Computer games built around the character of an all powerful god or deity are hitting the market.
The online magazine Feed (April 28) reports that these games, such as The Sims and Black & White, allow users to play God where they “can create people, cities…gamers divine everything from weather to manna for groups of tribal villagers, and, for real fun, create a beast that personifies their evil or benevolence.”
These games have their roots in such role playing games as Dungeons and Dragons, which put players in control of imagined medieval societies, battles, and quests. The article notes that these games are not being created by young people but by the middle-aged, who “have a lot more reason to think about their own mortality,” writes David Kushner.
While earlier computer games often involved destroying creatures and cities, the new games revolve around being a creator, allowing players the open-endedness to design their own outcomes. Black & White begins on a “lush isle or Eden, where Tibetan, Cassock, and other global villagers are living a peaceful, though Godless existence.
Represented on screen by a graceful omnipotent hand, you seduce worshippers by any means necessary, raining manna from heaven or unleashing lightning bolts to instill fear,” Kushner writes. The newest games allow players to merge their god with other player’s deities, creating a “polytheistic” and more communal world.