Monday

"NES: Spiritual Warfare"

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As a kid I loved playing the Zelda games for Nintendo, but I wasn't allowed to own The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past because it has Link journey to the "dark world," which was thought to be potentially too dark, too scary, and too unwholesome for me.  (Given that Muppet Christmas specials and Care Bears gave me nightmares, this probably wasn't a bad decision.)

So, instead, I had Spiritual Warfare, a NES game by Wisdom Tree, a Christian video game maker.  On the surface, it seems like good clean fun: you only hurl fruit at people, not bullets; you answer Bible trivia questions along the way; and the background score consists of traditional hymns.

It is a very, very, very close copy of the original NES Zelda game, so the first lesson you learn is that that commandment about stealing isn't considered applicable to intellectual property.  The second lesson you learn is that it is never OK to go into a bar or a casino.  If you do it, an angel takes pieces of your armor away and you have to go into the "slum" to retrieve it.

The third lesson you learn is that the denizens of the city are all trying to kill you, so you need to arm yourself, which in this case means using the "fruit of the spirit" as weapons.  The pear is "meekness," the pomegranate is "love," the apple is "patience," the grapes are "joy," and the banana is "faith."  The grapes explode and fling shrapnel like a dirty bomb, which is pretty joyful, I suppose.  You can also throw Samson's jawbone like a boomerang, and use vials of God's Wrath to explode things.  I will leave the spiritual implications of all this for others to discern, but I think it is safe to say the theological framework of this setup is a tad murky.

When you "convert" people by hurling fruit at them, they immediately drop to their knees in prayer, then disappear (uh oh), and leave either their souls (in the form of a dove) or a demon (!) behind.  The demons will attack you, and you have to kill--er, convert--them by hurling more fruit.  The human souls you can collect and use as currency to purchase neat things like weapons and armor from the angels' stores.

Angels also occasionally show up to ask you some Bible trivia, much of which was a bit over the head of this elementary-schooler.  I wasn't sure how best to answer questions about whether "lusting after a woman in your heart" was the same as committing adultery, or if "the demon-possessed man severely beat the sons of Sceva," or if it was true that "out of man's head comes evil thoughts, adultery, theft, slander, lying, and these sins defile a man."

At the end of the game, you go to the Demon Stronghold, which appears to be Hell.  You defeat Satan (!) and are congratulated.  You will spend the next several nights hiding a banana under your pillow to throw at the demons that are now constantly haunting your nightmares.

Lesson learned:
Food fights=salvation.


(Watch the game played on YouTube here)
Spiritual Warfare for the Nintendo NES
Pay to play the game on your computer here

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