Articles video_games

Published on June 26th, 2013 | by Arron Cook

Video and Computer Games: A Growing Cultural Force


I am young enough to have been born around the time that video game consoles for the home began to become popular. We had a Sega Megadrive at home, and I played Sonic the Hedgehog with my Dad — those were fun times.

Over the last 20 years, the kind of content and quality of video games has changed dramatically. Modern game releases are filled with complex story lines, engaging characters and — like all artistic human expressions — meanings and meta-narratives.

Fableiii

In 2012, a game was released called Fable 3, a quintessentially English game that falls into the Action/Adventure Role-Playing Game category. The basic premise of the series of games is a typical hero story: a young character (the gamer can choose male or female) experiences some sort of loss in their early life, and must then discover the power within themselves to overcome impossible odds and save the world. Not to put it too dramatically.

The game itself was a landmark in modern video gaming for a number of reasons. The first is that it is a combination of genres and a compilation of experiences. The game has everything from the nitty-gritty of gruelling battle and warfare, to the owning and running of a home, a marriage, a family and friends. The game creates an interactive alternate reality based around moral decision making and the growth of the character that the player controls. The character changes in many ways based on the decisions made, aligning himself or herself as “good” or “bad”.

The moral decision aspect of this game is quite interesting. The game can progress in literally hundreds of different ways with numerous endings and consequences, based solely upon the player’s choices. The tag line of the Fable Series (of which I enjoyed both the first and second installments also) has always been, “For every decision, a consequence”. It is this aspect of the game that I find most stimulating as someone who generally tries to objectively understand and interpret the culture around me.

The game contains a dualistic approach to morality, where actions can be defined as “good” or “evil” based upon the consequences they create. This system of moral decision making has always been a hallmark of the series, and makes for engaging playing. But whereas previous Fable games have been almost overly-simplistic in the approach to morality that they have contained, the most recent installment is far more complex it’s outlook and thought. I watched this interview with Peter Molyneux, the chief bod and brain behind the Fable series and found his reflections quite interesting.

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As you listen to him describing his vision for the game, it’s clear that he brings to the table a postmodern view of life, where morality is relative and certainly subject to our impulses and desires, rather than imposed upon us from Above. The result is that the kind of decisions the player is faced with in Fable 3 are tougher, far less dualistic questions of moral choice. Early on in the game, the player is forced to decide between the death of a love interest and close friend, or the leaders of a demonstration against a tyrannical ruler (the chief antagonist for most of the game). Neither party appears to deserve death in the context of the choice — all that the player has left to fall back upon is preference. The concept is intriguing, isn’t it? That in this virtual and alternate reality, people are being faced with moral decisions and moral consequences.

And notice that I say people — not children. Originally, video and computer games took their place in society as a pass-time for children that kept them out of trouble. But the reality now is that they have become in my opinion, adult in their themes and content, as well as a significant cultural influence, akin to other forms of media such as newspapers, magazines and television. I think Fable 3 is a persuasive piece of proof that evidences this, in that it’s voice acting for the story line and characters includes an absolutely all-star cast of famous British actors, authors and television personalities, including Jonathan Ross (Presenter), Stephen Fry (Actor, Author and Host), Zoe Wanamaker (Actress), John Cleese (Actor), Simon Pegg (Actor) and others. To have names this big involved in a project of this size (there are over 47 hours of recorded vocals in Fable 3) surely reveals that this product is not intended for just children. If you needed further persuasion, the mature content that the game contains seals the deal.

ESRB_Mature_17+

Christians need to exercise discernment about these issues. We are very foolish if we blanketly pretend that there is no danger and nothing wrong in some aspects of the gaming industry. Some of the content of the games that children are bought by their parents is simply despicable — content that no Christian of any age could righteously view and enjoy. There are plenty of video games that glorify sinful actions, desires and choices by making them appear to be more enjoyable than choices of a good and wholesome nature. Children need to be protected from the ungodly values portrayed as desirable in many video games today — parental oversight is absolutely essential to the safe use of these products.

But we go astray also when we swing to the opposite extreme and brand video and computer games as the height of all evil and expressions of the Devil himself. There are plenty of games that can be enjoyed to the glory of God, as we sanctify them by the Word and Prayer — that is, we use them in accordance with the principles of God’s Word and give thanks to God for them with sincerity (1 Tim. 4:5).

So how then are we to think about these things in a redeemed way?

Unarguably, it’s certainly possible to sin using video games. They can consume too much of time, drain to much of our resources, and generally become an overall waste of life. It is in this way that most young men in our society play them.

Another sin that often uses video games as a means of expression is pride. Plenty of games out there today emphasis the personal greatness and glory of the player, and competition of all varieties can be an opportunity for pride — the same applies to sport and board games! Christians are not to be boastful or arrogant in any thing they do — and yet plenty of people play video games in an attitude of selfish, vain-glorying, where all that matters is personal greatness.

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Sometimes people plough their energies into video games because it gives them a sense of significance that they cannot find anywhere else. For the Christian, we find our identity in Christ and Him Crucified, and nowhere else. If we will not let Jesus be Lord of how we use our Xbox consoles and PC’s, what hope have we of making any difference to this our generation? When people who seek their identity in video games turn to them for significance, it’s often the reaction of their pride to the reality of their personal failure. Because they don’t feel like they can be somebody in the real world, they have to try and be somebody in a pretend world — a world where being significant is much easier than in this one.

One way it’s helped me to think about it is this: when I’m gaming, am I being asked to, or doing anything with the character I’m playing that I wouldn’t do in real life? If I were actually in the situation, what would I do? If I can’t do that, then maybe this game isn’t the kind of game I should play, lest I indulge in themes, ideas or actions that are not pure and lovely. Obviously you can take this too far — but I’ve found it to be a useful litmus test for my heart.

