Simulating the Apocalypse. Theology and Structure of the Left Behind Games

Stephen Jacobs

Abstract


This article is a structural analysis of Left Behind, a real-time strategy computer game that is loosely based on the best selling series of novels written by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. Both the books and the game are popular cultural expressions of a Christian theology that posits an apocalyptic future in which humanity will be finally judged. Drawing on both narratology and ludology, the paper suggests that the Left Behind Game is neither truly a narrative nor a game. Instead a maze like structure can be identified. This structure allows the player a number of choices within the game play, but only one pathway allows the player to successfully navigate the game. Furthermore, there is only a single successful resolution. The paper concludes that this game structure is homologous to the theological structure of the apocalyptic belief system.

Keywords


Computer games, narrative structure, the Rapture, dispensationalism, premillenialism

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.11588/rel.2015.0.18509

URN (PDF): http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:bsz:16-rel-185097