“Caught In The Web” was created by Reverend Tim Gibson in 2002, as a Christian learning adventure game (1). This is a very interesting game in which a player must navigate Cyber Hell, avoiding demons and The Dark Lord, while trying to collect the letters to a password that will lead out of “The Dark Pages” and back into reality. The player arbitrarily chooses to visit sites linked from The Dark Pages and is presented with situations and several outcomes or options that are selected through the rolling of six different dice, from 4 to 20 sided. At most turns the player is attacked by demons and any effort to gather information is thwarted, but in a few locations clues to the password can be found through puzzles and other riddles. The game is rather frustrating and can be very repetitive and even dizzying as the player is tossed from site to site by demons, prison guards and torturers. The player has very little control over the outcome, due to the fact that the courses of action are selected by dice throws, and truly becomes “caught in the web”.
This game is clearly religious and not only because the main enemies are The Dark Lord and his army of demons. There are “sites” within The Dark Pages that espouse the ideas of greed and lust such as the “Get Rich Quick” and “Come into My Arms, Baby” pages, respectively. The fact that these things exist within The Dark Pages, clearly denounces them as un-Christian and many pages provided links to outside articles such as “Overcoming Lust”. Also, one link in The Dark Pages leads to more Bible readings that spread the ideals of Christianity and reinforce its teachings.
I noticed a few really interesting aspects of this game, the first being the Sword of the Spirit which, true to the ideals of Christian games (2), is not seen as violent because it fights enemies by producing bible verses that can ward off enemies; however, an interesting thing happens when a player encounters an enemy and is directed, by a die roll, to show no mercy and kill the demon. I would have thought that killing the demon would not have been the best option for a Christian gamer, as mercy and forgiveness are influential concepts for Christianity, and killing is frowned upon (3, 4). I was surprised however, when a congratulatory message appeared on the screen after the smiting of the demon. The game clearly commended the killing of “evil” and sent the message that demons should always be 100% eradicated when they are encountered. It seemed like a pretty violent idea for a Christian game, which had already seemingly made such a point of creating a weapon that would not be seen as violent, as it fires Bible quotes at enemies. A second really interesting thing I found was that in the Torture Chamber, the player is offered a choice of 6 torture options, including facing a bear, wrestling a lion and “listening to a boring sermon”. Though it seems to be demeaning the long sermon, this torture option leads to a puzzle, which provides a clue to the final password, indicating that the sermon is only boring to The Dark Lord and his minions, but has real value to the good Christian playing the game. Third, there is a page that one can be directed to that simply says “The Dark Lord”. There is no way out, no way to go backward or forward and the player must restart the game in order to continue playing at all. This very clearly illustrates the idea that The Dark Lord leads to nothing and the only way to continue playing the game (of life) is to avoid The Dark Lord and his evil and follow the path of Christ back to The Light Pages and to reality.
1. Gibson, Tim. “Caught In The Web” About page.