By MorkaiTheWolf 12 Comments
First and foremost, your personal religious background (if you have one) does not matter for this posting. Not to say I don't respect them (I love to learn about any and all paths to a higher power) but for this, they do not matter. I wish to speak just about their role in video games and how they can make the story more enjoyable.
Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga
Perhaps the first thing I should do is give an example of what kind of game got me thinking about this. The game was Digital Devil Saga. Now, I thought it was a truly fun game. Reminded me of the older JRPG days but still had a wicked learning curve (I first played it when it came out and it was one of the games to inspire me to play JRPGs. Yes, I played this before any other PS2 RPG.). Now, the concept behind it was at first, rather novel to me because I wasn't as well versed in theological studies as I am now. To sum it all, the game was about your characters trying to get to Nirvana and reincarnate themselves back into their original bodies. They knew they were dead but they forget everything about their previous life.
Did I mention they happened to be devils to? Cause it's kinda important. Meaning, they had devil forms they could take in order to fight the other devils roaming the lands and get one step closer to the afterlife. It made the battles exciting, engaging and it let you see just how different each of their devil forms moved. For example, Cielo would glide around the battle where as Gale would be balancing himself on his knife feet, constantly readjusting himself so he didn't fall over during the course of battle.
Religion In Digital Devil Saga
The religious influence in this game is pretty obvious right away. The vast majority of the mythos around the character's names, devil forms and some of the magic names come from Hinduism and old Hinduism also known as Vedic Hinduism (meaning from the Vedic period). Take for example the main character.
First of all his name is Serph which is one letter away from the word Seraph which is a three winged angel as seen in Hebrew stories. A Seraph (Or Seraphim as most people encounter the word) guards the throne of Yahweh (The title of the Jewish interpretation of God). They were known as the protectors. This raises an issue as Serph is not only a human, but his character also controls ice (which is in direct opposition of what the Seraphim were as they were known as 'fiery ones'. Also, with the missing letter it means he is indeed missing something. As the game points out, the piece he is missing in order to ascend to Nirvana is enlightenment which he obtains at the end of Digital Devil Saga 2 thanks to Sera. Now, let's look a little bit at what she has to bring to the table.
Sera is seen as the other half of Serph more or less. She is seen at the beginning of the game as the one who is able to calm down the devil forms within everybody with her voice. This is a direct contrast to Serph as he is (in Shin Megami Tensei fashion) a silent protagonist. Sera's devil form also closely resembles Serph is they have the same base model as well as sharing other characteristics like their long claws and their armor.
Now, through the course of the story stuff happens and they finally get their goal (As they do in most RPGs).
WARNING: THE BELOW IS SPOILER AND WILL BE MARKED AS SUCH
Once Serph and Sera are able to obtain their enlightenment, they transcend their normal body and become the being known as Seraph. This being is seen as the last chance to quell God's anger with the humans living in the Junkyard (What their world is known as). By becoming an enlightened being, they become almost god like when fighting in battles and their character's stats reflect this. Seraph retains all the skills of both Serph and Sera and continues on their path to speak with God.
Thanks for Reading
I wish I could say I have some profound reasoning for why I chose this game above all of them but not really, it was the one game that stuck out in my head the most.
Thanks for taking the time out of your day and reading this, I really appreciate it. I would love to be able to do some more posts on this issue and I hope to do them in the future. Have a good day.
Information on Hinduism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hinduism
Miscellaneous information about Digital Devil Saga http://megamitensei.wikia.com/wiki/Digital_Devil_Saga