By: Thomas DiMarco & Omar Haque
In 2001, a video game called “Halo”was released on the X-Box game console, quickly becoming one of the most popular games at the time. This created a fanbase who worked together to break the game, or find hacks and glitches in the game because of their dedicated interest in finding everything that the game had to offer. Because of everyone’s interest in the game and wanting to find more out about it, many players of the game wrote in “Halo” blogs and posted videos on Youtube to show people how to break and modify the game. As these videos continued, a more creative edge was put to them. Comedic videos and blogs began popping up on the internet which all had to do around the subject of Halo. Amateur blog posters and video makers created content solely about their opinions of the games, and they are almost treated as authorities on the subject if their own fan communities are large enough. Merchandise is also created by different companies in order to sell Halo-focused merchandise and entertainment. Much like this, in religion, there are religious idols and venues of entertainment (such as movies, TV shows, and plays) in order to capitalize on their interest and dedication to the faith. Books are written describing the ways in which to become closer to God, go to heaven, and generally how to be a better religious person.
In how the Halo fan community acts much like a religion per the definitions of the essay, is dealing with sainthood and “good acts.” The creators of Halo 3 would actually play the game with just regular people who also bought the game. So, when the creators would play, they would have a special type of armor that only the people who made the game would have access to. Other players would be able to then recognize who the creators are and if you were good enough at the game and lucky enough, the creators would bestow upon you a very rare set of armor that everyone wanted because it was a status symbol showing that that player was a superior player and recognized by a higher power because of it. In Catholicism, this is very similar to canonization of saints. Based off of a person’s commitment to God and the faith, they can be recognized by the Church for their dedication to the religion and then, after committing a series of incredible feats, respectively, would be recognized by all as superior either by be giving sainthood or the appearance the person’s character in the game had.
Another example would be the discussion of canonicity. For example, in the Halo series after the release of “Halo: Reach” the creators were bought out by 343 Industries and ever since the Halo games, according to the fans, were never as good as the previous games. Because of that many of the original fans did not bother to buy the latest games and don’t really care about what happened next in the story arch. You can see a parallel with the split between Judaism and Christianity, in which the Christians believe that Jesus is God while Jews do not, so Christians follow the Old and New Testaments while Jews follow the writings of the five books of the Torah. It creates the same divide between Protestants and Catholics as well as Sunnis and Shiites.
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