage. Not to mention that I see the effects of why I dislike the crusades of modern Christianity in the news every frickin day. I think that's reason enough not to want to buy this game. Not saying anyone else shouldn't buy it, but that's my personal feeling about it, and it's not going to change no matter how much people try to convince me it's irrational.
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Old 02-20-2006, 09:48 AM   #11
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It's not parallel in motivation, but it's a parallel of reasoning nonetheless to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Apparently you know something about Focus on the Family that I do not if you're making such definitive statements or comparing them to something morally reprehensible. I'm not saying you're wrong. I don't know anything about them one way or the other.
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Old 02-20-2006, 10:07 AM   #12
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Interesting discussion. I did some homework before writing this review: I looked up the history of the Odyssey radio shows and familiarised myself with the setting in order to accurately portray the context in which TOTI was developed... It appears however that I didn't investigate Focus on the Family as thoroughly as possible. What precisely do you hold against them, Fov?
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Old 02-20-2006, 10:08 AM   #13
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Focus on the Family is your standard extremist Christian right group. They are homophobic and anti-gay rights. They are anti-abortion and pro-Death penalty. They campaign for extremely conservative gender roles. They work to undermine the separation of Church and State.

A big part of their activity are their efforts to rid the media of anything they don't like. They're the kind of people who try to pressure cinemas into not showing Brokeback Mountain. The scary thing is that they're often quite successful, and have managed to impose a system of voluntary censorship on media corporations and retailers.

Of course, the group advances its agenda through the system of conservative influence-peddling that makes the Bush administration and Republican Congress run. For instance, the leader, James Dobson, has been implicated in the Jack Abramoff scandal, in a scheme to defraud Indian casinos.

I don't argue that everybody should shun products associated with Focus on the Family. But I think that those of us who find its agenda abhorrent are quite reasonable in doing so.
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Old 02-20-2006, 10:10 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fov
I'm not actually sure what's wrong with Nestlé. Pulling out any company that might have a questionable affiliation and expecting me to know why they're questionable is a cheap shot.
Yeah, true. Sorry about that.

Anyhow, Nestlé's evil actions in the third world.
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Old 02-20-2006, 10:34 AM   #15
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Well, that's certainly more information to work from. I didn't know if the company was being lumped in with others for valid reason or just on some general anti-extremist principle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snarky
I don't argue that everybody should shun products associated with Focus on the Family. But I think that those of us who find its agenda abhorrent are quite reasonable in doing so.
And yet you argued against our (possible) decision not to cover a game (this game or any other) if WE found something abhorrent about doing so. Curious. Perhaps that's because we're "press" and you therefore consider it our duty? And yet as a privately-run site, we really have no more public responsibility to do so than a consumer has to buy something. Which is all I tried to say way back when.
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Old 02-20-2006, 10:55 AM   #16
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You can cover whatever you like, of course. I just personally think that when your purpose is to disseminate information, the situation is different from when you're just playing a game for your own entertainment.

Maybe your own analogy might fit better here than how you tried to apply it. As an individual, I'm not going to buy Mystery of the Druids. But if I was running an adventure game website, I probably would, for the purposes of writing a review.

I wouldn't have to do it, but it's the kind of thing people expect from an adventure game website.

In this case, similarly, there are reasons why I personally don't want to buy this game, but I still think it's appropriate for you to cover it, even if you share my position.
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Old 02-20-2006, 11:00 AM   #17
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Just to play devil's advocate, do you think that Gamespot or IGN should have covered Ethnic Cleansing?

(I'm not trying to compare the two games themselves, before anyone misinterprets me.)
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Old 02-20-2006, 11:20 AM   #18
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I'm not familiar with that game, but I'm guessing no.

As I said in the original debate, I understand that some games (or even some organizations who're associated with a game) might potentially be so loathsome that you just don't want to offer them any publicity at all. I was just surprised to see that the AG staff was concerned that this might be an issue in this case. I mean, I think it would have to be pretty extreme before you get to the point where you don't want to cover it at all, even with disclaimers and a clear stance against the agenda of the thing you're writing about.

I dislike Focus on the Family. A lot. But what's the worst thing we could have expected from them? Let's say a game where homosexuals were depicted as wicked and going to hell. Is that so offensive that it should disqualify them from being covered at all, even critically? Personally, I think the informational value (it would surely be a unique and fascinating adventure game) would far outweigh whatever publicity the organization would get from the article.

If the AG staff disagrees with me, fine. But then I'd like to know about it, and to understand why, and if possible have a chance to argue my point of view.
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Old 02-20-2006, 11:47 AM   #19
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To elaborate on that...

Anyone who's covering a field where some of the material may be controversial or objectionable has to deal with where to draw the line. Say you're running a music website. You probably don't want to cover neo-nazi rock. But what do you do with, say, rap music with strong misogynistic messages, or homophobic reggae? It seems you have to draw many lines:
  1. Things you review without bias and without comment
  2. Things you review without bias, but where you point out content that might be controversial
  3. Things you review with criticism of the content you find objectionable
  4. Things you don't review, but discuss in an editorial or article
  5. Things you refuse to cover at all
I was surprised when, way back when, Jackal raised the fact that these were Christian games as a possible reason not to cover them (implicitly saying they might belong in the fifth category), because I had a hard time imagining how they could be bad enough to meet my bar for things that I'd refuse to cover (I supposed they would belong to the second or possibly the third category), and I had expected AG to have a similar threshold.

Ultimately, the game turned out to fall in category 1 or 2 (possible controversy is mentioned, but dismissed as intolerant), while one organization associated with it falls in my personal category 3. That doesn't prove anything, of course.
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Last edited by After a brisk nap; 02-20-2006 at 11:53 AM.
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Old 02-20-2006, 01:19 PM   #20
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Without re-reading the initial thread, I'm pretty sure I made quite clear that I was not arguing specifically against the Digital Praise games. They just provided context for the issue. I was only arguing theoretically. I wanted the principle established that we reserve the right to consider a game inappropriate for site coverage. That's all. Very simple point. Of course it would have to be extreme. Extremly extreme! But I think we all know extremism exists, particularly when religion or politics factors in. And when asked to review a religious-themed game sight unseen, it only makes sense for me to make that principle understood. Seems people were determined to blow my comments out of proportion.

So anyway... Treasure of the Incas.
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