Buying video games as holiday gifts can be pretty intimidating when you've got a major deity looking over your shoulder.
Fortunately, if you subscribe to the same flavor of US "conservative Christian" values as the Florida investment firm The Timothy Plan, this year your soul may conveniently be spared from the ever-lasting hellfire resulting from a misguided purchase.
Don't worry, he's a prowling Midianite
The "faith-based investment firm" has authored a list of the 30 "top offensive games" of the Christmas season, fingering games that dabble dangerously in "anti-family entertainment."
"Violent video games have become increasingly more popular as graphics and improvements in technology have improved over the years," The Timothy Plan states.
Stop right there. Before your brain tries to fully process that quote and evacuates out your nose - let us continue:
Games on the firm's list accumulate points representing its soul-corrupting properties by scoring in categories of sex, nudity, gay/lesbian encounters, violence, cartoon violence, language, comic mischief, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, gambling, demonic references, and game addiction.
A game with any of the aforementioned content earns a maximum of 3 points per category. The higher its total score, the more Jesus disapproves. (Therefore, the son of God's disapproval tops off at 39, although no game on the list comes close to reaching that number).
The firm said it cooked up the list because it thinks most parents are mouth-breathing morons that can't read the ESRB rating and warning right there on the game's box.
"Many, if not most, parents who buy their kids video games really don't know the extent of sex and violence imbedded in them," said Timothy Plan president, Art Aly in its press release. "From drug use, prostitution, murder and mayhem to vulgar profanity and blasphemy these games have become a powerfully negative influence on our kids."
The top offender is unsurprisingly Grand Theft Auto IV, getting maximum wag for its copious quantities of sex, violence, foul language, drugs, and alcohol (viz: good old fashion Pagan fun).
"Most every character (aside from you) is seen doing lines of coke, smoking weed, heroin, crystal meth, and drinking frequently throughout the story," the Timothy Plan despairs.
The firm also cites GTA IV for "countless uses of the most aggressive profanity imaginable, as well as misuses of God, Christ, Jesus Christ, and Jesus."
Tied with the game in accrued sin points is Saints Row 2, which is GTA clone, so not a shocker. Demon fuel in descending order from there is Fallout 3, Bioshock, and Manhunt 2.
Sixth on the list is the MMORPG Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures - which aside from tut-tuts for T&A, violence, language and alcohol - is one of the few games on the list to score points under the "game addiction category." Top honors for addictive game play is, of course, World of Warcraft, placed in a respectable #20 spot for most evil game of the Holiday Season. (Apparently they've never witnessed a WoW wedding before).
There's also some extremely odd citations on the list. For instance, the firm claims there's unmentioned but "somewhat homo-erotic undertones between the two main characters" in the third-person shooter, Army of Two. Uh huh.
Doom 3, despite being a game singularly about demons from hell attacking a Martian base, received no points in the demonic references category.
Bully gets sullied for awarding an X-Box Live achievement for kissing 20 boys - and also for "plenty of taunting by calling someone a 'loser' or calling a guy a 'girl' (implying he might be gay)."
The firm also warns that you might unknowingly be investing in the companies that produce these video games. But hark, The Timothy Plan says it offers a complimentary moral audit on your mutual funds.
The full guide is available at The Timothy Plan website. ®
The guide's banner graphic is priceless.