Super Smash Gods Brawl

I had this game, “Fight of Gods,” drawn to my attention. It seems to take the “Buff Jesus” meme image and turn it into a video game. If you don’t know the image I’m referring to, here it is:

buff Jesus

This way of thinking about Jesus – or ignoring him and substituting other symbols – seems to be growing in popularity in certain circles. Someone recently told me to Google “Deus Vult” as an image search, if I wanted to discover a whole realm of profoundly disturbing white “Christian” nationalist material that would like there to be another Crusade in the historic sense of the word.

A lot of that crowd is apparently also involved in another Steam game, Crusader Kings, as one can see from the subreddit focused on that game. But similar kinds of things can be found elsewhere, such as the Faith & Heritage website that another academic drew my attention to.

The internet has certainly contributed something major to disturbing viewpoints such as these: where in the past one might have read hand-typed newsletters from fringe sources that one received by mail, there wasn’t the opportunity for tiny subsections of society in any given location to come together from around the globe online and get a sense that they are in fact a significant force in terms of sheer numbers.

Returning to “Fight of Gods,” the reactions online largely range from dismay to bemusement. For instance, Sam Foxall writes:

When first announced, Fight of Gods looked to be your standard heavenly brawler with the usual assortment of deities from the Norse, Chinese and Greek pantheons. Then developer Digital Crafter announced that the prophet Moses was playable, with the Ten Commandments at his weapon. Now, as Fight of Gods launches on Steam Early Access, Digital Crafter has revealed that Jesus and Buddha are also joining the roster.

While Buddha is an out there choice, this is the first time I have ever seen the Son of God in a fighting game. He joins as the roster after literally tearing himself down from the True Cross and using the arms as make-shift knuckle dusters. It brings a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘cross-up’.

I’m a bit rusty on my Bible knowledge, but I don’t remember the part of the Gospel of Matthew where Jesus beats all the money lenders in a first-to-ten…

Wesley Yin-Poole thinks the whole thing looks awful, while also raising questions like whether Moses should be in a game of fights between gods – and whether Jesus should either, for that matter. Here’s an excerpt from his article:

Fight of Gods is an awful-looking 2D fighting game that attempts to answer the eternal playground question: who would win in a fight between Jesus and Buddha?

Really. As of today you can actually play as Jesus and beat up Buddha.

Jesus punches Buddha in the face with the splintered parts of his cross, which are still nailed to his wrists because Jesus doesn’t waste any time. He also wears a crown of thorns and a belt of thorns. Buddha, on the other hand, can slap Jesus into submission.

You can also play as Moses and use the 10 Commandments to bash in your enemy’s face, then drown them in a parting of the sea special move…

What do you make of “Fight of Gods”? What do you make of “Buff Jesus” and “Deus Vult” and other such online memes and viewpoints?

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  • Phil Ledgerwood

    See, this is what happens when people start pushing for the Christus Victor atonement theories to come back.

    Video games have never done a great, great job of presenting religion in a thoughtful way for the most part. I recall games of Civilization IV where my forces of Buddhist Vikings ravaged the land. “Fight of the Gods” seems like a more deliberate play to absurdity. I mean, Moses is in there. This is not meant to make a statement, unless that statement is that all religion is intrinsically dumb, therefore so is this game. I’m not personally interested in a game like that, but they’re just embracing sort of being stupid and irreverent and that describes the vast majority of Internet culture to begin with. It’ll probably make money, and the bad press they get from religious groups will only help out.

    I’m a little more worried about games that are not purposefully absurd along the lines of promoting antisocial ways of thinking and using religion to do it. Religious people can do that all on their own. We don’t need any more help, and a lot of us are trying to curb that very tendency.

  • http://houseofthedread.wordpress.com/ Old Man Shadow

    I think the primary objection to this game from the American church wouldn’t be depicting Jesus as a ‘roided out brawler beating the shit out of other people’s gods, hell, that’s pretty normal. I think they’d mostly object to the fact that the other gods could win.

    • Seed of Bismuth

      indeed for some reason supernatural’s “Hammer of the Gods” episode always pissed me off because fine Lucifer super powerful but he just curb-stomps them like really Shiva, Odin, Wu, don’t have any power really?! writer’s really.

  • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

    Reminds me of Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. People install wall-sized television screens in their parlours or living rooms (hoping to afford covering all four walls). There they play interactive, immersive scenarios with fictional characters that some people come to see as “family.” Jesus is incorporated as a character in these screens:

    “Christ is one of the ‘family’ now. I often wonder if God recognizes His own son the way we’ve dressed him up, or is it dressed him down? He’s a regular peppermint stick now, all sugar-crystal and saccharine when he isn’t making veiled references to certain commercial products that every worshipper absolutely needs.”

  • Random_Lurker

    “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”

  • histrogeek

    So would Buddha win if he really, really didn’t care about the game? Like if you chose Buddha then turn off the game, you win. And you can never return to the game, but you’ll be very happy with that decision.
    If you play Mahavira (founder of Jainism), you have to just stay in the middle of the game causing no harm, potentially starving, until your karma bar hits zero. Then you unlock kevalin mode where you know everything that’s going on, but you still can’t do anything that allows violence or negative karma. Any new karma and you lose kevalin mode.
    Meanwhile Jesus can be killed repeatedly but just keeps returning, gaining more followers. Plus some nifty healing powers and occasional swine stampede.
    And if we are picking absurd moral figures, why not Confucius (protect your parents and respect authority or lose) or Socrates (doesn’t get drunk and has +7 annoy-the-hell-out-you power).

    Moses has some video game abilities, though they were never consistent. Yeah Red Sea, various smiting, but it’s not like Thor always having a hammer or Zeus always having a lightening bolt. A staff that is basically a magic wand makes the most sense as his weapon of choice, not some tablets he broke the first chance he got. Really what the designers should have included was Joshua (similarly inconsistent in weapon-maybe the Ark of the Covenant- but way more warrior than Mo), Gideon, and Samson.