Is Nintendo About To Piss Off The Bible Belt?

Is Nintendo About To Piss Off The Bible Belt?

For years, hardline Christians have been calling Pokémon evil. One questionable individual even called the character “Oriental demons”.

Now, it’s not a new Pocket Monsters that could be their next target. Nintendo is working on a new Brain Age — one that features a demonic doctor, horns, red face and all.

While the Pokémon complaints seem downright batty (OK, they’re based in evolution, I geddit), I could see people up in arms over this upcoming Brain Age. I grew up in the Bible Belt, surrounded by folks who extremely strong beliefs. That’s fine — people can believe whatever they want. It’s their right. But certainly, Nintendo realises that its new Brain Age, tentatively dubbed Oni Tore (“Demon Training”) could very well raise eyebrows in certain parts of the US.

(Granted, there are many types of Christians — even various types in the Bible Belt. Not everybody thinks the same.)

Nintendo doesn’t make games for the US. The entire company is Japanese, and at the end of the day, Nintendo is making games for Japan. This is not a bad thing. Rather, I’d argue that this is a very good thing. Nintendo is staying true to itself, and thankfully, players all over the world can enjoy its games. There is a wonderful universal quality about them that transcends boarders.

Yet, it really feels like Nintendo did not ask Nintendo of America for its two cents about a game that attempts to tap players “working memory” with a Satanic-looking character. There’s mumbo jumbo and, literally, a foreign devil.

Inadvertently, Oni Tore plays into fears some have about Japan — namely, that its people are pagan demons. These fears were evident in the weeks and months following last year’s terrible earthquake in which individuals like C. Peter Wagner said the country was “cursed”. Obviously, these types of comments are out of mainstream Christain thought.

In Japan, the “oni” character is slightly different from Satan, and most folks will look at Oni Tore as a humorous spin on Brain Age. I know I will. In the West, I believe most other gamers will, too.

But, don’t be surprised if this game doesn’t get inaccurately pegged as the work of the devil. I won’t.

Top photo: Roger Alford/AP/Nintendo


        • Lachlan and TechaNinja,

          I’m an atheist and I absolutely despise Christianity, but your comments are just plain ignorant.

          There are many different kinds of Christian. Some of them do indeed hold beliefs which are anti-progress and anti-science. I’d argue most of them hold beliefs which are IMPLICITLY anti-progress and anti-science.

          But NOT ALL Christians can be accused of this.

          If you want to bash Evangelicals and Fundies and Pentecostals specifically, I’d happily join in. But not all Christians are Evangelicals/Fundies/Pentecostals.

          Christianity is not a monolith, and treating it as such shows your own ignorance of both history and Christian theology.

          This article, by specifically targeting Fundamentalist/Evangelical/Pentecostal types (the types you generally find in the Bible Belt), shows a far more nuanced and sophisticated understanding of Christianity than either of you do.

          No offense, but arguments like yours do significant damage to the secularist cause.

  • I may be wrong on this, but isn’t the traditional Japanese ‘Oni’ more of a mischief-maker than the Japanese version of Satan?

    • Pretty much, although they are supposed to be dangerous, they are in no way an analog for the Christian Satan.

      But that’s beside the point, it’s not like these people are capable of appreciating different cultures or the fact that some things will get lost in translation if you are not familiar with the original source.

  • So instead of waiting to see if people kick up a fuss, we’re just cutting the whole thing short and jumping straight to the part where we say “‘Oh those crazy Christians. Making a purely imagined and stereotyped reaction to a game that hasn’t even been released yet because we want to see if we can stir something up.”?

    Great reporting…

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