Christian Video Games Offer Wholesome Action

ByABC News

Aug. 17, 2005 -- -- With all the raunchiness and violence in mainstream video games, a group of Christian businessmen hears a call to provide a more wholesome alternative.

The Christian Game Developers Foundation held a conference in Portland, Ore., last month to create games with a different mission.

"I think the majority of gamers out there just want to play a great game," said the group's leader, Ralph Bagley. "They don't really necessarily need intestines hanging on a doorknob."

Bagley said wealthy Christian investors are planning to bankroll a slew of new Christian games to compete with their raunchier rivals.

In one game, "Catechumen," players use a sword to convert Roman soldiers to Christianity to the cries of "Hallelujah! Hallelujah!" In "The Bible Game," players race across the parted Red Sea to battle Goliath with a slingshot.

In "Rebel Planet," users explore the world before the great flood. And coming soon is a "Left Behind" video game based on the popular Christian book series and film.

Mainstream game makers say their Christian counterparts may be on to something. "The current state of Christian games is very similar to what we see in Christian rock," said Ian Bogost of Persuasive Games, noting that there were a lot of attempts to get the movement going and now it is very active and lucrative.

But to succeed, Christian video game makers will have to convert skeptical retailers -- and kids. An informal focus group gave the Christian games mixed results.

"There's not as much violence and stuff -- it's not as gruesome," said Chris Lynn, 12, adding that he likes that in a game.

Tony Atkinson, 12, said, "I'm just running through converting everyone, and there's not much of a detailed plot."

The ABC News reviewers far preferred the racier "Grand Theft Auto: Vice City."

Regardless of their mainstream success, many Christian leaders support the effort to channel the word of God through a video game console. They say, "Blessed are the game makers."

ABC News' Jake Tapper reported this story for "World News Tonight."

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