These video games have been brought to you by Satan

Just in time for the holiday shopping frenzy, a conservative Christian investment group called the Timothy Plan has published a report listing the worst video games in the world.

They're hoping of course people will use their list to decide which console games to buy, and I think they will – but not necessarily in the way the group intended.

It's actually two reports. One is a Basic Guide to 142 games [pdf] rated and ranked along 13 categories; the “Graphic” version gives the details [pdf] behind the ratings for the bottom 30 games. (Good luck downloading them; I tried all day and just barely made it through a short while ago.)

The worst of the worst? Grand Theft Auto IV and its near-clone, Saints Row 2. Both received 18 points out of a possible 39.

GTA IV scored a perfect 3 on Sex, Violence, Language, Drugs, and Alcohol, fell down slightly on Nudity and Gay/Lesbian themes, and registered nothing at all in the Comic Mischief and Demonic categories. (Maybe they'll correct that in Grand Theft Auto V.)

Saints Row squeeked into a tie thanks to a higher Gay/Lesbian score. The difference? In GTV IV, "the main character can solicit dates from males on his online dating website, but will be turned down because he lists himself as a straight male," whereas in Saints Row "you can cross dress your character and select voices to match your homosexual or transgender created player." The moral here? Never underestimate the value of accessorizing.

Though they're statistically tied, I'm awarding the Devils Cup to GTA, because as the source of all console game evil it's what you might call the Original Sinner.

Here's the Timothy Plan's bottom 10, along with their scores:

1. Grand Theft Auto IV – 18

2. Saints Row 2 – 18

3. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas – 16

4. Bioshock - 15

5. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City - 14

6. Fallout 3 -- 14

7. Manhunt 2 – 14

8. Condemned 2: Bloodshot – 12

9. Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures – 12

10. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories - 12

And yes, there are games that wear a perfect halo (though definitely not Halo). The following titles all garnered exactly zero points on the TPMUGS (Timothy Plan Moral Uprightness and Godliness Scale).

Brain Age 2


High School Musical: Makin' the Cut!

MLB '07: The Show

NCAA Football 08

Paws and Claws Pet Vet

Pokemon (3 titles)

And who or what, pray tell, is the Timothy Plan? From the Web site:

The Timothy Plan® family of funds employs specific moral screening criteria designed to avoid investing shareholders' money in any company that has a pattern of contributing to the cultural degradation of our society. As a result, the Timothy Plan's screens prohibit investing in companies involved in abortion and/or pörnography, non-married lifestyles, as well as companies involved in the production of alcohol, tobacco or gambling.

I don't know why, but I really like the umlaut over “pornography.”

Me, I like to think about how the Timothy Plan went about rating 142 games in 13 categories. Imagine the countless hours spent in front of game consoles -- maiming, murdering, cursing, smoking, stripping off their clothes, soliciting prostitutes, consuming vast quantities of drugs and alcohol, cross dressing, and matching voices to their transgender created players.

What wicked fun they must have had.

Hey, parents have to make their own choices, and more information is always a plus -- even if it comes from a bunch of self-righteous, narrow-minded, homophobic, teutonic-spelling Floridians. But I think the reports will backfire, making these games more desirable in the eyes of the people most likely to play them.

On a personal note, I believe all self-appointed moral arbiters need to be smacked upside the head with a sockful of manure.

I guess they would rate this blog at least a 2 for Violence, if not Comic Mischief.

When not accessorizing his avatar, asward-winning journalist Dan Tynan tends his blögs, Culture Crash and Tynan on Tech.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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