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7
Oct'08

Virtual Virtues Vividly Voices Vexingly Viral Values

   Posted by: thebruce

 

The Alternate Reality Gaming genre has remained virtually untouched by mainstream / contemporary Christianity, it seems.  This doesn’t include, however, the trendy use of Bible verses that show up almost commonplace for poetic purposes, spiritual themes, emphasis of good vs evil, etc.  It’s a time-honoured tradition found in movies, tv, video games, books, and virtually any creative medium in use today, wihout necessarily being religious in nature.  So to have a Christian ARG - not a mock piece, not satirical (as opposed to religion, that is) – but an ARG built/sponsored by Christians, in an overwhelmingly secular entertainment/marketing genre, is rare.

Recently, Christian author Ted Dekker promoted his book series the Lost Books of History with a well-produced ARG. It attracted flocks of Dekker fans to the in-game forums and to Ted’s own forums, gained some new fans (such as yours truly, who ended up purchasing the books) and in the end a final gathering was enjoyed by many fans.

Another campaign for a youth event got off to a rocky start – “Everything is going to change” was the catch phrase, and their attempt to gain attention for their website via youtube videos tagged with popular ARG phrases and names, earned it a fairly bad reputation from the start in the ARG community, as if it were attempting to ‘piggy-back’ off the popularity of other games.

Today, a new controversy has opened to the public.  But this one’s a bit different…after a little digging.

When the trailhead was first posted at Unfiction, I was very, very skeptical. Citizens of Virtue claims to be a Christian organization that is beginning a campaign to “educate the world on God-sanctioned morality”, based on the “classic seven virtues”: Temperance, Patience, Chastity, Kindness, Humility, Diligence, and Charity.  That’s not too bad given the context.  But after reading more detail on the website, such as their convictions, written letters, their accomplishments, etc, the organization comes off more and more as a ‘right wing’ conservative organization – one that isn’t typically viewed very highly in the public’s eyes, with some shady goings-on behind the scenes.

“CoV” is also the maker of a drug they’ve named “Passionix” – “the innovative new solution to the passions that can override the judgment of our youth and lead them into temptation.”  (a product eerily reminiscent of another recent local ‘drug’ campaign called “Obay“).

CoV also runs a camp called Camp Francis.  All seems well and good, if it weren’t for some worrisome / possibly satirical letters and content from past campers.

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Categories: ARGs General, Books