Religion has been in many video games, and its presence has taken many forms. In fact, most kids have probably played a video game with religion in it in one way or another. This article will examine how religion and the idea of being “Religious” is used in Spore, an EA evolution game from 2008.
Spore is a game based on evolution. Throughout the game there are five stages: cell, creature, tribal, civilization, and space. Completing the earlier stages such as cell, creature, and tribal, allows you to customize a creature of your creature to go onto have cool bonuses in the later stages. In addition, during each stage you either get a green blue or red card which is determined by how you played during the stage. Here is an image of the three cards that can be earned for completing the civilization stage: These three categories alone are interesting since the 3 different city types all have their different symbols and colors. Religious, which is the one we care about, is displayed as green with an eye/star symbol. The color green was most likely chosen to contrast with military, which is red due to the color red normally being associated with war. Green is a peaceful color, one that in the previous stages of the game associates with herbivore, social, and friendly, all attributes of a species which making them innocent. Also, in order to have your starting city in civilization stage be religious, you have to be friendly in tribal stage, the previous stage. Due to the game suggesting that the color green is associated with being nice, its interesting to consider why green represents religious. It may suggest that religious people are nice, but when you did deeper into the game play it’s clear that economic cities are nicer than religious cities which are more aggressive. Overall, I believe the color of green is somewhat misleading, since religious cities in the game make other cities mad when they convert them, suggesting that playing as a religious religious city isn’t peaceful. Economic may actually fit the color green better since economic cities improve their relationships with other cities through trade, eventually buying the cities they traded with. Just to clarify, the point of civilization stage is to take control of 10 other cities that spawn, using the force of your starting city. Overall, I can understand why the color green fits religious cities somewhat, but I believe it fits economic cities in the game better.
The symbol associated with religious cities in Spore is an eye with six triangles sticking out of it. It looks somewhat like a star and it has many meanings. It is most similar to the all seeing eye, with origins in India, which represents the awakened consciousness inherit in creator beings, the sun, and enlightened humans. The fact that it represents enlightened humans was likely the most important part about why the symbol was chosen by the producers of the game to represent religious creatures, second to the all seeing eye’s cool appearance. Due to all this, I believe that the symbol for religion in spore is really cool, and its obvious to see why they chose the symbol.