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."®