Hindus have urged internationally renowned gaming festival “QuakeCon 2012”, being held at Dallas (USA) from August two to five, not to allow play of SMITE videogame, which they say trivializes highly revered deities of Hinduism.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that such a prominent international computer gaming convention officially sponsored by AT&T and Intel among others, should show responsibility and respect the feelings of upset Hindus.
Hindus are upset at this online video action game SMITE in which the players assume the direct control of Hindu deities of Kali, Vamana and Agni. Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, has already urged Alpharetta (Georgia, USA) headquartered developer Hi-Rez Studios to immediately remove the Hindu gods from the game stressing that in a video game set-up, the player would control the movements of goddess Kali and other Hindu deities, while in reality the devotees put the destinies of themselves in the hands of their deities.
Hi-Rez Studios has announced that its games “Tribes: Ascend and SMITE will be playable for cash and prizing at QuakeCon”, being held at Hilton Anatole.
Rajan Zed pointed out that reimagining Hindu scriptures and deities for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees. Controlling and manipulating goddess Kali and other Hindu deities with a joystick/ button/keyboard/mouse was denigration. Goddess Kali and other Hindu deities were meant to be worshipped 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.
Video game 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, Zed added.
Catholics, Jews and Buddhists have already supported the Hindus perturbed by this inappropriate usage of Kali and other Hindu deities.
Thousands of computer gamers from all over the world reportedly attend QuakeCon, annual free convention described as a “huge party for every sort of gamer”, “North America’s largest gaming festival” and “Woodstock of Gaming”; held in Dallas (Texas) area; “to play with their friends on a giant gaming network, see the latest cool technology, and compete in world-class tournaments”. Created in 1996, it claims to provide ultimate/unmatched gaming experience.
Website of online video game developer Hi-Rez Studios describes SMITE as an “online battleground between mythical gods” in which players choose from a selection of gods. Erez Goren and Todd Harris are Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer respectively of Hi-Rez Studios, established in 2005 to provide online interactive entertainment.
Goddess Kali, who personifies Shakti or divine energy and considered the goddess of time and change, is widely worshipped in Hinduism. Vamana is the fifth avatar of Vishnu (the “preserver” in the Hindu triad with Brahma and Shiva as the aspect of the Supreme, who had ten incarnations to establish dharma). Agni is one of the most significant Vedic deities, second most frequently invoked in Rig-Veda.
Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. There are about three million Hindus in USA.