Monday, December 26, 2011

Zelda's Demonic Influences

Russell and I have been enjoying our own games - me Skyrim, and him Zelda: Skyward Sword. I've been watching him play a little bit of it, and I laughed at the scene where you pray to the goddess of Skyloft. "Devil worship! Encouraging satanic beliefs!" I could practically hear the orthodox Christians scream.

In fact, I searched for Christian reviews of Zelda, and was not disappointed.

"Tons of religious content in The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword. The goddess is all over this game. As well as the goddess reborn. For me this is a major turn off. I do not comprehend why the religious content was ignored when The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword was regionalized for a country where the majority are Christian. I understand they have that belief over there. But shoving it down our throats in a generally respected and loved franchise is going to turn people away from this franchise." - Family Friendly Gaming Review.

I'm not sure which "that belief" they have "over there" that FFGR is referring to, but I think perhaps the reviewer didn't account that it's a game that's set in a fantasy world where mythical creatures happen to live, some of them powerful enough to be called a goddess. There's no indoctrination of a religion, because it's made up. I think that Christians get their pants in a bunch when they are dealing with fantasy religions, because in their mind it's not possible to enjoy the religion as a nonexistent myth, but it offers some temptation as a real religion. That, and fantasy religions tend to have demonstrable effects in their fantasy worlds, while the Christian religion doesn't.

But when it got to the scene where Batreaux was introduced, I knew that Zelda was really going to piss some people off. Here was a demon who was really friendly. I could practically hear the arguments: Nintendo promoting siding with demons, listening to demons, helping demons! Clearly demons are not to be trusted, and yet here is the hero on a quest to help a demon. Nevermind that it's friendly, good and kind. Nevermind that it does good things. It has horns and looks satanic so it must be evil. Besides, as we all know, good works are not the judge of heavenly worth - trust in God is, and that demon and all the inhabitants of Hyrule (er, Skyloft?) are doomed.

Strangely, my search for any condemnation of Batreaux came up short. It seems that Christians were ignoring Zelda. I think they just haven't caught wind of it yet. The conservatives aren't going to be playing Zelda, and the moderates aren't going to care. It's too bad there won't be any fireworks from Focus on the Family or some other religious group, but then again I'm glad that we won't have to deal with their whining over something so unimportant. It's one more step towards putting religion in the fantasy section.


  1. Leave it to Orthodox Christians to get mad that an imaginary video game character doesn't pray to their imaginary God.

  2. I'm not sure what kind of Christian gets upset at these kinds of things. I was sent to a Catholic school from the age of 5 - 18, and I never ran into any these people who get outraged at this stuff.
    In fact, one of the priests who was a teacher at my high school was really into all the fantasy RPG's and books that these hardcore Christians would denounce as demonic.

  3. By the Nine! Even Zelda...? I can understand games like the TES series creating controversy, as these deities are so similar to bronze age notions that Christian gamers may well find themselves questioning the distinction between faith and fiction. On the other hand, I was raised as a conservative Christian. Pokemon were demons, D&D caused suicides and devil worship. When it comes down to it, all fantasy endangers religion.


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