Hindus Ask PAX To Drop Smite

Andy Chalk

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Nov 12, 2002
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Hindus Ask PAX To Drop Smite


The Universal Society of Hinduism is asking PAX organizers to keep Smite out of the convention.

Hi-Rez Studios' Smite [https://account.hirezstudios.com/smitegame/] is a multiplayer fighting game featuring gods from various pantheons going at each other in divine, one-on-one combat. It won't actually be out for awhile yet, but in the meantime the Hi-Rez guys are making the rounds of various gaming conventions, drumming up publicity while giving gamers a chance to try it out.

The game isn't going over very well with Hindus, however, thanks to the presence of Hindu deities Kali, Vamana and Agni as playable characters. Rajan Zed, the head of the Universal Society of Hinduism, asked Hi-Rez in June to drop it [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/118172-Hindus-Criticize-Smite-For-Trivializing-Their-Religion] from the lineup, which also went ignored. But he's keeping up the fight, and has now asked organizers to keep the game from being played or distributed at this weekend's PAX Prime.

Hi-Rez will reportedly have Smite playable on 50 stations at PAX, Zed said in a statement, and will be offering it for sale at "promotional pricing." But as one of the largest gaming events in North America, with a number of very high-profile sponsors, Zed said that PAX "should show responsibility and respect the feelings of upset Hindus."

"Goddess Kali and other Hindu deities were meant to be worshiped 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," he said. "Videogame 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."

It's understandable that Zed wouldn't really be down with the whole "gaming culture" thing, but the odds of PAX keeping a game off the floor out of sensitivity to cultural issues are very long indeed. Far more likely is that we'll end up with PAX apparel covered in images of Kali sporting four dicks instead of four arms.

PAX Prime 2012 [http://prime.paxsite.com/] runs from August 31 to September 2 in Seattle.

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Darkgoosey666

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If anyone is offended by the game, they shouldnt buy it. Simples. Trying to deprive others the experience of playing the game aint cool at all.
 

Fappy

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Every time I eat out for lunch I hope to hear Hi-Rez guys talking about this, but sadly it hasn't happened yet. *Sigh*[footnote]

I work across the street from their studio.[/footnote]
 

Sosa Star

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I think they are looking at it too narrowly. It's a great way for people who know nothing of Hindu worship to see/learn a little about their gods. From what I hear, the game isn't just using gods for the hell of it, they are making sure the characters abilities relate to who/what that god actually is.

Not my usual type of game, but, as a mythology nut, I'll try it.
 

Azuaron

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The Plunk said:
I trust the Penny Arcade guys to stand up to these enemies of free speech.
Darkgoosey666 said:
If anyone is offended by the game, they shouldnt buy it. Simples. Trying to deprive others the experience of playing the game aint cool at all.
Free speech works all ways. A private organization asking another private organization to restrict a product at a private convention is a thing we should all be fine with.

That being said, these guys obviously know nothing about the Penny Arcade guys, and this is just going to further the Streisand Effect they already started back in June (seriously, how many people would know about this game if it weren't for the USH pushing against it?) And I wouldn't put it past PA to feature Smite now out of pure spite.
 

samahain

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Is it me or maybe, just maybe, some Hinduists are losing focus here.
I understand defending your beliefs, however they ought to understand that it is NOT their deity on screen. It's a character with a cool name.

I want to see Jesus in a fighting game. Why not??? Huh?
 

Schadrach

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Azuaron said:
The Plunk said:
I trust the Penny Arcade guys to stand up to these enemies of free speech.
Darkgoosey666 said:
If anyone is offended by the game, they shouldnt buy it. Simples. Trying to deprive others the experience of playing the game aint cool at all.
Free speech works all ways. A private organization asking another private organization to restrict a product at a private convention is a thing we should all be fine with.

That being said, these guys obviously know nothing about the Penny Arcade guys, and this is just going to further the Streisand Effect they already started back in June (seriously, how many people would know about this game if it weren't for the USH pushing against it?) And I wouldn't put it past PA to feature Smite now out of pure spite.
Yes, yes it does. The only issue is when the people shouting to have things banned, removed, or otherwise barred from being available are large or powerful enough to force the issue. For example, being able to start a big enough stink over, say, a Kickstarter project to have it cancelled despite being initially approved and well past the funding mark because it offends your sensibilities.

