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Jesus Autosaves: Biblical Themes in Videogames

With the release of the quirky, Biblical El Shaddai: Ascent of the Metatron on the horizon, here at Player Affinity we felt the time was right to point out a few other video games based on biblical characters and themes.  Regardless of your religious persuasion, it’s
hard to deny that the Bible has some very powerful stories- the Beast
of Revelations, Adam and Eve, Sodom and Gomorrah and the eternal struggle
between Heaven and Hell, to name just a few. 

Cast your eyes downward for just a few examples of the vast
number of video games which have adapted parts of the Bible and integrated the Good Book into their own stories.

Dante’s Inferno

Dante’s Inferno is a God-of-War-esque action game based on the Italian Dante
Aligheri’s stunning 16th century text, which itself was entirely
drawn from Christian theology and the depictions of Hell found in the Bible.  In the original text, the author becomes lost
in a dark wood and is rescued by the Roman poet Virgil, who takes him on a
guided and heavily allegorical tour of the Underworld; in the game, you play as
a Templar Knight called Dante who travels down to Hell to rescue his love
Beatrice, killing Death itself and a horde of demon monsters with exposed
breasts en-route.  Still, differences
aside, Dante’s Inferno is if nothing
else a visually arresting portrayal of the many levels of the Christian version
of Hell and the torments that await sinners after the Final Judgement.


Darksiders takes its Biblical premise straight from the Book of
Revelation: “Then
another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take
peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large 
sword.”  Players take control of War, one of the Four Horsemen of the
Apocalypse, and are tasked with bringing order during the Final Battle and
retrieving the Seventh Seal which will bring the other Horsemen to Earth.  Darksiders
toys heavily with its Biblical source material (War defeats both the
archangel Uriel and the Angel of Death, Abaddon, and receives counsel from the
enigmatic archangel Samael) but captures the scale of the apocalyptic battle
between Heaven and Hell effectively, and in the style of a big-budget sci-fi
action movie.


The stylish and incredibly over-the-top action game Bayonetta is perhaps not an immediate
choice when discussing video games based on the Bible; however, all the
necessary elements are present.  The
Umbran Witch Clan, of which Bayonetta is the last remaining member, draw their
powers from the realm of Inferno (a.k.a Hell); the game largely operates in the
realms of Purgatorio (Purgatory, where humanity lives) and Paradiso (the
angelic realm, where Bayonetta can interact with and defeat the angels (See the screenshot above) that are
trying to stop her) and the battle between the Umbran Witches and the Lumen
Sages is an allegory for the eternal struggle between darkness and light.  Sounding Biblical enough?  And let’s not forget the climax of the game,
in which Bayonetta uses a construct made of her hair to punch Jubileus (a.k.a
God) into the Sun… Although to be completely honest, that last part isn’t in
any version of the Bible that I’ve read!

Those are just a few examples; many other games take
disparate elements from the Bible and weave them into their own narratives to a
greater or lesser extent- whether by naming characters after Archangels (Soul Calibur) or pitting the player
against the demons of Hell themselves (Shadows
of the Damned
).  The Bible is a rich
mine of easily-identifiable concepts for video game developers, and as the holy
text of the predominant Western religion, it ensures familiarity for Western
audiences; the majority of Western gamers will undoubtedly know who Lucifer is
when he pops up to advise your main character in El Shaddai!

What kind of Biblical
stories do you think would work well as
video games?  Let us know in the comments
below this article!

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