Martyr deaths in video games

As a child, my first experience with death was seeing my frog get run over by a car in Frogger. Aside from learning about Jesus dying on the cross, video games were the first time I'd ever saw anything resembling death: my parents weren't about to let me watch people dying on television, but I saw Mario get run over by a barrel a good number of times.

Unfortunately, death isn't limited to pixels on TV: it happens to the best of us. Some of the greatest heroes of faith didn't get the chance to die peacefully in their sleep. Instead, they were murdered in all sorts of horrible ways because they wouldn't deny our saviour Jesus Christ.

Which also got me thinking: pretty much every video game death has probably been experienced by a great Saint. This isn't me taking their sacrifices lightly: if anything, when you turn on the PS3 and die a horrible death on screen, maybe you'll remember how a great saint suffered for the faith, and take a moment to thank God for the example they set.

1. Falling off a cliff (Super Mario Bros.)

Most of the time, falling off a cliff was the result of me running too fast, mistiming a jump, and falling to my death due to my own carelessness. However, Saint Gerard wasn't careless, nor did he jump into a cliff on his own. Rather, he was an Italian priest who converted the country of Hungary to Catholicism in 1046. He was, according to legend, placed in a two-wheel cart, and pushed down a giant hill by pagans.

2. Lava (too many games to name)

Here's a martry that wasn't meant to be. According to legend, John the Evangelist (the author of John's gospel and the book of Revelation) was thrown into a vat of boiling oil. Not only did he survived, but according to St. Jerome's account, he was unharmed. Shortly after this miracle, the disciple that Jesus loved, was exiled to the island of Patmos.

3. Burned Alive (Dragon's Lair)

In truth, I could have done this entire post using the Dragon's Lair game, as there are so many ways that Dirk could die. He could fall down a cliff, crash into a wall, or drown. However, he does get burned alive, which brings to mind one of the most famous saints in history, Joan of Arc.

I won't try to retell the history of Joan of Arc, since so many other sources are much more eloquent than I could hope to be in this short space. However, one of her quotes from her trial really stands out to me. When asked if she was in God's grace, she replied, "If I am not, may God put me there; and if I am, may God so keep me."

A truly remarkable woman.

4. Being impaled (Castlevania)

Castlevania isn't the only game to feature spikes: Sonic the Hedgehog was infamous for spikes that killed you immediately in a very cheap fashion (not giving you temporary invincibility so you could get off of them). And while getting impaled by spikes isn't fun in the video game world, it's even less fun when its done while suffering for Christ.

A few saints immediately come to mind when it comes to impalement. Thomas the Apostle (doubting Thomas, as he is commonly known), was speared to death in India, and St. Peter and St. Andrew were both crucified. Peter upside down (he didn't find himself worthy enough to die the same way Jesus did, so they flipped him upside down), and Andrew was nailed to an x-shaped cross.

5. Being skinned alive (Mortal Kombat 3)

Of all the ways to die, I think this would be the worst. It's pretty gruesome, and to be honest I felt a little bad including it on this list (as this is not meant to be a gruesome, stomach-turning article). Still, seeing Sindel scream so loud it rips the skin off a person's bones reminds me of St. Bartholomew. He was one of Jesus' disciples, and other than being on the list of disciples, he isn't mentioned at all in the New Testament. So what happened to Bartholomew? Tradition says that he preached the Gospel in Armenia (along with St. Jude, another disciple), and converted the King, which made the King's brother so mad that he ordered his execution.

But instead of a simple beheading or crucifixion, St. Bartholomew was SKINNED ALIVE!!! Think about that for a second. Imagine someone cutting into your skin, and flaying you while you are still alive and alert. All because you shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

We think we have it so rough as followers of Christ. Put yourself in Bartholomew's shoes for a moment, and you'll realize how blessed we are that we more than likely won't have to endure being skinned alive.

While deaths in video games are nothing more than a slight annoyance to me, compiling this article really makes me remember just how much other people have sacrificed because they love God. And that's a good reminder to have.

On a side note, this whole looking up deaths in video games was easy enough on the old systems, when it wasn't so graphic, but geez alive some of the modern stuff was REALLY disturbing. I think I'll forever regret watching the No Russian scene in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Yeah, it's just a video game, no different than a movie, but that had to be the most disturbing thing I've ever seen this side of Schindler's List. Yet I've got no problem playing Mortal Kombat 2. Hypocrisy on my end?


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    About This Blog

    A blog for the masses, if by masses you mean myself and family members who probably read this out of pity.

    I'm dustin Faber, the 16-bit Catholic. This blog is an amusing, sometimes thought-provoking look at my life and the world around me. Poetry, cooking recipes, gaming, faith, things that make me go awww, things that make me go grrr, and my obsession with a good glass of root beer can be found here.

    If you're looking for gaming-centered posts, check out catholicvideogamers.blogspot.com. If you seek the blog I keep with my fiance, check out thecatholiclovebirds.blogspot.com

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