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Study shows ‘problematic’ relationship between video games and religion

A study at the University of Missouri examined the relationships between video games and religion. Doctoral student Greg Perreault looked at five modern games:  Mass Effect 2, Final Fantasy XIII, Assassin's Creed, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. He looked at the treatment of religion in these games and concluded that video games present religion in a "problematized" way.

 “In most of these games there was a heavy emphasis on a “Knights Templar” and crusader motifs,” Perreault said. “Not only was the violent side of religion emphasized, but in each of these games religion created a problem that the main character must overcome, whether it is a direct confrontation with religious zealots or being haunted by religious guilt.”

 “It doesn’t appear that game developers are trying to purposefully bash organized religion in these games,” Perreault said. “I believe they are only using religion to create stimulating plot points in their story lines. If you look at video games across the board, most of them involve violence in some fashion because violence is conflict and conflict is exciting. Religion appears to get tied in with violence because that makes for a compelling narrative.”

As shown above, Perrault does not blame developers for the direct tie-in as he believes it to make “a compelling narrative”. With the history of religion having deep links to violence in the real world, it’s interesting to think how story lines for future games may plan out. The Silent Hill writers have been noted to take reference from a variety of different religions when it comes for influence to the cults in the series. However, with Religion having a deep historical link to violence, are Video Games presenting religion as being problematic for a compelling story line, or is there a deep underlining message at hand? REad the study for yourself on the University of Missouri's website.



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