Indie shooter, Jesus Strikes Back, received its latest update this past week amidst controversy. The game allows players to control characters resembling Donald Trump, Vladamir Putin, Jair Bolsonaro, Adolph Hitler and even Jesus Christ on missions which include killing liberals on a university campus in California, “rainbow militants” at a sex club in Brazil and abortionists at a clinic in Europe. The enemies faced in the game charge the player like zombies as they shout obscenities. While the developers of the game insist the game is satirical, a petition on Change.org accuse them of being “proud Nazis.”
The developers also accuse the media of lying about their work. For example, many articles say that Hitler is a playable character in the game when in fact he technically isn’t. However, the character, Dolph, an Austrian artist responsible for the e-book “The Struggle”, very obviously resembles Hitler. Technically, President Donald Trump is also not featured in the game but the character, Tromp, “former leader of the free world”, looks quite like the President and audio bits from Trump rallies play in the background as players selects their character.
The game, according to its creators, is meant to mock political extremes on both sides of the spectrum. “We satirize the philosophies of both the far left and the far right,” one of developers told GrayScale over email. “The extreme hyperbole nature of the game itself should of made it obvious (we hoped).” This developer also told GrayScale that accusations of them being Nazis are outright false, adding that there wouldn’t have been any way for people to know they were “proud Nazis” even if they were because their names and identities aren’t public.
The game’s update comes at a time when tech companies and politicians are reeling to find ways to better crack down on violent political speech online. This past week, a terrorist in New Zealand livestreamed a mass shooting on Facebook. The killer killed over 50 people across two mosques. Social media platforms have been trying to take down the killer’s video but the video continues to pop up on places across the Internet. The shooter had entertained his views with other extremists online before carrying out the violence. He even released a 70 plus page manifesto berating minorities especially Muslims, though it’s unclear how serious this manifesto can be taken. The New York Times reported that the shooter “intentionally filled it [the manifesto] with language to troll and confuse the news media.”
In the official Jesus Strikes Back forum, a user under the name “GasTheJuice” posted a meme comparing a videogame screenshot to footage of the attack. Other users responded to the post mocking the shooter for attributing his ethno-nationalism to Spyro 3, a game about a purple dragon.
In another post a user under the name SpearHeads jokingly writes that “Gamers are the most oppressed minority.” “When will we be able to safely walk down the street, PS4 controller in hand, without fear of being attacked by ANTIFA?” the user asks. “When will we see gamer representation in mainstream media ? Gamers, RISE UP!”
“A New Zealand gamer rose up today…” another user responds. “…Too soon?”
“No, right on time,” SpearHeads responds.
The developers of Jesus Strikes Back plan to release its final version this Fall. The current version is available for $14.99