Dead Island: fruit Christians

, | Game diaries

In the 19th century, as Christianity spread through Asia, the term “rice Christian” emerged to describe people who converted just so they could get rice and other handouts from the missionaries. Rice Christians give lip service to religion for the material and social benefits. In Dead Island, you might say I’m a fruit Christian. I constantly visit the church in Moresby to take advantage of its plentiful stocks of respawning fruit. It’s a great place to nosh up your health, and the fruit is much better for you than the energy drinks littering the beach resort. Those things are probably full of high fructose corn syrup.

Sometimes, I’m also a mace Christian (pcitured). Sister Helen hands out some pretty nifty weaponry. I’m disappointed that developer Techland didn’t take the opportunity to make the mace a named unique item. Rod of God has a nice ring to it, wouldn’t you say? Later in the game, I will be a machete Christian.

And while we’re passing out new categories of Christians, I’d like to point out that distinctive type of Christian known as the videogame Christian. For instance, Sister Helen in Dead Island, Sister Miriam Godwinson in Alpha Centauri, and Father Grigori in Half-Life 2. You know what sets them apart from actual Christians? They never talk about Christ. They never once mention the name Jesus. They are characters written by game developers who play it safe, I presume to avoid offending anyone. It’s actually a common facet of popular entertainment. I recently watched the fun but awful Priest, in which a Blade Runner world surrounded by vampire-infested Western-esque wastelands is ruled by Christians who never once mention Christ.

It strikes me as silly to make a character Christian, and then limit him or her to safely bland talk about a generic universalist God. Every Christian I’ve ever met is happy to talk about Christ. Since when do fictional Christians have to dance around the founder of their religion? I mean, for Pete’s sake, if Danish cartoonists can draw pictures of Mohammed, can’t Father Grigori let loose with the occasional “the power of Christ compels you”?

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