How Video Games Become Religions

For a while the YouTube algorithm (monetized be thy name) decided that I liked video game cut scenes. Mortal Kombat and Doom mainly. And I guess I did. For me the fascinating thing was watching these games I’d last encountered as a child now play out as full-fledged religions.

Game Religions

I last played these games when they first came out, when the Mortal Kombat guys were just cool-looking and the Doom Guy literally didn’t have a name. Those elements still haven’t changed, but around them entire religious eschatology has evolved.

Raiden meeting the Elder Gods in Mortal Kombat

I won’t get into it too deeply, but Mortal Kombat has layers of humans, humanoids, Elder Gods, and Titans all battling over the balance of good and evil.

The Book of the Seraphs, from within the Doom Universe

In Doom the ‘Doom Slayer’ is now the member of some intergalactic knights order, part of a universe created by a father, inhabited by other powerful demigods, and balanced of course with fists.

Both of these games have Elder Gods or Ancient Gods and then varying layers of mythology leading down to why you need to punch that guy in the head.

What’s fascinating to me is that this all sort of spontaneously evolved out of paper-thin games that were initially just there for entertainment.

Doom started with a ‘Doom Bible’ which was initially discarded. Lead programmer John Carmack said “Story in a game is like story in a porn movie. It’s expected to be there, but its not that important.”