Another Reason Not to Shop at Walmart

Christian video games are bad enough as it is. So often, they’re low-quality versions of real entertainment. (Remember Guitar Praise and Dance Praise 2 — The ReMix?)

But if you’re trying to sell the Jesus kitsch, you might as well go where your customers are:

Walmart.

More specifically, Walmarts in Texas.

That’s where Left Behind Games Inc. is now going to be selling their goods.

Christian products have gained popular acceptance in the music and book sections of retailers over recent years. The newest Left Behind and Charlie Church Mouse PC video games are among three titles being piloted in approximately 100 Texas Walmart stores for determining customer interest.

The demographics in Texas make it an ideal testing ground for Left Behind PC Games where there are over 23,000 churches… Texas ranks first in the nation in the number of Evangelical Protestants (over 5 million), second in number of Mainline Protestants (over 1.7 million) and third in number of Catholics… Troy Lyndon, CEO of Inspired Media says, “The US market for Christian video games could reach $648 Million within the next five years based upon just 3% of video game sales being in the Christian segment.” This projection is based upon the prediction by PricewaterhouseCoopers that the sale of video game software will reach $21.6 Billion by 2013 in the US alone.

I don’t know whether to cry for all of Texas or for the children who will end up playing this garbage.

For some reason, I just don’t think kids are going to line up for miles for games like this one:

The purpose of that game, by the way?

You are in control of the gospel singers and missionaries, and you must defeat the secularists, devils, and rock stars. By defeat, they mean you must convert them by “raising their spirit level.”

Personally, I’d prefer the Christian version of Mario Kart. That would be awesome.

I’d totally take Judas out with a red turtle shell.

(Thanks to CarolAnn for the link!)

  • Amanda

    Augh! I actually played that from a copy a friend had. It’s like the kind of video game a grandparent might play, i.e. incredibly boring. Just the gameplay alone is enough to make me hurl.

  • Andrew R

    I don’t think I’d like a Christian version of Mario Kart. Jesus would be able to drive over the water, and would probably have invincibility for the whole race.

  • Arcan

    There is a Christian version of Mario Kart, kinda. It’s called “Zoo Race”.

    It is not awesome.

  • http://www.evolvedrational.com Evolved Rationalist

    BRB, pirating the game so I can laugh at the Christards without giving them any of my money.

  • K

    Evolved Rationalist…

    For. The. WIN! XD

  • http://yrif.org Joel

    What makes this “another reason not to shop at Walmart”?

    Is it also a reason not to shop at Amazon?

  • Richard Wade

    Are there patches you can add to the game to make it more interesting, like being able to machine gun Barney, or follow a naked Lara Croft?

  • http://skeptigirl.wordpress.com Kimbo Jones

    I live in Canada and they sell the game here too. And I don’t even live in Alberta.

  • mcbender

    I can’t understand how any self-respecting programmer would actually work on a game like that.

  • SkepGeek

    It was surreal at Walmart the other week. That morning I walked through a rededication ceremony. It was 8 years old, and they just remodeled it. They had Boy Scouts, flags, the Pledge and a minister leading prayer. Employees and others were all holding hands. It was right in the entrance. So it was quite awkward to walk through, but I really needed milk for the kids that morning. It creeped out my christian wife as well.

  • http://1minionsopinion.wordpress.com 1minion

    That’s nasty. I worked for Walmart here in Canada for more years than I care to admit but I quit shopping there long before I managed to quit the job itself. I won’t even walk into one now if I can at all help it.

    I’m not overly surprised by this though. I seem to recall there being something somewhere about Walmart asking for and getting different covers for books or CDs and the like. I know they’ll only sell certain authors, certain musicians. I don’t know if they’ve always sold a morality with their cheapass merchandise or if that only got started after Walton kicked it. It might be interesting to find out, though.

  • thedeadeye

    Huh. I’d have figured the Dollar Store would be a better match for games of that “quality”.

  • Liz

    The demographics in Texas make it an ideal testing ground for Left Behind PC Games where there are over 23,000 churches…

    That’s good writing, Reuters.

