With religion playing such an important role in people’s life nowadays, introducing mystical beliefs within the gaming universe was just a matter of time. Over the years, video game developers have tried to emulate some of the religions of the real world, some more successfully than others. At the same time, certain games contain completely original faiths or modified versions of the traditional ones. In the following guide, we will present some of the most fascinating gods and goddesses in the gaming universe as well as provide a quick overview of the characters worshiping them.
1. The Greek Pantheon as presented in Titan Quest
Besides becoming one of the most popular Diablo clones, the story behind this enchanting hack and slash places you in the middle of the conflict between the Greek gods and the titans, a strife in which our world constitutes the battleground. The hero must prevent the servants of the titan lord Typhon from finding all the pieces of an ancient artifact that would release their master from his ancient prison. In Titan Quest, the player gets to commune with the famous oracle of Apollo, fight hordes of centaurs, satyrs and gorgons as well as kill the dreaded Minotaur. And that’s not even the coolest part, because at the end of the game you will get a personal thank you note from the all-mighty Zeus, along with the promise that all mortals will be free to govern their own lives from now on.
2. Unitology, the version of Scientology depicted in Dead Space (1 & 2)
However silly it may seem to be an adept of this religion in real life, the Unitology is in fact a really cool addition to Dead Space universe. Dead Space’s Unitology and Tom Cruise’s religion share a myriad of aspects, starting with the “tology” suffix and ending indoctrination practices, not to mention the concept that is at the core of the faith. If you were not familiar with the doctrine, then it suffices to say that both L. Ron Hubbard (the founder of Scientology) and Michael Altman (the father of Unitology) have spread the belief that a mysterious device is the solution to achieving eternal life. However, the contrivance worshipped by Unitologist is in fact the Marker, which is slightly more dangerous than what L. Ron Hubbard’s might have imagined.
3. First Church of LeChuck, Lucas Arts’ way of messing with Christians
This faith can be found in the Monkey Island game series and it seems to be a twisted version of the Christian religion. The First Church of LeChuck has an interesting origin, considering the fact that it was founded by the victim of this character, more exactly the ghost of a priest who goes by the name of Allegro Rasputin (notice the combination between the musical tempo and the historic personage). What’s even more hilarious is that they also have an Anti-LeChuck which coincidentally, is the character you play, namely Guybrush.
4. The more serious version of Christianity as presented in Dante’s Inferno
It’s highly unlikely that Dante Alighieri could have anticipated that the Inferno book in the Divine Comedy series would become an excessively milked franchise. However, while it’s still a bit more serious than the First Church of LeChuck, the allegorical novel is only utilized in creating the environment for the game: the 7 circles of hell. Otherwise, you’re just playing another badass character hacking and slashing his way through hordes of demons in the name of God.
5. The Church of the Children of the Atom, essentially a bunch of A-Bomb huggers
Leave it to Bethesda to bring good humor into the devastated post apocalyptic universe that is Fallout 3. Crowley – notice another historic reference to the founding father of Satanism – preaches about the benefits of the nuclear fallout and worships the atomic bombs because, in his conception, all individual atoms contain an unique universe that can only be created and released by the explosion. Whether or not Crowley’s right, one thing is for sure: he’s immune to radiation.
6. The Mythic Dawn Order from Oblivion
Except for the fact that they’re worshiping an evil Daedric entity – Mehrunes Dagon – who seeks passage from the Oblivion into our world with nothing but mischief in mind, nothing bad can be said about the Mythic Dawn order. The best way to describe them would be by comparison to one of our modern secret societies, but instead of silly initiations and juvenile rituals the Mythic Dawn has deadly spells at their disposal and they’re hell-bent on summoning Mehrunes Dagon into this world.
7. The Order from Silent Hill (no relations to the other one)
It seems that adding “order” to a group of religious fanatics is already a cliché that game developers utilize to make them cool. However, Machiavelli would have been proud of the Otherworld worshippers who plan on bringing about the end of the world in a ruthless bloody way in order to achieve eternal bliss. In the Silent Hill series, the concepts of good and evil have no place, as they have been substituted for order and chaos.
8. The Drell Religion from the Mass Effect Series
This one’s a bit trickier because it is basically faith borderline with philosophy. To understand the Drell, you need to know that they have been saved from total extinction by a more advanced race, namely the Hanar in return for their services as assassins. The Drell, and particularly the character Thane Krios, believe that the body and the soul are two separate entities, therefore the soul is not burdened by the sins of the body because the latter is guided by the will of the Hanar. Thane also believes in a pantheon of 3 gods: Kalahira, Arashu and Amonkira (afterlife, protector and respectively hunter). What is really fascinating about Thane is that he always prays to Amonkira before an assassination and to Kalahira after the deed is done in order to grant the victims safe passage into the afterlife. How cool is that?
9. The NOD, brought to you by the Command & Conquer games
Saying that the NOD is exclusively a religion would be an understatement because, as any fan of the C&C series can point out, the Brotherhood has ramifications into virtually all socio political ramifications of the world. Think of a religious cult that has been born from the combined doctrine of the fanatic branches of the Judaic, Islamist and Christian faiths, but that also has a personal army at its disposal and rules a totalitarian state. In other words, a religious North Korea without the leader worshiping nonsense!
10. You are the god in Black and White
Why bother worshiping and/or doing the bidding of some deity when you can personally assume the role of God? In Black and White, the player fights to become the omnipotent, all knowing entity that micromanages the world via his animal avatar. Of course, you will have to sway the followers of other entities with false pretenses of godhood through either kindness or force, but it’s a small price to pay for your status.