The other week I found myself in Hell, contemplating a giant potbellied frog that shot Day-Glo green lightning bolts into the heights of a blood-red hall.
This is the infernal landscape you meet when you log onto the Christian computer game The War in Heaven and join the forces of darkness. Should you have the smarts to ignore the frog and consult a volume flanked by funereal candles a few yards away, you may be able to pass through a dissolving wall, skulk through a pit-ridden labyrinth, and battle with chunky angels whose aim is to boot you back to the game’s menu page so you can start all over again.
Despite occasional enigmatic landmarks like a faceless chartreuse lashing tentacle, or a cluster of empty teepees, the dark realms of The War in Heaven-at least the ones I had the patience to penetrate-are maddeningly monotonous. The game’s Christian creators, Theodore Beale and Andrew Lunstad, have set their minds on higher things than virtual-reality window dressing. Their aim, in launching War under the aegis of their software design firm, Eternal Warriors, has been to satisfy computer-game mavens while at the same time providing a little spiritual enlightenment.
This mission is set out clearly on one of the CD-ROM’s introductory screens, which announces, "It is our purpose to provide Bible-based entertainment to Christians while at the same time introducing nonbelievers to the eternal truths of...