Posted on

Jesus Christ, the video game

I can’t decide if it’s the worst idea anyone’s ever had for a game or the best.

The title is “I Am Jesus Christ.” This isn’t a game that’s merely about the Bible, in other words, in which you interact with Jesus.

You are He, the ultimate non-playable character. Until now.

When I heard about it I assumed it was created by devout Christians as a didactic tool to teach the gospels. Then I read the description at Steam. Devout believers would have described the son of God differently than this, I’m guessing:

“I am Jesus Christ” is a realistic simulator game inspired by stories from the New Testament of the Bible. Get into old times and follow the same path of Jesus Christ 2,000 years ago. Game is covering the period from Baptizing of Jesus Christ and to Resurrection. Have you ever wondered to be like Him – one of the most privileged and powerful people in the world?

The company behind the game is Polish so maybe something got lost in translation. But needless to say, the point of the New Testament is not that Christ was “one of” the world’s more “privileged” people. That sounds like the description of a game about the British royal family, or Trump.

“I Am Donald Trump” would be a fascinating game too, now that I think of it. “A Saudi national just shot up a U.S. military base. Would you like to criticize Saudi Arabia or go in the tank for them? Press A for ‘criticize,’ B for ‘in the tank.’”

Here’s another reason to doubt the piety of the programmers: To the extent the game gives players any choice in how to behave as Jesus, it all but requires blasphemy. Either you just proceed straight through the story tapping the miracle button when prompted to fulfill your Biblical destiny, which would make it a total snooze as a gaming experience, or you’re allowed to deviate from the script, in which case you’re a heretic and the game presumably ends with you being excommunicated.

Purely as a video game, a “rogue Jesus” character would be darkly entertaining. You raise Lazarus from the dead, then make him dead again, then resurrect him again, then dead, and so on until he’s super annoyed. You walk on water, then catch a big wave that’s coming in and do the stairs dance from “Joker” all the way down. In the last scene (well, next-to-last scene), Satan tempts you to come down from the cross and rule the world by his side — and you say “okay” and then go apesh*t on the Romans as revenge. The game ends after you fight and defeat the final boss, Pontius Pilate.

I don’t think there’ll be a “rogue Jesus” option. In fact, judging from the screenshots on the game’s Steam page, it looks like the closest thing to exciting game play here will be a few scenes where Jesus throws hands with demons. What happens if you lose the fight or if the little miracle bar onscreen runs out? Do you just die right at the scene, and thus mankind is never redeemed? Or do you immediately respawn to fight him again?

As I understand it, the real Jesus respawned only once, after a very specific sequence of events. See what I mean about the game encouraging blasphemy?

Exit quotation via Dave Weigel: “In the expansion pack players find out that he’s just a prophet and can upgrade to play as Muhammad.”