Inexplicably, Jesus Rocks Out
The opinions expressed in the following post are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of Untold Entertainment Inc., its employees or its affiliates.
- Sony should not have recalled the game to avoid offending Muslims
- One year earlier, Sony dealt with the Church of England’s much weightier complaint unevenly, effectively telling them to take a hike
- It’s okay to speak up when something offends you
- It’s NOT okay to demand changes to media when it offends you, except in cases where that media is in your face and unavoidable (ie subway posters, billboards, etc)
- If the offending media is avoidable, do your best to avoid it
- Burning the mother down is not okay
- Burning the mother down is not the sole prerogative of one particular religion
- Sony handled the two cases unevenly because they feared that one religion, and not the other, would burn the mother down
Little Big Planet is a very important game for the company, and Sony needs as much publicity as possible
A Strongly-Worded Letter
In an effort to demonstrate how a game company should handle a complaint from a religious adherent, i complained to Harmonix on the Rock Band message boards that some of the songs in the game were offensive to Christians. As predicted, the forum thread survived about fifteen minutes in the wild before being locked by a moderator, who vowed to pass my suggestions on “to the proper channel.” (By that, i think he meant the channel that shows over-tanned preachers with impossibly white teeth mugging into the camera for an hour on Sunday mornings.)
User ElPinko echoed my earlier statements:
Bah, What’ll the christians do if we don’t do things their way? Write a letter? Hold a fete?…
and later, proving him/herself to be someone after my own heart:
Guys guys, religion is not to be laughed at. No seriously, don’t laugh. They’ll slaughter your family.
Early forum posters were divided between those who caught on, and those who didn’t. Those who understood the reference called the post satire and found it kinda funny. Those who didn’t were a smidge upset.
A few of them recommended i take my appeal to the (deceased) song lyricists.
User Dovanon hit our site and complained to me about my offensive sea monster game. Good one.
Push That Boundary
i thought that to push the envelope a little, i would actually snail mail a letter to Harmonix and EA, asking them to pull three songs from their game that some Christians may find offensive. What i found really interesting is that Nintendo has had a long-standing history of not allowing religious imagery in games on their consoles. Crucifixes, for example, were a total no-no. From the above-linked citation of Nintendo’s content policy:
Nintendo will not approve games for the NES, Game Boy or Super NES systems which:
reflect ethnic, religious, nationalistic, or sexual stereotypes of language; this includes symbols that are related to any type of racial, religious, nationalistic, or ethnic group, such as crosses, pentagrams, God, Gods (Roman mythological gods are acceptable), Satan, hell, Buddha;
THQ’s new mascot, Pointy the Pentagram, is in trouble
Clearly, then, a game with the lyrics “I’ve never been a sinner / never sinned / i’ve got a friend in Jesus”, or “Jeeeeeee-susssssss Chriiiiiiiiist / deny your maker” would never fly on the Wii. Sadly, the age of 8-bit censorship has come to a close, opening the flood gates for pernicious filth like the Mario Party series. (Let me clarify: Mario Party doesn’t actually offend my moral sensibilities. It’s just a terrible bunch of games.)
Mario Party: Corrupting innocent youth with rotten gameplay since 1998
i was honestly worried that if i did write to Harmonix, copying Nintendo, and demanding a patch for Rock Band 2 on the Wii, there was a sliver of a chance they’d take me seriously and pull the Alice in Chains song out of the game. Then, of course, you’d have Rock Band players (and many more people who don’t actually play the game) complaining that “Man in the Box” was the absolute best song on the disc, and how dare i, etc etc … until some religious-esque fervor might be stirred up in THAT group and something would get burned down. Probably me.
Jesus Saves … Rock Band
The odd twist is that Harmonix just announced (through IGN) twenty new add-on songs for Rock Band 2 that players can unlock using a code shipped with the game disc. Pay close attention now:
- The 88 – “Sons and Daughters”
- Authority Zero – “No Regrets”
- Between the Buried and Me – “Prequel To The Sequel”
- The Cab – “Bounce”
- The Chevelles – “Get It On”
- The Cocktail Slippers – “Give It To Me”
- Dealership – “Database Corrupted”
- Endeverafter – “I Wanna Be Your Man”
- The Ghost Hounds – “Ashes To Fire”
- Hollywood Undead – “Young”
- Kutless – “The Feeling”
- The Len Price 3 – “If I Ain’t Got You”
- Lesley Roy – “I’m Gone, I’m Going”
- Opiate for the Masses – “Burn You Down”
- Semi-Precious Weapons – “Magnetic Baby”
- Shaimus – “Like a Fool”
- Thenewno2″ – Crazy Tuesday”
- Tickle Me Pink – “The Time Is Wrong”
- Underoath – “Desperate Times, Desperate Measures”
- X Japan – “I.V.”
Wait … what was that? Did that list include Kutless and Underoath? My Jesus sense is tingling …
By cracky, those are two Christian bands!
Christian metalcore band Underoath rocks the house – GOD’S house.
My only explanation for all of this is that in the two day turnaround since i posted the message to their boards, Harmonix/EA did the right thing and decided to make amends by including two Christian bands on this free song roster, to offset the offense brought by “Man in the Box” and “Let There Be Rock” (or “Spirit in the Sky”, depending on your level of sensitivity).
i hereby applaud Harmonix and EA for responding so immediately to my outrageous and ill-founded complaints about their game, and on behalf of all Christians everywhere (because we all think exactly alike), i accept the companies’ apology.
(Oh … and to the seething and riotous crazy Christian mob that’s been waiting in the wings: you can extinguish all your flaming you-know-whats and call off your plan to [hrm hrm hrm] the Harmonix headquarters this weekend.)
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