Christian gamers soon won't have to choose between setting down their Xbox 360 controller and picking up a Bible. Next month, the B&H Publishing Group will introduce an application via Xbox Live's Indie Games store, which will let gamers download the Bible in its entirety onto their consoles.
Titled Bible Navigator X, the application will feature the Holman Christian Standard Bible version of the holy book and will feature search and bookmarking functionality. The 400 Microsoft point ($5) application will also present the text via 10 different themes players can choose from.
While the Bible Navigator X is a serious application, a product that appears to parody religion in games surfaced today. A press release sent out to game outlets claims a company called Prayer Works Interactive is working on a Christian-themed game called Mass: We Pray. A video accompanying the release shows a family using the game's motion-sensing cross controllers and pressure sensitive "kneeler" peripheral to simulate a variety of activities. For performing such activities as anointing the sick and genuflecting, players will collect "grace points" to unlock "holy mysteries" and advance pew-by-pew to the front of a simulated church.
But while Christian-themed games do exist (see Left Behind), there are numerous reasons to think Mass: We Pray is a well-produced prank. Though the trailer bears the official ESRB logo, the Wii is not mentioned by name--nor is any other console, for that matter. Both the cross controller, complete with rosary wrist strap, and kneeler look laughably fake, and the actors in the video appear to constantly be on the verge of cracking up. (Also, the prospect of a transubstantiation minigame is both ludicrous and blasphemous.) Most damning, though, is the fact neither the press release nor the official Web site for the game offer any contact information for the company--information that is de rigueur in legitimate press releases.
[UPDATE] As can now be seen on the Mass: We Pray Web site, the project is, in fact, a viral marketing gimmick. The site now scolds users of committing the sin of heresy and then asks them to watch a trailer for the forthcoming biblical-horror game, Dante's Inferno. The game's publisher, Electronic Arts, used a similarly borderline blasphemous tactic at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in June, when it had PR reps and actors pose as outraged Christians protesting the game.