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In support of Gameology

Gameology is an intelligent and respected blog devoted to news and commentary for the game studies community. Zach Whalen, one of the key contributers to the blog, is a Brainy Gamer subscriber and was kind enough recently to include my site on the Gameology blog roll. I have assigned Gameology essays to my students in the past and have always appreciated the positive ways they have provoked my students to think about video games.

Zach's most recent Gameology post includes details of a threatening letter he received from an attorney representing Left Behind Games, Inc., developer and publisher of the Left Behind series of video games based on the best-selling books. Gameology, along with many game review sites, panned the game and its "convert or die" gameplay premise.

The letter threatens Zach with legal action unless he removes "false and misleading" comments from his website. From the letter:

Left Behind Games Inc. is demanding that you immediately remove any and all information contained on your site about the above stated game that is false and/or misleading, including any such statements or commentary and the responses thereto. This includes posted comments made by others in the context of reading the incorrect or misleading statements.

If you do not comply immediately, the company will be forced to pursue additional legal action which will include claims for damages, costs of suit and attorney’s fees. This may subject you and your organization to significant legal and financial damages.

It appears Zach isn't the only blogger who panned the game to receive such a letter. You can read more about others contacted with more details on the story here and here.

I have read all of Zach's Gameology posts on the Left Behind game and can find nothing but solid critical writing. Zach's opinions of the game and the ideology that spawned it are clearly articulated. He objects to some of the fundamentalist tenets espoused by the game, and he explains why they concern him. In other words, he functions as a critic.

Left Behind Games' lack of specificity regarding "false and/or misleading" statements suggests less about anything Zach has done wrong and rather more about a company bullying small-time bloggers with few resources to wage legal battles. Perhaps not coincidentally, it comes from a company that "has yet to realize a profit and [whose] stock price has collapsed from a high of $7.44 a share last November to as little as 14 cents in recent trading." (Daily Kos)

The Brainy Gamer strongly supports Zach Whalen and the entire Gameology crew. I encourage others to do the same and respond to Left Behind Games Inc. in whatever way you deem appropriate.