As if we needed more proof that Christians are the only group left in America that it’s safe to make fun of. A popular YouTube video purports to be an ad for a Wii-like game system called “Mass: We Pray,” which will be available at Easter 2010. In reality, the anti-religious video is a commercial for a new video game.
In it, viewers see a family at home as a saccharine-voiced narrator reminiscent of the one from the old “Mr. Bill” skit on “Saturday Night Live,” says, “A family shouldn't have to wait until Sunday to worship the Lord. Now you can go to church every day without leaving your home.”
The family’s two children are then shown pantomiming the movements of priests and congregants during mass, using “the wireless cross controller,” a large white plastic cross with a rosary bead strap. “Every twist of the hand and nuance of a blessing is recreated onscreen,” says the narrator. The point, he explains, is to collect “grace points,” and move a number of pews toward the altar. “Then trade in your Grace points to unlock the Holy Mysteries. Add the kneeler accessory, and get off the couch and into the action.” Players can download the “seven sacraments and holy rituals expansion pack.”
Visitors to the “Mass: We Pray” Web site are encouraged to click the “Pre-order” button as of Nov. 20. That’s when they realize the video and site have been a marketing ploy for an actual game from EA called “Dante’s Inferno.” They can either watch the trailer for the run-of-the-mill violent game based on the 14th Century poem, or they can “Damn thy Fellow Sinners to Hell on Facebook with the Go To Hell Application.”
EA is Electronic Arts Inc., “a leading global interactive entertainment software company.” According to the company’s Web site, in fiscal 2009 it had “31 titles that sold more than one million copies, and three titles that each sold more than five million copies including “FIFA 09,” “Madden NFL 09,” and “Need for Speed Undercover.”
So EA mocks the Catholic rites and sacraments in order to sell a hell-themed video game. Perhaps next year the company will use a spoof ad for an interactive prayer rug or “Jihadi Jump” to sell a “Satanic Verses” game. Don’t hold your breath.