Bizarre 1989 Christian Anti-Video Game Ad

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011


I randomly ran across this old Moody Monthly magazine today, the November 1989 issue. Seeing an ad on the back of the magazine for an electronic Bible study computer (looked a lot like a TRS-80 Model 100), I had to take a look inside to see if there were any more retro computing/gaming gems. There were the expected ads for IBM/Tandy and Macintosh software for Bible study and other references, but then I saw the amazing ad above. Click it to view full-size, it’s golden.

Okay, where do I begin? “Without a Bible your kids can understand, Heaven knows where they’ll turn”. Uh-oh, sounds serious, better buy your product! That simple blurb just implies so much about the people behind this ad and who it’s targeted toward.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with someone who believes in and approves of the influence of the Bible wanting to provide their kid with one that is easier to read than the über-classic KJV. That’s their prerogative, that’s their kid and they can do as they wish. But this ad just bothers me!

For starters, I’m going to ignore the cassette tape labeled “A Frightful Good Time” and the “Mastermind” LP, because frankly those are hilarious enough on their own. They sound like Halloween sound effects and a board game accompaniment, respectively. No, the subtle “video games are evil” vibe is what’s impressive to me here.

There’s the poor, innocent NES down in the corner, which is shown with the Zapper gun to show that it is violence incarnate. I mean, good grief! This is published by Zondervan Bible Publishers! They’re the same company that had a line of Zondervan stores, which were the exact same retailers responsible for selling a huge percentage of Wisdom Tree’s awful “Christian” NES games like Bible Adventures, Spiritual Warfare, Bible Buffet and Sunday Funday! So is the NES and its boomstick evil and corrupting our kids or is it awesome when you slap Bible verses and slightly Christian textures onto secular games? Argh, this kind of junk just annoys me. It’s like there’s this witch-burning of everything non-Christian and then they turn right around and sell you the same stuff with some pithy Christianized saying or a cross on it and now it’s okay. Such bull. I know not all Christians and Christian companies are like this, but when they are it’s pathetically sad.

Then you’ve got the awesome fake video boxes to the right of that: The Wicked(?) Wizard, Near Dark, and J.B. Brooke’s Nightmare. I wonder if that last one is a reference to John Wayne’s final movie, The Shootist, where a dying J.B. Brooks goes out like he lived – by the gun? I don’t know, but I find these covers to be classic. Wizards, demons, skulls, more demons, magic, some kind of effeminate spacey person. All the stuff that the scaremongers loved to say is corrupting America’s youth and is pure evil. D&D, video games, fantasy, comic books, movies, music (especially metal and rap!)

Finally, there’s Masters of the Dark on the TV in the back. Maybe it’s a movie, maybe it’s a video game. I don’t know, but I think it sounds awesome! Similar to Mastertronic or Microprose’s awesome games? Is it a docudrama of the Sith? Is it about Digimon’s Dark Masters? I don’t know, but after seeing this ad I wanna know!

Then again, I didn’t have The Adventure Bible as a kid. Oh well, back to playing Doom and listening to those evil beats.


3 comments on “Bizarre 1989 Christian Anti-Video Game Ad

  1. Elbee says:

    Man, I gotta quit leavin’ those magazines lyin’ around! lol

  2. Gemini says:

    The crazy thing is, even for someone who’s not religious such as myself, some of those old Wisdom Tree games were actually kinda fun, specifically Bible Buffet and Spiritual Warfare, the latter of which is much more than just a Zelda rip-off once you play it for a bit.

    The ironic aspect of this advert is that it’s aimed at parents… so imagine if a child saw this. Do you think they’d care about the bible book on the front? They’d be wondering what all those other things around the edges are!

    • Never played Bible Buffet, but I remember playing a crapton of Spiritual Warfare back in the day and it was a lot of fun. I even played it in a Zondervan’s store, same company that’s mentioned in this ad! Granted, I hadn’t yet played Legend of Zelda so I’m unsure if the positive memories are just rose-tinted nostalgia or what 😀

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