A recording of my bookstore talk with Ed Halter last Wednesday, along with some photos, has been posted here. We discuss Halter's book From Sun Tzu to Xbox: War and Video Games (Thunder's Mouth Press/Avalon, 2006) and the author takes some questions from the audience. The .mp3 lasts about an hour and it's a good, clear recording, so I recommend it as a lively, information-packed introduction to some of the themes and ideas in the book.

- tom moody 7-24-2006 8:03 pm

I am listening to it now, it is very interesting, just past the parts about the Hezbollah games, I guess I should just wait & listen & find out, but did anybody mention the "Left Behind" game?

Evangelical apocalyptic schlockfest 'snoops' on gamers

Spyware Revelations
By Chris Williams
Published Friday 23rd June 2006 13:56 GMT

Watchers of right-wing Christian groups in the States say a new apocalyptic videogame released by cultish Revelations-based fiction series Left Behind is riddled with spyware.
Developers have incorporated software from an Israeli firm called Double Fusion. It incorporates video advertising and product placement into the game, and reportedly records players' behaviour, location, and other data to be uploaded to Left Behind's Bible-powered marketing machine.
Aimed at 13 to 34-year-old males, Left Behind: Eternal Forces casts the player as a director of God's Earthly militia, left behind in the Rapture to roam the streets of New York, battling Satan's minions and shooting unbelievers.
With plans to distribute 1 million copies in evangelical "megachurches" nationwide pre-Christmas, Eternal Forces has attracted criticism from religious and secular commentators for its pushing of a violent brand of Christian supremacy. Christian anti-videogame violence campaigner Jack Thompson said: "It's absurd. You can be the Christians blowing away the infidels, and if that doesn't hit your hot button, you can be the Antichrist blowing away the Christians."
In an interview on the series' website Greg Bauman of Left Behind Games explains: "Left Behind: Eternal Forces will help readers get a sense of the conflict and chaos of the time period portrayed in Left Behind and live out how they would defend themselves and their faith from the Antichrist and his Global Peace Keeping Forces." The United Nations, already organ of satanic machinations for many on the Christian far-right, features strongly in the game. Goat-footed demons reportedly emerge from UN peacekeeping humvees.
One reviewer noted: "The only way to accomplish anything positive in the game is to 'convert' nonbelievers into faithful believers, and the only alternative to this is outright killing them."
- Thor Johnson 7-24-2006 8:35 pm

We didn't discuss it, but it sounds like a non-satirical version of Waco Resurrection. Saving souls was also how you got ahead in that game.
- tom moody 7-24-2006 9:04 pm

Wow that Waco Resurrection game's "Koresh head" that you put on to play is creeeepy.
- Thor Johnson 7-24-2006 9:21 pm

WOW! How cool is that?
- Robert Huffmann (guest) 7-25-2006 8:22 pm

didn't mention Left Behind in the talk, but I totally blogged that sh*t

- ed h. (guest) 7-26-2006 1:16 am

hey tom: just listened to the mpfree -- !! sorry i missed it. L
- L.Cornell (guest) 7-26-2006 8:09 am

I listened to the talk this afternoon. It made me kind of nostalgic for New York, where one can expect a fairly advanced level of humane, non-reactionary, secular discourse, at least in certain venues. The audience was great, and I really enjoyed the balance of speculation, humour and politics, as well as the frank, curious, open-ended discussion about war and military psychology.
- sally mckay 7-27-2006 4:33 am

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