  • Valdyr

    I’m not a marketing or business major, but isn’t gauging consumer interest level generally done through things like surveys and focus groups, rather than producing a bunch of your product at cost and seeing if anyone will buy it?

  • Sackbut

    Valdyr wrote:

    isn’t gauging consumer interest level generally done through things like surveys and focus groups, rather than producing a bunch of your product at cost and seeing if anyone will buy it?

    Actually, no; I just heard a segment on the radio today about that. Test marketing is an important method of gauging interest. There are some things you can’t find out without actually letting consumers get the actual product.

    Does anybody know of any good PC games where you can be the rationalist who saves the world from the clutches of religion?

  • thilina

    I can’t understand how any self-respecting programmer would actually work on a game like that.

    By what i’ve read and seen of the game, they weren’t very good programmers either.

    But i don’t understand something about the premise of the game. If as the name ‘Left Behind’ implies, the game is set after the rapture; why are christians still around on earth? wouldn’t that mean the character being played did something so awful that jebus didn’t let him into heavan? and i thought that the reason all the crazies are yelling on street corners was because, after the rapture it would be too late to convert? This seems like a huge flaw cause the character in the game would be a sinner who doesn’t know it and is wasting his/her time trying to convert other people (just like the person playing the game, and every other christian).

    At least they could have been accurate about what would happen if the rapture actually occurred. i.e. All the religious people are taken away by their gods & all the rest of us live happily ever after.

  • Richard P

    Sounds to me like a wonderful fantasy game.

    I would think it will not encourage interest in religion, but help religion take it’s rightful place in the realm of superstition and fantasy.

  • http://3harpiesltd.org/ocb Judith Bandsma

    Does anybody remember the LucasArts game ‘Afterlife’? That was one that you could enjoy. Control heaven or hell, or both if you’re really adventurous, keep purgatory in beer (the riots if you run out are ‘hellish’), make sure you don’t get a high desertion rate, devise new tortures (for both sides of the game) and take hints from a cynical devil or a smarmy angel.

    I still have a copy. I need to dig it out one of these days.

  • Julie Marie

    I can’t imagine these will get played much – even if dorky parents buy them. I’ve observed kids are very sophisticated in their gaming choices – they are used to high quality games, and this one sounds cheezy.

  • http://jessicasideways.com Jessica Sideways

    Even if you win the game, you are still a loser. :)

  • http://doubtfuldaughter.wordpress.com/ Doubtful Daughter

    Sackbut – you can’t forget that there is a FSM game too, AND you can play it for free!

    http://www.venganza.org/games/index_large.htm

  • Eliza

    As a proud Christian, that game does look fun. I wouldnt mind buying it and giving it a spin! I <3 Jesus FTW!

  • dreamdevil

    Sackbut wrote:

    Does anybody know of any good PC games where you can be the rationalist who saves the world from the clutches of religion?

    Try Assassin’s Creed.

  • mikespeir

    $$Wow$$ This says a lot about what the Left Behind folks really believe about Jesus’ “imminent return.”

  • Sue

    I want a World of Warcraft style MMORPG version of this game, so I can play an evil musician, teaming up with secularists to defeat the innocent in PVP with the power of rock and reason.

    For the Horde Global Community!

  • Matto the Hun

    I’d try Christian Mario Cart if I could drive a chariot or iron.

  • Siobhan in Vermont

    Just wanted to say that to me this, alone, doesn’t constitute a reason to not shop at Walmart. No more than I’d think it was a good reason to not shop there (on someone else’s part) if they started carrying Richard Dawkins books. Now if they stopped carrying all OTHER video games and ONLY carried this crap, then that’s a different issue altogether.

  • NassT

    This is funny because I just started to make a mod for left 4 dead where I remake all the infected into religious people of various faiths. They will all be running after the survivors trying to convert them still but instead of converting to zombies they will convert to religion or kill the survivor in the process.

  • TXatheist

    Yeah Texas(sarcasm out the wazoo).

  • LOL

    LOL. The utter intolerance of Christian bashers is laughable.

