Were you able to find the holy symbols in these games?
If you’ve ever taken a critical thinking class or studied mixed media in general, you probably know what an allegory is: a story with a barely veiled moral message. Common allegories in books, music, movies, and yes, even video games, show religious morals in a variety of ways.
Depending on how much you know about faith, archetypes and allegories can be found in all video games, though some are much more obvious to the average person. It’s also rare to find a game with a religious allegory that runs through the whole thing. Usually, a Christ-like figure is the only religious part of an otherwise secular story.
Phantasy Star Series
At first glance, it might seem like science fiction and faith don’t go well together, but they do. In Phantasy Star, groups of people are shunned and forced to leave their home worlds by the Dark Force (or Dark Falz), which comes once every thousand years with a fury similar to Armageddon.
In each game, there is a figure called the Chosen One. This is a person who is strong enough to face the Dark Force and stop their plans to destroy the world. This person goes all over the world to help people stay alive and independent.
Blasphemous is partly based on the Spanish Inquisition, in which Catholic monarchs used religion as a weapon against their people to increase their power. This is a more obvious nod to religion.
You play as the Penitent One, who is fighting against a curse called “The Miracle.” This is a lot like how Catholics used to get rid of “Heretics.” At the time, people thought that the more they had to repent and the more they had to suffer in life, the more likely they were to go to Heaven. In Blasphemous, the Penitent One goes through a lot of pain and targets those who don’t in a brutal way.
Mortal Kombat Series
In all of the Mortal Kombat games, there is a plot about two warring worlds that stand for good and evil. The god Raiden often recruits humans to help him fight for good and save Earth. The humans are picked to fight on behalf of all humans. Sometimes this is shown by putting a mark on them.
Evil characters often look like demons, like Baraka and Mileena’s teeth or Shao Khan’s headgear. Good characters, on the other hand, have elemental powers, like Raiden’s lightning or Sub-Zero’s control of ice.
You play as the Dweller in Fallout. The Overseer sends you on a quest to fight the Master. Most faiths would laugh at the idea of calling their God’s enemy the Master, but there is something to be said for the clear tone of Good vs. Evil and God vs. Satan. In this post-apocalyptic world, you play as the Dweller, who is the Chosen One or Savior of the people who are still alive.
The Dweller is asked to finish this task after leaving the Vault. This is a small nod to the idea of the Resurrection, which is important to Christian players.
The Binding Of Isaac
The name of the game is a clear reference to the story of Abraham, which is told in both Christianity and Judaism. The developer also said that the story was inspired by his own Catholic upbringing.
A lot of people said that The Binding of Isaac was “anti-religion” or that it praised the occult and evil because it was based on the story of Abraham. How you feel about Drive Mad depends on how sensitive you are and how you feel about religion, but no matter what you think, it’s easy to see that the main themes are from the Bible.
Shin Megami Tensei Series
The Shin Megami Tensei series is based on the idea of Good vs. Evil, with Demons and Angels fighting each other and people stuck in the middle. In the series, it’s normal to have more than one ending, and the choices you make along the way affect which ending you get.
Shin Megami Tensei 5’s endings, for example, range from fixing humanity’s path and believing in “Inherent Good” to destroying humanity completely and believing in “Inherent Evil.” There’s even a way to end the story that leaves you in a world that’s neither good nor bad, which could be a sign of Agnosticism or a kind of Limbo/Purgatory.
The Legend Of Zelda Series
The religious allegory in the Legend of Zelda series isn’t as clear, but if you’ve been to Bible Camp or Sunday School, you’ll recognize some of the themes. The three parts of the Triforce, Power, Wisdom, and Courage, are like the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in religion.
Link is also a good example of the Chosen One figure because he is the only one who can save the world. He’s also a good example of the saying “the humble will inherit the earth,” since he always puts himself last in games.
Halo is both the most and least clear game to make a reference to religion. Religion uses the ring of pure light above the head of a saint or other holy person to give them the name “Halo.”
Then there’s Master Chief, who in the games is called John 117. He is a warrior fighting in a war that started long before him, but he is definitely the hero chosen to lead his followers to the rightful end. The link to Jesus isn’t just implied, either. In John 1:17, the Bible says that Moses brought the rules to the land, but Jesus came to show the Truth. Before, people told Master Chief what was right and wrong. Now, he’s the one who makes the way.