Christian video game
A Christian video game is a video game based on Christian teachings. Christian video games were first marketed successfully by BibleBytes in the early 1980s on several different microcomputer platforms. Wisdom Tree introduced Christian themes to console games, starting in 1991, with the unlicensed Bible Adventures for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Now they are made by many different developers. Most of these new developers meet yearly at the "Christian Games Developers Conference" and build support through the Christian Game Developers Foundation.
Christian video games are any game with Christian themes. Although this is sometimes called a game genre, Christian games can follow the gameplay of many different genres. This ranges from Guitar Praise, a Christian-themed rhythm game, to the shooter game Catechumen. Some Christian-games with an evangelical purpose can be thought of as serious games, but most Christian games are simply entertainment for players who are already Christians.
One of the first Christian Video Games was the “Bible Computer Games” series published by BibleBytes (a division of Kidware Software LLC) for the TRS-80 Color Computer in 1982. The “Bible Computer Games” were then released on the Timex Sinclair and Texas Instruments TI-99/4A computer platforms in 1983. The Bible Computer Games Series was then released on the Apple IIe, Commodore 64, Commodore VIC-20, and the Kaypro CP/M computer platforms in 1984. An MS-DOS version of the Bible Computer Games was released in 1986 by PC Enterprises.
Several Christian themed computer programming books, based on the original BibleBytes "Bible Computer Games" source code, were also written by the Conrod Family. John & Joyce Conrod were the primary authors on the first two books while their son, Philip was the primary game developer and technical editor. The first BASIC programming book, "Computer Bible Games", included the BASIC source code for the Timex/Sinclair, Radio Shack TRS-80 Color Computer, and Texas Instruments Tl-99 computer systems. The first programming book was written in the Fall of 1983 and published by Ac'cent Books on January 1, 1984. These beginner computer programming books were designed to teach students how to write BASIC Bible Computer Games on their own personal computer. Randall Warren reviewed the first "Computer Bible Games" book in the July 1984 issue of Christian Bookseller Magazine and stated, "Computer Bible Games is one of the first of what will no doubt will be a long line of programs and ideas for using a home computer for Christian education and recreation."
The second BASIC programming book, "Computer Bible Games - Book 2", included the Bible Computer Games source code for Applesoft, Commodore, and MBasic. The second programming book was published July 1, 1984 by Ac'cent Books. The second book received two reviews on its back cover by leaders in the Christian Education and Christian computer industry. Don Dengerink, a Christian Education and Media Consultant, stated "In this age of technology we are seeing an explosion of knowledge in the area of computer science. The possibilities of growth and development with the use of computers in Christian Education are staggering and Conrod's book is a step in the right direction. Conrod's use of games to introduce and reinforce Biblical truth makes learning fun for both children and adults.". Douglas Vos, President, Christian Computer Users Association, stated that Computer Bible Games Book 2 was "A useful supplementary text for Christian school computer classes. Great for beginning programmers. This book is a wonderful start in an area much neglected by thinking Christians. It is hoped that this book is only the pioneer in what will become an earth-shaking Christian software industry."
The third BASIC programming book, "Computer Bible Games - Book 3" was published on the Internet and included the Microsoft GW-BASIC and QBASIC source code for the original Bible Computer games plus a dozen new Computer Bible Games. Since then BibleByte Books has published several "Computer Bible Games" programming books for Microsoft Small Basic, Visual Basic, Visual C# and Java. All of these Bible themed programming books were designed for Christian Middle-School and High-School students in addition to Homeschool Computer Science students. The computer programming tutorials can be used by children ages 10+ and by beginning programming adults at home. No prior programming experience is necessary to start using these self-study tutorials. BibleByte Books' parent company, Kidware Software LLC, also publishes a non-violent, family-friendly computer programming curriculum for public schools, charter schools and beginning programming adults.
Another Christian video game pioneer was Bernard K. Bangley, who wrote "Bible BASIC : Bible Games for Personal Computers" with his son, David Bangley. Bible BASIC was published by Harper & Row in December, 1983. His book included type-in BASIC programs to create Bible games. The programs were intended to work in any version of BASIC, but the book included tips for adapting the programs for the Apple II, Atari 400/800, Commodore VIC-20/64, and TRS-80, as well as extending and customising the programs to make them more interesting.
Starting in the late 1980s the unlicensed game developer Color Dreams using the name of Wisdom Tree, developed the first Christian video game for the Nintendo Entertainment System, called Bible Adventures. It featured Bible accounts such as Noah's Ark, Baby Moses, and David and Goliath. It was released in 1991 to Christian bookstores.
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- "About BibleBytes". Kidwaresoftware.com. Retrieved 2011-12-08.
- Warren, Randall R. Christian Bookseller Magazine, July 1984
- "Computer Bible Games Book #2". Biblecomputergames.com. 1984-07-01. Retrieved 2011-12-08.
- Thompson, Justin, Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: First Look IGN, March 14, 2003, Retrieved on Feb 25 2008