If the Universal Society for Hinduism had enough influence that the convention center would shut PAX down if they didn't remove SMITE, then it would be a different story. I'm personally fine with you saying what you please right up to the point where you are using that ability to shut other people up. Something that's also something of a hot button for PA, which was what caused the whole dickwolves thing to spiral out of control the way it did.
 

Falterfire

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Azuaron said:
(seriously, how many people would know about this game if it weren't for the USH pushing against it?)
This. So much this. If it weren't for them pushing against it, I never would have heard of the game. At the rate this is going, I may pick it up just out of curiosity since this is like the fifth time this has come up.
 

Azuaron

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Schadrach said:
Azuaron said:
The Plunk said:
I trust the Penny Arcade guys to stand up to these enemies of free speech.
Darkgoosey666 said:
If anyone is offended by the game, they shouldnt buy it. Simples. Trying to deprive others the experience of playing the game aint cool at all.
Free speech works all ways. A private organization asking another private organization to restrict a product at a private convention is a thing we should all be fine with.

That being said, these guys obviously know nothing about the Penny Arcade guys, and this is just going to further the Streisand Effect they already started back in June (seriously, how many people would know about this game if it weren't for the USH pushing against it?) And I wouldn't put it past PA to feature Smite now out of pure spite.
Yes, yes it does. The only issue is when the people shouting to have things banned, removed, or otherwise barred from being available are large or powerful enough to force the issue. For example, being able to start a big enough stink over, say, a Kickstarter project to have it cancelled despite being initially approved and well past the funding mark because it offends your sensibilities.

If the Universal Society for Hinduism had enough influence that the convention center would shut PAX down if they didn't remove SMITE, then it would be a different story. I'm personally fine with you saying what you please right up to the point where you are using that ability to shut other people up. Something that's also something of a hot button for PA, which was what caused the whole dickwolves thing to spiral out of control the way it did.
If you're talking about the tentacle rape game, I don't remember that being an "organization" opposing it so much as lots and lots of individuals, which is also a thing we should be perfectly fine with (businesses--and Kickstarter is a business--should listen to their customers regarding what products and services should be approved/yanked; quite frankly, given what I know about the Kickstarter review process, I'm surprised it was approved initially).

But I do agree that once you get to threatening/buying out people/companies you've gone too far. Asking is one thing, corporate war quite another.
 

Schadrach

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Sleekit said:
The Plunk said:
I trust the Penny Arcade guys to stand up to these enemies of free speech.
still no characters from the Abrahamic religions i see.

why is that exactly ?..

oh yes...they are shitebags.

still /golfcalp in the name of "freedom of speech" eh ?..

especially when its quite clear they won't actually dare offend anyone who might actually be able to mess with them in return.

cowards.
Jesus could make an awesome Melee/Support if done right (set him up like a melee version of Hel, call the stance changes "Prince of Peace" and "I Bring Not Peace, But a Sword". Yahweh is OP, being invisible and all though. Since none of the Jewish or Muslim prophets are accused of being divine, it's kind of hard to use one of them as a "god" unless you think Mohammed and Moses could beat of Odin and Ra...
 

Loop Stricken

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Andy Chalk said:
Far more likely is that we'll end up with PAX apparel covered in images of Kali sporting four dicks instead of four arms.
As long as she keeps that well-toned stomach, I'm okay with that.
 

ResonanceGames

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It's OK that they're offended. They should rest easy knowing that at least they have the decency to just complain about it instead of making threats and rioting.
 

newwiseman

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Am I the only one that wants one of those Kali dick arm shirts?

I care as much about this offending Hindus as I do about depictions of Muhammad offending Muslims, or South Park offending anyone or anything. If your offended don't buy it, whining will get you nothing but more publicity for the other guy.
 

nerdwerds

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If they won't remove the Hindu gods, then perhaps they should include Jesus Christ and Mohammad as playable characters?
 

weirdee

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I thought they were already talking with the devs to change the characters...this seems like they don't intend to negotiate further. Way to burn your bridges, guys.