Left Behind Video Game Controversy

You may have seen or heard some of the public flap over the Left Behind: Eternal Forces video game. Some have said it is gratuitously violent and has Christian characters targeting gays, Muslims, Jews, devout adherents of other faiths, and even Christians who disagree with Dr. LaHaye and me over various theological issues.

This is ridiculous to the point of lunacy and clearly comes from people who have not seen the game and have an obvious agenda. If you have wondered why Dr. LaHaye and I would have anything to do with a game that would target the very individuals we are commanded to love and persuade, you are not alone. We are as puzzled as you.

From the beginning, we have been jealous about the subsidiary rights to Left Behind. We have turned down all sorts of offers to capitalize on the name with pins, pens, mugs, candles, jewelry, and even board games. Our sole purpose in the writing was to declare a message in the hope that fewer people would be left behind, so unless a product can expand that message—as have the kids books, graphic novels (comics), and movies—we have stood firm.

When first we heard of a video game, we were as skeptical as anyone and insisted on hearing the idea directly from the planners. We were pleased to find that they were thorough professionals, shared our faith, and were as committed as we were to have the message be clear. We also wanted to avoid gratuitous violence.

The result is a game that is beautifully rendered, clearly carries our message (indeed, we have already heard of one young man who has become a believer through playing it), is strategic rather than only warfare based, and is no more violent than the Lone Ranger or Roy Rogers episodes I grew up watching. Unlike typical video games that show buckets of blood and flying body parts, victims shot in our game fall in a puff of smoke.

Yes, there is killing in self-defense, but more points are scored by building the Tribulation Force and its infrastructure. There is zero targeting of specific people groups. The enemy are the forces of the antichrist who have already taken the mark of the beast and committed themselves to his service.

I hope this gives you enough information to evaluate what you hear or read, and we trust you will check it out for yourself if you have further questions. The game has been approved by Focus on the Family, which is careful about such matters.

Jerry J.