    So you boycott any store that carries books or other media that do not hew to your narrow minded world views? Sounds like somebody wants to be burning him some books.

  • jess

    I would highly recommend “Bible Fight” to anyone who’s got spare time. Play it for free here: games.adultswim.com/bible-fight-action-online-game.html

    Moses’ stone tablet throw is killer.

  • David D.G.

    I don’t see this as a reason to boycott Walmart. It’s just a silly product that I won’t be supporting by purchasing it.

    Should I also boycott all stores that sell movies or books that I consider offensive or objectionable (e.g., What the Bleep Do We Know, The Secret, and various right-wing rants by the likes of Ann Coulter — not to mention the Bible)? I’d never be able to set foot in another bookstore in my life!

    Sorry, Hemant, but I think that the notion of boycotting Walmart over this issue is a severe overreaction.

    ~David D.G.

  • Siamang

    Hemant isn’t calling for a boycott. He’s saying he doesn’t like to shop at Wal-Mart.

    Can’t say I blame him.

  • Siamang

    So you boycott any store that carries books or other media that do not hew to your narrow minded world views? Sounds like somebody wants to be burning him some books.

    Someone should educate themselves on the difference between choosing how one spends one’s money and destroying what ideas other people have access to.

    Also, I think people should be allowed to burn their own books they’ve purchased. I’m sure Hemant wouldn’t mind if that church doing a book-burning would buy ten-thousand copies of his book, at full price.

  • TXatheist

    Siamang, thanks for that link, some radio station mentioned that but I didn’t write down or remember the link. On another positive note my mother in law is a shopaholic and has now revealed to me she will no longer shop walmart because of some incident. I was so happy I hugged her for that. And knowing her she won’t go there again which is about $100 a week.

  • Matt

    LOL:

    He wasn’t encouraging a boycott. He simply said that it was another reason for him to not shop at Wal-Mart. This implies that he already does not like the store for other reasons. He was not encouraging others to share the same view.

    Some of you Christians love to take things out of context.

  • infinitemoneky

    I’d like to call a time out. This call for boycott of walmart…any walmart…is exectly the same thing the RR would do.

    Now, I’m a fan of walmart, and an employee, and I understand they have issues, but they want your money, and they will put out what they think will cause you to seperate you from your money. If that’s some crazy xtian game, so be it. While I have yet to find anything by dawkins, hitchens, or harris, I have seen the GOW series of video games, and I expect Inferno to be there also-its about dante in hell, and it’s PO’d a lot of xtians.

  • infinitemoneky

    siamang-

    If I see that link one more time, I’m going to scream. Everyone who posts this link thinks this is the standard of the people of walmart, or these people only shop at walmart-both of which are erroneous. I’ve seen some crazy-looking folks in Target, B&N, Books a Million, and event he malls. I think you’ve drank the media kool-aid that walmart is bad. Its not, its the american dream, and one thing I’ve learned is that everyone wants their american dream, but hates if you get yours.

    Now, if you’ve got a good reason to aoid shopping at walmart, lets hear it.

  • http://www.banalleakage.com martymankins

    Maybe this game will just stay in the Texas Wal-Marts and not venture out to other big box stores.

  • Dan Covill

    Hemant isn’t calling for a boycott. He’s saying he doesn’t like to shop at Wal-Mart.

    There are far too many good reasons not to shop at Walmart to worry about what books they sell.

  • http://littlelioness.net Fiona

    Christam Mario Kart would be funny to play drunk and all you wanna do is crash… like the Jesus car at Bathurst last weekend…

  • muggle

    “It’s like the kind of video game a grandparent might play, i.e. incredibly boring” Amanda, I resemble, uh, I mean resent that remark! Check out, Jess’ link. That game’s hilarious. I like tougher games. Really I do. I play Harry Potter. Who says you have to be good at something to enjoy it? Okay, I admit it. The Warriors is the baddest thing I’ve played.

    As if I needed another reason to boycott the great evil that is Walmart! LOL, what planet are you on? Walmart does censor. Seriously, you must be living under a rock or something to not already know this. If you shop at Walmart, you’re narrowing your choices, not the other way around. That’s why it’s yet another reason to boycott Walmart and not a reason to boycott Amazon.

