Hindus have urged one of the largest gaming event in North America “PAX Prime”, being held at Seattle (USA) from August 31 to September two, not to allow play and distribution of SMITE videogame, which they say trivializes highly revered deities of Hinduism.
It was reportedly announced that SMITE will be playable on 50 stations at the PAX booth of its Alpharetta (Georgia, USA) headquartered developer Hi-Rez Studios and SMITE packages could be picked up at its store at promotional pricing.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that such a prominent gaming event; whose sponsors included prestigious companies like multinational semiconductor chip maker Intel, 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 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.
PAX (Penny Arcade Expo) Prime Seattle, which includes festival long tournament Omegathon, has been described as celebration of gamer culture.
Website of online video game developer Hi-Rez Studios described 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.