Since its debut in March, Irrational Games' new first-person shooter, "BioShock Infinite," has received rave reviews and is expected to sell more than 4 million copies this year. But some evangelical Christians claim the game may be turning young gamers against Christianity and conservatives.
David Barton, an evangelical radio host and amateur historian, may be the latest pundit to see sinister messages in the dystopian-style game that, according to the Associated Press, "sets a new standard for video-game storytelling, delivering a complex tale in often surprising ways." During Thursday's episode of his "WallBuilders Live" radio show, Barton decried what he apparently feels are the game's subversive principals.
"Christians are starting to be ruled out in many areas in our country," Barton told co-host Rick Green. "I don't know if you're familiar with it, but there's a new video game out now, and in this video game you shoot the bad guys. You go in and kill the bad guys, and the bad guys are Christians and conservatives."
"This is the kind of stuff that the Nazis started early on with young people and getting them to hate Jews, teaching them that Jews were bad and all the bad things that Jews did," Barton went on to say later. "And Jews did not have the political platform to be able to turn that around. Now Christians still do. And if Christians don't get involved, we're going to have trouble."
While Barton doesn't mention "Bioshock Infinite" by name, Right Wing Watch points out that conservative news site TheBlaze, founded by Barton supporter Glenn Beck, asked similar questions of the game back in March.
Blaze staffers apparently played through the game and concluded "it’s easy to see how conservatives might find the game especially distasteful, given that the the player is required to do things like shoot at giant, mechanized statues of George Washington with angels’ wings made out of American flags, called 'Motorized Patriots,' who recite quasi-Biblical statements of faith."
Conservative blogging site Breitbart was more emphatic. While praising the game's visuals, Breitbart's Noah Dulis wrote that the fictional civilization's bureaucrats are "xenophobic, religious fanatics, they are progressive caricatures of conservatives writ large, stripped of any subtlety; nothing but ugly monsters full of naked aggression and violent bigotry."
But Barton's critique, if indeed it is aimed at "Bioshock Infinite," goes farther than either Brietbart or TheBlaze, even though Barton's description of the game seems to lack a knowledge of the game's nuances. He may not have even played the game for himself.