5 Video Games Censored For Being Too Christian

You can't turn on the news these days without listening to someone with a pizza place or a tire store or something beating their breast about how Christians are being driven from America. They are under attack! For the most part the rest of us just roll our eyes and get on with our day because we know you can't claim to be an oppressed minority when you make up 78 percent of the population.

Here's something weird, though... for many years Christianity actually was heavily suppressed in one major aspect of American life; video games. See, games in the '80s and '90s were made in Japan, where they are way less lung up on this whole monotheism thing and are therefore much more comfortable dropping Christian symbolism into games. However, Nintendo of America, who for all intents and purposes controlled the home video game market here through the 16-bit era, had a strict "no religion" policy on every release. As a result every ounce of Christ was blasted from an emerging artistic medium, and as so many over-zealous Christian like to claim it was indeed because they were afraid of offending people and losing market share.

So this one's on me, Christians. Here's five times you were absolutely right about the Lord being censored.

Illusion of Gaia was one of those SNES RPGs that wasn't Final Fantasy, and it's generally only remembered by the more hardcore adventure nerds despite being a stellar title. In the town of South Cape you find a building labeled a school, but as you can clearly see from the screenshot above it's meant to be a church. In the original Japanese release that large statue was actually a crucifix. The teacher is also pretty obviously meant to be a monk. It's a minor part of the game, but significant. As is...

Super Ghouls'n Ghosts, or as it's known in my house Screw This It's Too Hard, is a classic sidescroller where a brave knight rescues a princess from a demon. Despite the fact that pretty much every brave knight story told throughout medieval history is full of Christian stuff, the game toned down most of those aspects from the original. Crosses on graves were changed to ankhs and the final boss was renamed Sardius from Sameal. In Christian mythology Samael was the angel of death, and is sometimes connected to demons or even Satan himself. Of course if you didn't want to beat around the bush there's always...

There will probably never be another game like Actraiser. It was a unique mix of action-RPG and city building sim that was just a joy to play. It's also literally supposed to be about God reclaiming the world from Satan. In Japan you are referred to as God, answer the prayers of your followers and ultimately kick Satan's ass in one on one combat. America changed your name to The Master and Satan to Tanzra as well as making your churches into temples. The irony of defeating monsters based on other major world religions until only you are left was kept in, though.

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Almost no games saw as much anti-Christian censorship as the Final Fantasy series. In the original games America turned churches used for resurrecting the dead into clinics. Crosses used to mark the path to Bahamut and the Crystal Rooms sported Stars of David. In Final Fantasy IV (II here) Rosa lost one of her best abilities just because it was called Pray. the Tower of Prayers became the Tower of Wishes and the Holy spell was dubbed the hella confusing White. At least Banon got to keep the Pray ability in Final Fantasy VI (III here), though it was changed to Health. By the time Final Fantasy VII was released on Playstation overtly Christian and Jewish references were no longer censored, and much of the cut material was re-instated on later re-releases of the Nintendo era games.

Here's something you probably didn't know; The Legend of Zelda is the world best Christian game series. No really. In the first game the Book of Magic started out as a Bible and Link carries a Christian cross on his shield. Crosses remained prominent in Adventure of Link, even becoming a usable item to see ghosts. By the time Link to the Past rolled around though there was an honest to God religious schism in the game. The artwork above is official, showing Link praying to Jesus before embarking on his quest. Despite that other Christian aspects like the word pray and Link genuflecting were cut. Nonetheless that game introduced the now-canon Goddesses in-game religion, leaving Christianity behind in further releases. Still, there's no doubt about it; The Legend of Zelda began it's life as the tale of a righteous Christian warrior who had his faith largely erased in the name of marketing.

Jef has a new story, a tale of mad robot nurses and a man of miracles called "Sleepers, Wake!" available now. You can also connect with him on Facebook.

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Jef Rouner is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner