Hindus Ask PAX To Drop Smite

| 30 Aug 2012 18:45
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The Universal Society of Hinduism is asking PAX organizers to keep Smite out of the convention.

Hi-Rez Studios' Smite is a multiplayer fighting game featuring gods from various pantheons going at each other in divine, one-on-one combat. It won't actually be out for awhile yet, but in the meantime the Hi-Rez guys are making the rounds of various gaming conventions, drumming up publicity while giving gamers a chance to try it out.

The game isn't going over very well with Hindus, however, thanks to the presence of Hindu deities Kali, Vamana and Agni as playable characters. Rajan Zed, the head of the Universal Society of Hinduism, asked Hi-Rez in June to remove the Hindu characters from the game and then, when that went nowhere, called on QuakeCon to drop it from the lineup, which also went ignored. But he's keeping up the fight, and has now asked organizers to keep the game from being played or distributed at this weekend's PAX Prime.

Hi-Rez will reportedly have Smite playable on 50 stations at PAX, Zed said in a statement, and will be offering it for sale at "promotional pricing." But as one of the largest gaming events in North America, with a number of very high-profile sponsors, Zed said that PAX "should show responsibility and respect the feelings of upset Hindus."

"Goddess Kali and other Hindu deities were meant to be worshiped in temples and home shrines and not meant to be reduced to just a 'character' in a video game to be used in combat in the virtual battleground," he said. "Videogame makers should be more sensitive while handling faith related subjects, as these games left lasting impact on the minds of highly impressionable children, teens and other young people."

It's understandable that Zed wouldn't really be down with the whole "gaming culture" thing, but the odds of PAX keeping a game off the floor out of sensitivity to cultural issues are very long indeed. Far more likely is that we'll end up with PAX apparel covered in images of Kali sporting four dicks instead of four arms.

PAX Prime 2012 runs from August 31 to September 2 in Seattle.

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Wait, correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm fairly certain I've heard stories where Hindu gods kind of go around and kill each others. If that's the case, why is this portrayal inappropriate?

The various other pantheons in Smite aren't any more dead than Hinduism, they're just a whole shit-ton smaller. But hey, they're minorities so maybe they don't count.

Anyways, with regards to including Judeo-Christian faiths in a game like this, perhaps using the Catholic saints as a pantheon could work, there are some pretty interesting characters to be found in there.

Not only should they keep the Hindu, pantheon as playable characters They should also add Jesus and Muhammad as playable characters to balance things out!

EvilPicnic:
Well, I think this is cowardly from the developers. The big difference between the Egyptian, Greek and Norse religions and Hinduism is that while the former are all *dead* and commonly accepted as myths, Hinduism is the world's 3rd largest religion. So why not include the other big religions?

I see no reason why they couldn't have included the Abrahamic religions, and they could: a fighting game with Lucifer vs Metatron, Lilith vs the Angel of the Lord? How epic would that be?

But no. They pick a religion not often in the public eye, still viewed as 'other' by many, that not many people in the territories who buy games care about, and team it up with a bunch of safe, dead religions not likely to offend.

Maybe I'm picky. Maybe I want too much. But what I see here is a developer saying, 'It's ok to treat some religions lightly, but not others' I want to offend ALL religions or none of them. You can't just pick the easy targets.

Because the other religions are boring in comparison. As other have pointed out, the religious figures of the 3 most popular beliefs are all dudes with beards. They aren't gods of thunder or death. It just simply isn't as interesting.

Honestly this organization is making this to be a more serious issue than it is. It's a video game, it's not particularly popular.

Also, as an athiest all religions have the same credibility as the older myths, so it makes no difference to me who they include.

You know this is a lot like us complaining that Super Smash Bros shouldn't have Link in it.

My initial reaction was "oh nooooo, they're using somebody else's imaginary friends?!?" Which is a harsh, sarcastic comment and probably unfair. But still...

Well, I think this is cowardly from the developers. The big difference between the Egyptian, Greek and Norse religions and Hinduism is that while the former are all *dead* and commonly accepted as myths, Hinduism is the world's 3rd largest religion. So why not include the other big religions?

I see no reason why they couldn't have included the Abrahamic religions, and they could: a fighting game with Lucifer vs Metatron, Lilith vs the Angel of the Lord? How epic would that be?

But no. They pick a religion not often in the public eye, still viewed as 'other' by many, that not many people in the territories who buy games care about, and team it up with a bunch of safe, dead religions not likely to offend.

Maybe I'm picky. Maybe I want too much. But what I see here is a developer saying, 'It's ok to treat some religions lightly, but not others' I want to offend ALL religions or none of them. You can't just pick the easy targets.

They could not really add the Abrahamic God since well...that would not be fair in a fight.

The other gods did have to fight and were at risk.
The Abrahamic God? He is all knowing, all seeing, eternal, and all powerful.

GOD: Hello. -all mobs die instantly-

That is not very fun.
At least Thor or Zeus or Kali threw down in myths.
Or in Zeus case ran about raping people while pretending to be a swan.

judgementbringer:
So why is this an issue now? I don't remember anyone freaking out about the Shin Megami Tensei games. And those games feature all of the major deities from Hinduism. Every other major religion too for that matter.

For the same reason it used to be okay to portray Mohammed in South Park's Jesus's super best friends and why they had to censor him out of the more recent episode. Internet has become a commodity even in the developing countries.

OT: Come on people, at least these guys are asking nicely, whats with the ridicule? Do we reeeally want give out a message that the only way for a religion be taken seriously, is to have its followers kill every single thing that even looks funnily at its way?

PAX told the Hindus to politely stuff it and then made a comic strip that was considerably less polite.

Sleekit:

The Plunk:
I trust the Penny Arcade guys to stand up to these enemies of free speech.

still no characters from the Abrahamic religions i see.

why is that exactly ?..

oh yes...they are shitebags.

still /golfcalp in the name of "freedom of speech" eh ?..

especially when its quite clear they won't actually dare offend anyone who might actually be able to mess with them in return.

cowards.

Maybe because the only magic prophet was Jesus. The rest of the prophets all were aided by God. So you would literally have Prophets who could do nothing but use hacks seeing as God is supposed to be omnipotent.

However they COULD make it work.

However here is something else about free speech you are missing. You can't FORCE them to include something NOR can you force them to remove something.

You are damaging their free speech just as much DEMANDING that if they add an existing religion they add ALL the existing religions as when you DEMAND they remove something from their game.

They made a game. They decide what they put in it.

How many of you thought about South Park while reading this?

I know I did :D

nerdwerds:
If they won't remove the Hindu gods, then perhaps they should include Jesus Christ and Mohammad as playable characters?

I'm pretty sure Mohammad isn't divine, he's just a prophet. and isn't Jesus against the whole violence thing?

Sleekit:

The Plunk:
I trust the Penny Arcade guys to stand up to these enemies of free speech.

still no characters from the Abrahamic religions i see.

why is that exactly ?..

oh yes...they are shitebags.

still /golfcalp in the name of "freedom of speech" eh ?..

especially when its quite clear they won't actually dare offend anyone who might actually be able to mess with them in return.

cowards.

I'm pretty sure they don't have gods from Abrahamic religions because they are omnipotent gods ,and that will be pretty hard to balance. and also they are quite boring

Jesus would probably carry a cross on his shoulders for melee, and his powers would involve healing or setting the cross on fire or such.

On topic: The Oat Meal's "How to tell if you SUCK at your religion comes to mind"

samahain:
Is it me or maybe, just maybe, some Hinduists are losing focus here.
I understand defending your beliefs, however they ought to understand that it is NOT their deity on screen. It's a character with a cool name.

I want to see Jesus in a fighting game. Why not??? Huh?

Totally! Give him a long, black, Van Hellsing-style trenchcoat and a cross as a waraxe/hammer and you've got a badass character.

St. Peter can come too.

Krantos:
What they really need to do is balance the books.

Make Jesus a playable character.

Not quite sure how that would work given his philosophy, but they should make it work.

As a Christian myself, I would love to see that and imagine The Man would get a kick out of it.

I got it make him a specialist fighter. He would only be able to harrn his opponent by "turning the other cheek", then countering them.

Also Muhammed would be invisible, and Moses.... Well... At least we've got his taunt figured out.

kortin:

Woodsey:
Arguably, but the Greek and Norse gods are certainly more exotic then Jesus. All the other religions included seem to be ones with pantheons of gods, as well.

All of the Norse and Greek gods also have a theme. Thor has thunder and his hammer. Ares is a paragon of War. The theme with Jesus is "hey, I'm the son of god...yeah, I got a robe and shit". I just can't see that as interesting.

well, for one, he has an endless supply of projectiles...
image

beniki:

Woodsey:

Sleekit:
still no characters from the Abrahamic religions i see.

why is that exactly ?..

oh yes...they are shitebags.

still /golfcalp in the name of "freedom of speech" eh ?..

especially when its quite clear they won't actually dare offend anyone who might actually be able to mess with them in return.

cowards.

Their job is not to include all the religions you've taken up a personal beef with. You might have noticed that Hindu deities are rather interesting looking, whilst anyone important in Christianity, Judaism and Islam is a bloke with a beard. So yeah, no shit they're not included.

So... like pretty much most mage characters in video games?

It's lazy design if you think that way though. Jesus and the Abrahamic religions have a wealth of Middle Eastern culture and style to create character designs from... and that's not including the Greek and Roman influences on the various depictions of Christian idols (although that particular word is tricky given the ten commandments).

But of course they wouldn't try that, since they'd get into real trouble in the US. Like Plunk says, they're ignoring the complaint because they can, not through any sense of ethics.

Not that I give a crap either way, I'm not going to play that game anyway. 3D DOTA doesn't seem that thrilling to me.

Oh please, how many people think of anything like that when they think of Jesus or the Abrahamic god? You and three other people, the designers probably haven't. And as already mentioned, the others all seem to be religions with pantheons (or at least a few gods, not sure about the Chinese ones).

This is as petty as demanding comedians make Muslim jokes just because people have some perverse sense of "what's fair". You know why comedians don't do them? Because most of them wouldn't know enough about Islam to make the jokes and let's face it, nor would the audience. The only difference here is that the Abrahamic god is far too familiar.

If they DID want to do use the Abrahamic god, then fine - they're all fictional characters, they're all fair game. But they don't, and you've really no decent argument for them to do so. Beyond, again, that perverse sense of "what's fair" and bending over backwards with the design just to get them in there.

Stripes:
I love how people think that, because they dont believe in someone's religion, they have a right to mock the people who do. I think they dont need to have the gods in and it was a dum idea to only use hindu gods in the first place out of the main practiced religions, as if hinduism is the only religion you dont have to respect. They arent making any sort of statement, which is fine, however because of that theres no real reason to press ahead with it aside from insensitivity. Also asking that a private corporation not do business with another private corporation because you find it offensive is not attacking free speech.

Perhaps some people need to realise that just because something's important to them doesn't make it untouchable. No one's taking a shit a temple floor, it's a game. Precisely how much will this affect anything at all? Well, probably about as much as the other times Kali's been featured in games: fuck all.

Designers can do what they want.

I love how people think that, because they dont believe in someone's religion, they have a right to mock the people who do. I think they dont need to have the gods in and it was a dum idea to only use hindu gods in the first place out of the main practiced religions, as if hinduism is the only religion you dont have to respect. They arent making any sort of statement, which is fine, however because of that theres no real reason to press ahead with it aside from insensitivity. Also asking that a private corporation not do business with another private corporation because you find it offensive is not attacking free speech.

Kali is also in a game where you shoot yourself in the head to summon it from your inner being.

edit: But to be fair, they do have a right to be offended. I'm just saying that this isn't the only instance of divine beings being used as game characters.

I don't support the banning of these characters, but the headline would be better if it said "Hindu Organization Asks PAX To Drop Smite" - this organization does not represent every follower of Hinduism after all.

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