Religion is a tricky subject to handle, especially in games. No matter what you do, someone out there is waiting to jump all over you, as both Sony and Aurona Technologies have recently learned. (Actually, Sony already knew this)

The fuss is over a PS2 game called Hanuman: Boy Warrior. It’s billed as India’s first “Indian-developed console game”. And yes, Aurona is an Indian development company.

So what’s the problem? Apparently, some people of the Hindu faith think the game is disrespectful to their religion, and want Sony to pull it off the market.

It began when Rajan Zed, president of the Universal Society of Hinduism (an American-based group) issued a statement bashing the game’s content. The protest has also spread to Australia.

I did a quick search, but was unable to turn up any protests coming from inside India. On the other hand, there are indications the game is selling well there. As far as I could tell, the game is available only in India.

It’s really strange that out-of-country Hindus are protesting a product that, very likely, they haven’t even seen. So it appears that just the very thought of a video game featuring a deity is offensive to them, whatever the presentation.

No one seems to mind about movies, though. In the comments on the gamepolitics site, one person posted a link to an Indian site that had a glowing review of the animated feature “Hanuman”, about the “adorable baby Hanuman”. It even mentions T-shirts would be available.

Hanuman is the most popular of the Hindu pantheon, so it isn’t surprising that an Indian company’s first console title would feature him. And having read a description of the game, I don’t see how it could be considered “offensive” or “disrespectful”.

I will point out, however, that the few reviews I was able to turn up salmmed the game on its graphics, gameplay, and load times, among other things. But none of them thought the content was in any way insulting to Hinduism. Reviews that were on (ahem) Indian sites.

To me, this whole thing comes across as just one more instance of “game-bashing” that we are all too familiar with. No matter the content, there will always be some group, somewhere, that is “offended”.

And with religion, it’s nothing new, either. There was the flap over a small piece of Moslem music in LittleBigPlanet, the Church Of England’s nose out of joint over Manchester Cathedral being used in Resistance: Fall of Man, and the brouhaha over Left Behind, a game based on the “End of Days” belief of a Christian sect.

Let’s see: so far, that covers Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam. We still need some outrage over something in the Judaic and Buddhist lines. After all, we wouldn’t want anyone to feel overlooked. Or under-offended.

Hindu Protest Widens on gamepolitics

Hanuman description on Playstation India