Bogost On the 'Reverence' of Resistance: Fall of Man

manchestercathedral.jpgThe flap over the portrayal of Manchester Cathedral in Resistance: Fall of Man has long since settled, but Ian Bogost has an interesting take on the significance of including such a structure within a video game in his Gamasutra column. The depiction of the cathedral shows off the PS3's capabilities, but the inclusion of such an important landmark is not simply a standard of the apocalypse genre or something that serves to cement the time and place of the setting, but a homage - not a desecration - of a site:

Manchester Cathedral was ransacked during the English Civil War in 1649, half-destroyed by German bombs in 1940, and bombed by the Irish Republican Army in 1996. It survived all these attacks. Its patrons rebuilt it.

And it stands still today. Resistance adds a fictional homage to the church's resolve, this time in an alternate history fraught by an enemy that neither understands nor cares for human practices like religion. And it survives this as well. The Church of England sees their cathedral's presence in Resistance only as a sordid juxtaposition, the sanctity of worship set against the profanity of violence. But when viewed in the context of the game's fiction, the cathedral serves a purpose in the game consonant with its role in the world: that of reprieve for the weary and steadfastness in the face of devastation.

The Manchester bishop obviously didn't agree, but Bogost points out that this flap provided yet another platform for 'concerned citizens' to rail against video games and perceived links between virtual and very real violence. Would the flap been as big if there hadn't been some religious angle to foam at the mouth about?

Persuasive Games: The Reverence Of Resistance [Gamasutra]


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