Here’s a fun Christmas fact for you: the concept religion has been around for fucking ages. Have that bombshell, on me, and go amaze all your friends with this newfound knowledge.
Of course, the whole ‘religion’ thing is kind of popular with all kinds of different people, so it makes sense that there are tons of religious video games out there, even if they’ve never exactly been on your radar before now.
With that in mind, let’s go on a journey to a seldom-visited corner of video game land. Yes, it’s time to take a look at some of the stranger games out there that were created to celebrate religion.
The You Testament
Have you ever wanted to create your own stunningly realistic avatar and become a disciple of Jesus Christ himself, living out the grand adventures from the Bible that you’ve heard so much about?
My friend, The You Testament is probably for you then. I mean, it’s not a good game, and it takes some (or a fuck load) or artistic liberties with the actual Biblical stories you’re supposed to play out.
I have to point out that The You Testament is not a parody, although you could be completely forgiven for thinking that this indie project built out of a wrestling game with a gore setting in the options menu was anything other than a serious crack at bringing ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told’ to the digital age.
Essentially, The You Testament is a hilarious farce that unwittingly teaches you everything about parody and nothing about Christianity, unless Jesus really did used to quote Star Wars to his followers- though I’m like, 97 percent sure he didn’t.
Jesus In Space
Jesus In Space sounds fucking awesome on paper, as does pretty much anything if you add ‘in space’ to the end (Cabbage In Space, for example), but I can assure you that this sci-fi themed religious adventure game is anything but awesome.
In fact, while the entire game does indeed take place in space, the titular messiah is nowhere to be seen. Instead, we take control of a crew on a ‘great commission adventure’ so that we can teach newly discovered worlds all about how great God is.
Unfortunately, as it’s a children’s educational game, they leave out the part where the crew’s efforts to spread the word of God to the rest of the universe sparks a massive intergalactic religious war in which billions die for the glory of Gazoolazop, but hey ho – maybe we’ll see that in the sequel.
Super 3D Noah’s Ark
If you like Wolfenstein 3D, then you’ll have plenty of fun with Super 3D Noah’s Ark… because it’s basically the exact same game.
There are differences of course. Instead of gunning down Nazis in a castle, you play as Noah, hunting down angry animals and knocking them out by firing drugged food at them with a slingshot.
The game is supposed to be a non-violent, Christian alternative to shooters like Wolfenstein, and to be fair it’s a genuinely noble attempt.
But to be honest, there’s only so much of being kicked and spat at by sheep, ostriches, antelopes, and Carl the damn Camel I can take before all I want to do is grab a shotgun and go full DOOM on the fuckers.
Hopefully id Software can get a gritty 2017 reboot out in time for Christmas next year.
The Bible Game
What exactly is The Bible Game? Well, what you need to do is picture Mario Party, then add religion, subtract fun, and never think about it again, because it’s naff.
Yes, The Bible Game is another spirited attempt to get the kids interested in Christianity, this time in the form of a party game made up of minigames, most of which depend on your knowledge of – you guessed it – the Bible.
To be entirely fair to this one, there are some genuinely decent minigames, such as one where you dash through a parted Red Sea avoiding angry crabs, and another where you try to stop a horde of advancing snakes by playing squash… or something.
I’ll say this for The Bible Game – it sure is a game.
Presumably called Guitar Praise because the BBC has will fiercely guard its lucrative trademark over Songs of Praise, this one is a ‘Christian rhythm game’ in the style of Guitar Hero.
Blast through all your favourite Christian rock songs, such as Jesus Freak, I am Free, All The Earth Will Sing Your Praises, and God Rocks Me All Night Long.
I made one of those up, but I’ll leave it with you to guess which one is the fake.
Fingers crossed mum gets me at least one of these gems for Christmas. To be fair, The Bible Game is probably one of the only video games I could convince my dear old nan to play, so that’s something.
Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.