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Dead Space and the Heaven's Gate cult

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Arnold Isen: Gamers have often tried to compare the fictional Church of Unitology, featured as a villainous cult in the popular Dead Space sci-fi horror videogames, to cults that really existed. One of the most common comparisons is the Church of Scientology. However, other than their names and the fact both are represented as futuristic modern religions, there is actually no striking resemblance between the fictional Church of Unitology and the real-life Church of Scientology. Scientology may be controversial in its own ways, but it is more commonly criticized for its use of fees (“specified donations”) and its celebrity connections rather than any of the truly frightening features found in apocalyptic or suicide cults.

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supervike

Art often imitates life, and it certainly appears the Dead Space creators were doing just that.

I enjoyed this game series because of the intricate back story. It gave the game some depth and made for a very unsettling and enjoyable (in an entertainment sense) adventure.

I didn't know about the correlations between the made up Unitology sect and the Heaven's gate cult. Seeing it now, the parallels are obvious and intended. I do not, however, think that at anytime the game makers were setting up a parody, but rather using that chilling real live event as an allegory that they were creating. They took the creepiness of the cult and extrapolated that by having the cultists become life and soul consuming monsters .

Knowing this all now makes me appreciate this game series even more. Video games have gone far past just a 'kids game' they usually get dismissed as, the same way comic books have evolved to tell cutting edge stories. They are telling vivid tales and allowing the gamer to be encompassed in worlds filled with moral dilemmas and incredible insight.

This was a very cool article, and I'm glad I read it.

Edited by supervike
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Gummug

It is a cool article, imo. Iirc, Game Advisor (or one of the game magazines) listed Dead Space as one of the top 10 scariest games. That's why I won't play it! :P I don't know if it's true, but I think I read or heard about people having heart attacks playing it, or games like it (from fear and shock?).

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