Playing God



From the daily online magazine Religion Dispatches, a story today on Germany-based FIAA GmbH releasing the beta version of The Bible Online: Heroes, the first installment of a projected series of MMORTS (massively multiplayer online real-time strategy) “games” based on the Bible — with an RPG (role-playing game) component.


As the article says:

The game appears to be similar in some ways to Civilization-style games, a type of “god-game” in which players manage decisions from a privileged vantage point while the game’s algorithms determine success or failure based on both strategy and luck.

Some of the more intriguing ideas brought up by the article involve concepts of choice and "theologically loaded events." Will I, playing Abraham (as a woman — which could be challenging in itself), be required to start a sacrifice of Isaac? Can I commit blasphemy via chats with other players? How exactly do you win in the land of Canaan?


It will be fascinating to see how the game’s dynamics handle the problem of divine inevitability and human interaction, especially as it relates to the fixed narrative of the Bible itself. The “About” feature of the nascent website tells us that the game “is designed for users to actually experience the Book of Genesis by fulfilling quests of Abraham, which is based on the true stories of the Genesis [sic].” In order not to offend most Christians, the game will have to leave the biblical narrative intact and only allow interactivity in the narrative gaps in the biblical text, making the game potentially midrashic in performance.

Read the whole piece here.

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