ISSN 2330-717X

Hindus Ask Popular Gamescom Tradefair To Disallow Videogame Trivializing Goddess Kali

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Hindus have urged internationally renowned videogames tradefair Gamescom 2012, being held at Cologne in Germany from August 15 to 19, not to allow play of SMITE videogame, which they say trivializes highly revered deities of Hinduism.

Gamescom claims to be the “world’s largest trade fair and event highlight for interactive games and entertainment”. Alpharetta (Georgia, USA) headquartered developer Hi-Rez Studios has reportedly announced that SMITE will be playable on the show floor at Gamescom.

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that such a prominent international gaming event; where participants included prestigious companies like SEGA, Sony, Capcom, Samsung, Warner Bros, THQ, etc.; with South Korea was a partner country; should show responsibility and respect the feelings of upset Hindus.

The goddess Kali, goddess of Time, Change
The goddess Kali, goddess of Time, Change

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 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.

Rajan Zed argued 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.

Over 600 companies from 40 countries are exhibiting on 140,000 square meters in Gamescom; which is expecting over 330 innovations and many world premieres; and claims to cover all genres of interactive games, from PC and console games, to online and browser games, all the way to social and mobile gaming. It had about 275,000 visitors last year. North Rhine-Westphalia premier Hannelore Kraft will open it. Gerald Böse is the Chief Executive Officer of Koelnmesse GmbH, which is staging Gamescom and organizes about 80 trade fairs in Germany and all over the world; and Tim Endres is Project Manager.

Website of online video game developer Hi-Rez Studios describes videogame 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.

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