Scientology Pwned (Windows)

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Scientology Pwned is a controversial arena shooter by Zi-Xiao Liang, created for a school project at Sheridan College.

Players control a hero from a top-down view on a single screen. From four churches on the screen, Scientologists appear that attack the player. Using the keyboard, the hero can be moved around and target the followers by shooting in the direction he is facing. A secondary key is used to lock the shooting direction regardless of the movement. Followers will charge, but later different enemies appear such as Special Affairs Agents that can shoot and Sea Org Members with missiles that follow the hero around. Different pick-ups appear that grant a machine gun or a grenade launcher.

Even though the opening scenes of the game state that the game does not support the use of violence against Scientology, the Hamilton Central Police Department eventually forced him to take the game down. The full story is explained in the trivia section.


Scientology Pwned Windows High scores
Scientology Pwned Windows The one in the middle is a Special Affairs Agent.
Scientology Pwned Windows A pick-up appears.
Scientology Pwned Windows The number refers to the amount of special bullets left.

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Even though the author states in the opening scenes of the game that he does not support real-life violence against Scientologists, he was forced to take the game down in May 2007. In a thread on the IGDA Forums, he explained what happened:

So way back in 2006 I made this game called Scientology Pwned ( It was designed and created in a matter of days for a school project. Last week (May 9 or 10) I got a call from Detective Chris Kiriakopoulos from the Hamilton Central Police Station's Hate Crime Unit/Intelligence Branch.

Apparently I'd been under investigation for several weeks for my game Scientology Pwned. I just got home from my visit with the good detective and here's my account:

So the Scientologists in Toronto are afraid someone is going to play my game, lose it, and go on a Scientologist killing spree. Naturally, they contact the police.

Kiriakopoulous leads me into an 'interview' room holding a file folder thats about as thick as 1.5 calculus text books. We sit down and he starts flipping through the folder. I twiddle my thumbs looking for cameras and mics. The detective confirms we're being monitored and recorded. Spiffy.

We play Q&A for a while regarding my background. Kiriakopoulous begins by asserting my game boarders a hate crime. So I spend a while convincing him:
a) my game is not motivated by hate
b) I had neither the intention nor the capacity to carry out attacks against scientologists
c) scientology is not a religion in canada.
d) the game is not solicited and therefore I'm not actively advocating anything

A reoccuring question Kiriakopoulous kept asking was "given that your game has offended people, what do you plan to do?" To which I initially responded "nothing" since I was under the impression offending people isn't a hate crime. He didn't like that answer too much.... maybe my response needs to be in the form of a question "the answer is 'what is nothing', Chris". Anyways in the end he 'suggested' I change the name of the game to something which made no reference to scientology. He didn't mind me keeping the sprites, bullets, blood etc.

So my reason for posting my recent adventure at the police station is two fold:
1) to get some comments on the events
2) generate suggestions for the new name of Scientology Pwned.



Related Web Sites

  • Scientology Pwned (As the game needed to be taken down, this is one of the few sites that still hosts it.)
Sciere (510851) added Scientology Pwned (Windows) on Aug 20, 2008