If you haven't already played BioShock: Infinite and have managed to avoid spoilers, you're either some kind of self-controlled super hero, or you don't know how to read. Either way, it's probably safe to assume that you're aware of the game's religious underpinnings.
In the world of BioShock, religion and politics have been unmistakably intertwined, and the game's Christian symbolism often becomes downright disturbing. Baptism, in particular, is utilized throughout the campaign to underline the weight of Booker's decisions. Just after Dewitt is transported to the floating city of Columbia, there's a creepy sequence where players are forced to accept a preacher's offer of baptism in order to enter the city. This scene is probably less than 20 minutes into the campaign, and has compelled several devout Christians to ask for a refund.
In a recent interview with Kotaku, Breen Malmberg, a gamer and a Christian, explained his convictions:
"As baptism of the Holy spirit is at the center of Christianity - of which I am a devout believer - I am basically being forced to make a choice between committing extreme blasphemy by my actions in choosing to accept this 'choice' or forced to quit playing the game before it even really starts.
Of course I cannot hold true to my beliefs and also commit this act, so I am therefor[e] forced to not play the game."
Far be it from me to quibble with Malmberg's conscience, but it seems a little strange to draw the line at baptism. Video games are chock-full of actions that are specifically forbid in most religious texts and, for some reason, are easily ignored. Murder is probably the most salient example, but premarital sex, taking the lord's name in vain, and wizardry are also on the docket.
Let's not forget one thing: video games are fictional. Just because we're asked to make a decision that might compete with our ethical standards doesn't mean that we’re responsible for that action. If this were true, we would responsible for every sinful action in every piece of fiction we've ever read simply because we didn't put book down.
Luckily, Malmberg purchased his copy of BioShock on Steam and the good people at Valve were willing to offer a refund. However, I kind of doubt that Wal-Mart or Best Buy would have a similarly forgiving policy. Most retailers aren't concerned about your ethical convictions, which probably makes them evil.
Date: April 16, 2013