    Infinitemonkey, you must be a white, male, Christian who managed to get a management position or a good little Christian wifey working for pin money to help out your husband which Walmart has told female employees is the only reason they should work. You want reasons? Okay, since I’ve picketed the local Walmart, without even goggling:

    Largest class action law suit in American history and thousands of other law suits because they repeatedly violate labor standards and even health/safety regulations.

    They’ve lowered the standard of living for almost everyone in this freaking country (Sam Walton’s heirs and Bill Gates excepted) by their sweat shop tactics. Target may pay better than Walmart but if Walmart paid a living wage, Target would pay even better. Hell, it’s a ripple effect. Just like raising the minimum wage raises wages across the board, lowering them does the opposite. Some American dream!

    They censor godlessness out of what they sell. They discriminate against employees’ religious beliefs. Or do you really think the employees mentioned in the little Godfest above were really free not to join in and keep their job?

    I’ve worked for Unemployment at third level appeals. Employers at either end of the spectrum: Post Office, in eight years, never saw them lose a case. They simply do not fire without cause. Guess who was at the other end? In eight years, saw them win a couple of cases. They literally fire for looking at them the wrong way. Some American dream! Or is that yours? To live in trembling servitude to your employer for starvation wages?

    They take out life insurance on their employees. This has creepy enough implications in and of itself to keep me the hell away from them.

    The local one I picketed literally locks their employees in after closing until the store is clean to their satisfaction, often causing employees who can’t afford a car to miss the last bus. Employees thanked us on the sly, out of the side of their mouth, while not looking at us, for the protest telling us it was bad working there.

    Don’t believe me? Go google or use the other search engine of your choice. It’s there.

    I’ll throwing a fucking party if I ever see Walmart go out of business. I’m lame and don’t drive but I’d go clear across town for a gallon of milk before I’d shop at Walmart.

  • Siamang

    Now, if you’ve got a good reason to aoid shopping at walmart, lets hear it.

    The way they treated my best friend when he worked there.

  • http://3harpiesltd.org/ocb Judith Bandsma

    muggle, you forgot to elaborate on the insurance that wal-mart takes out on its employees…that the beneficiaries are the Wal-Mart corporation, NOT the families of the employee. It’s called ‘dead peasant’s insurance’. They were supposed to have stopped the practice several years ago but didn’t.

    And that a lot of the fines they have accrued have been for breaking CHILD labor laws.

  • Fastthumbs

    Sigh,

    I think Penn and Teller are correct (watch Bullshit! episode 2 season 5 – here’s a brief clip: http://vodpod.com/watch/36572-penn-teller-wal-mart) – the real reason people like to hate Walmart is that it attracts “those kinds of people”.

    Everybody gets so upset about the low wages Wal-Mart pays, but you never see them picketting McDonalds, Target, Best Buy, Home Depot, etc. If you expect a retail clerk job to pay you better then minimum wage with full health benefits, then Jesus must be real. These are the kind of jobs one gets when one has no marketable skills, no family connections and the only thing to offer is basic grunt labor.

  • Siamang

    If you expect a retail clerk job to pay you better then minimum wage with full health benefits, then Jesus must be real.

    *Sigh*

    As if the only thing we’re complaining about Wal-Mart is that they pay their employees minimum wage.

    the real reason people like to hate Walmart is that it attracts “those kinds of people”.

    Great straw-man video.

  • ckitching

    the real reason people like to hate Walmart is that it attracts “those kinds of people”.

    I’m sure it has nothing to do with the long queues to pay, censorship on some of the products they do sell (music, movies, etc), the fact that many of their wares are very poorly manufactured (or manufactured with low quality materials), etc.

    There may be a lot of irrational hate for Walmart, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of reasons to genuinely dislike shopping there. Walmart may not be the source of all evil that some of its opponents would like to make it out to be, but it is certainly not the bastion of everything good in the world that its fans make it out to be either.


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