When I was growing up, the biggest debate around relating to video games was whether Ms Pac-Man was attractive or not (yes she is). Turns out, video games have moved on some way since then and are now causing the sort of theological debate once reserved for books, films and rap songs.
The hot button topic at the moment is a game called Spore. Essentially it allows you to create an organism and guide it from single cell to galaxy conquering race. It’s been a controversial title on both sides of the evolution / intelligent design debate, with evolutionists deriding the intelligent design aspects and id-ers deriding the evolutionary aspects. Stomping into this debate like the proverbial chimpanzee into an intelligent debate is the AntiSpore website. As pointed out by gaming blog Kotaku, this is one of those sites that’s so badly written, researched and conceived that it’s initially difficult to know whether it’s a parody or not.
Our first thought was “Ha! A clever satire on religious censorship and the intelligent design debate!” quickly followed by, “hang on, it’s quite deadpan for satire, isn’t it?”
The problem here is two fold. Firstly, the game isn’t really about evolution. In fact, it very much falls into the “Intelligent Design” side of things. Otherwise, it would be quite boring. You put into place the basic elements of your species, you design them. Secondly, the website is just like the 100s of other creationist/ID websites out there. It’s badly written, misinformed, and sets out the deceive and mislead. The current newest post is claiming that you have to present ID to see sex in the cinema, but not in Spore! Well, for starters the game is rated for people 10 years and over. Secondly, you can watch a documentary about animals having sex at pretty much any time of the day on Discovery. That, if anything, is what the copulation in Spore should be compared to. This isn’t pornography, and only someone with a truly distorted view of sex and sexuality would believe it is (my previous comments about Ms Pac-Man not withstanding!).
Update: Thankfully, the site has been revealed as a hoax. Although it does raise the very serious point that we all know, and have met, people with views this extreme. The site, while extreme, was not so extreme as to be unbelieveable. Which is scary when you think about it.