Blood, guts, and disturbing images fine. Story based off The Bible? Woah, hold yer' horses.
It was no great secret that aside from planning on releasing a DLC for The Binding of Isaac that Edward McMillen was also in talks with Nintendo about possibly bringing the game to the 3DS. Well, last week Nintendo finally gave a solid answer to his enquiries: thanks but no thanks.
It's worth noting that there's been no official statement from Nintendo giving any reason behind them deciding to not allow BoI into their 3DS Shop, only McMillen's own speculations. This article from GamePolitics has the McMillen mulling over the idea that the game was rejected due to the religious content, but also perhaps not on the grounds that people would think it would be. McMillen states:
“All I know is they passed on it due to problems the religious aspects of the game might cause. I don't have details on what aspect of ‘religion’ they are most bothered by, but I did hear that they didn't care about any blasphemy in games, but cared more about religion period and how something based on the bible might effect things... honestly it was a pretty muddy response, but I did hear that religious games are far more bothersome than blasphemous ones, and the game being based on a story in the bible and being ‘by the book’ in a lot of ways could have actually been an issue.”
Yeah ... apparently being able to do things like turn into demon, make deals with the Satan, fight and presumably kill Satan, and a bunch of other stuff was just fine; it was the fact that The Binding of Isaac actually somewhat closely follows the actual story from which it takes its name that Nintendo was concerned about.
Truth be told, I can't actually blame Nintendo for this decision, mostly because I think they were too terribly scarred by Bible Adventures to consider getting close to a game with religious content again...
Joking aside though, I actually do find the reasoning behind this decision a little troubling. I'm not as angry over it as say, Jim Sterling seems to be, given his reaction in a rant at GameFront has him blasting Nintendo over their decision not to carry the title. Given the nature of a lot of games these days though, even ones on Nintendo systems, is aping the Bible really such a big deal? Certainly BoI aims to be grotesque (as grotesque as one can be given the limitations of the style), and controversial in that it features a parent all to willing to listen to a voice claiming to be God ordering them to sacrifice their flesh and blood to prove their loyalty, but there's been far, far worse. Hell, I think that No More Heroes, a game which first came out on the Wii, has a more fucked up story in all regards, but it gets a pass because at least it isn't based off religion?
I could maybe have understood this decision if we were actually living in a time when the church basically was the state, but we haven't been in that kind of situation for a really good long time. So shying away from this in particular because it might offend just seems a little daft, considering that if we really wanted to we could find plenty more out there to be offended about. Hell, maybe some of it might even be legitimately offensive for a change.