Nintendo rejects Binding of Isaac 3DS eShop for ’questionable religious content’

Edmund McMillen says a quick prayer for Steam.

Nintendo’s eShop policies strike again! Edmund McMillien’s “Zelda meets Rogue“, The Binding of Isaac, has been rejected from an eShop release for “questionable religious content”. McMillen revealed on Twitter today that Nintendo were fine with the M rated game’s “gore, suggested child nudity and suggestive themes” and only disallowed it on the grounds of its portrayal of religion. For those who haven’t played it, The Binding of Isaac’s plot revolves around a delusional mother who believes that god wants her to punish and later murder her infantile son Isaac. You then follow Isaac’s attempts to escape his mother. The game’s bosses are mostly named after the Deadly Sins and you can make pacts with Satan to gain power in return for your life. The game features many many textual allusions to the Bible, such as one of the character’s special powers being “Whore of Babylon”.

The game is, for those who haven’t seen it, exceedingly dark and gross, albeit with a thoroughly irreverent tone. You yourself play as an essentially naked baby, who through the game will dress in drag and stick a coat hanger through his head as a power up. The enemies are often headless or just heads, who explode in persistent blood that litters the maps. The game also has strong scat themes, with one boss fight playing out much like the classic Centipede, except that the centipede lays down barriers to stop you chasing it. These barriers are faecal. Throughout the game faecal matter often includes currency or health.

McMillen profusely thanked Steam for its lack of censorship and not requiring the games it publishes to have obtained an ESRB rating. “Thank god for Steam” he said, “This is one of the reasons why they remain the Top Dog”. As an owner of Australian Left 4 Dead 2, I wish his assertion that Steam does not censor the games it publishes was perhaps more true…

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Ewan Miller

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