I don’t think the Church can ignore video games for too much longer. We need to start thinking about and asking ourselves if and how we can use video games to God’s glory — and maybe even for the extension of the Kingdom. We need Christians in this field, producing content, influencing the direction of the industry and standing for what it right, and pure and true and lovely.

And if we want to understand the rising generation of young people, the video games that they play have a tremendous influence upon how they think and feel about life, personal identity, right and wrong, and what really matters. If we want to understand these people, we can’t remain ignorant of what the biggest and best games out there are really all about.

May God help us to do all things to His Glory, and to understand those around us that we might be clearer channels of His Gospel and Grace.


Do you play video games? Do you agree with Arron’s take? How should Christians engage with video games and the gaming industry? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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About the Author

is 23, married to Georgina and has a one-year-old son called Luke! He was converted in 2006 and is from the North of England, UK. Arron likes reading and writing, basketball, blogging and playing hide and seek with Luke. Arron is an occasional preacher in his local area and works in business development.



  • Libby

    hmm.. I needed this post. Thanks! I am getting a computer game from a friend and now I might ask him not to bring it. Thank you.

    • Arron Cook

      Not sure that was my point, but if you’re making a choice for God’s glory, I’m happy with that.
      :D

  • fffinch

    Video games are something I have changed my attitude towards in the last few years. My parents had little knowledge of them and so even though my father is a pastor, it has largely been of my own policing what I have played. More and more though I have become more careful in what I allow myself to play. Genuinely if I am unsure that a games content and themes glorify god, I will not go near the game. Loving a game really can cause it to consume your thoughts, and I must not allow something that pulls me away from God to consume my mind and spirit.

    • Arron Cook

      If anything obscures your sense of God, it’s best avoided. Thanks for commenting.

  • Brandon Buchanan

    Thought-provoking. I’ve never thought of specifically “getting” Christians into the gaming industry, but it makes sense. Video games have so much impact on people (especially teens and kids, who are still forming their personal philosophy) and the way they live their lives. Creating a Christian games, could really impact people. Thanks for sharing!

    • Arron Cook

      You’re welcome.

  • marinegirl91

    I agree, Arron! Video games, like any other media (books, music, TV, movies, etc.), are an area where Christians are needed in the field and behind the scenes- writing, producing, brainstorming, and influencing. Thought-provoking article- thank you!

    • Arron Cook

      You’re welcome.

  • Sadie Clements

    Aaron, a thought-provoking article; I just had a conversation about this with a cousin of mine. I haven’t really gotten into video games myself, but I see where this comes from, and I agree. Wouldn’t it be an amazing thing to have Christians get involved in the video game industry? What kind of an impact could we have?”If we will not let Jesus be Lord of how we use our Xbox consoles and PC’s, what hope have we of making any difference to this our generation?” I loved this line; it really caught my attention. If we were to make Jesus Lord of every aspect of our lives, how much more could we shine as lights in the darkness?

    • Arron Cook

      Leonard Ravenhill used to say, “Talk about tearing down strongholds -can’t even turn off the TV!”

  • Colton Wilson

    This is an excellent opportunity to think through the issues raised in the recent article about technology and moral neutrality. When examining our role in a certain technology or art form, my position is that Christians need to consider two things. First, what are the moral underpinnings of this particular art form? We should not fall into the trap of believing in subjective beauty or that all art is created equal. For example, while filmmaking may well be an appropriate area for Christians to take dominion and redeem what has been overwhelmingly used for evil, the horror genre should be taken as being beyond redemption (as Doug Phillips has excellently pointed out, the very basis of horror is the evoking of ungodly fear in the audience). So before saying, “video games are a popular art form; therefore, Christians should get engaged” we need to carefully consider whether this is appropriate at all (because video games are not morally neutral). Second, we need to ask whether video games would even be an effective means of communicating the gospel (all who have not read Neil Postman’s book, Amusing Ourselves to Death, must do so immediately). Would trying to convey gospel truths or Christian ethics in a format that is fundamentally about entertainment require them to be so simplified and inoffensive that they would lose their integrity? I certainly agree with the author that these are questions to which Christians need to give serious thought.

    • Arron Cook

      That was a great reply, thank you. Better than the article!

    • The huskarl

      It seems to me that video games are better than film because you have to engage your mind in a well designed game, whereas it’s really easy to shut down your mind to watch a movie.

      • Pip Wherrett

        But along with that comes the problem that if that game is not godly, it affects you more than a film would

  • Nathan

    I really agree with you that the church needs to try and do something useful with video games. Video games can be used to put positive thoughts and ideas into people’s minds, instead of all the junk that are in a lot of today’s video games.

    For example, people are using hip hop/rap for the glory of God. Even though that was seen as a bad thing in the church, people used what was seen as bad as something good. Trip Lee said in an interview that christian hip hop artists are reaching people that grew up in the hip hop culture. Christian hip hop appeals to a whole new audience of people that other christian music couldn’t reach. Maybe something with video games could turn out the same way?

    • Arron Cook

      It would be great to see.

    • Marissa Haley

      Hey, this is a note from someone who has never played video games, but I felt I had to point out something very important. You said that we young Christians can take something bad, (as in hip hop/rap) and turn it into something good. Let me remind you that we cannot take everything that is evil and make it good. I think that there are some things in this world that we Christians should not touch, because we might become like those we reach. Keep in mind that everything we do reflects Christ, and would we really want to stand before Him one day and say that we reached others using Satan’s tools? ‘And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will f God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.’ -Romans 12:2

      • Arron Cook

        You’re absolutely right. There are definitely aspects of culture that we can’t participate in as Christians, and we need great discernment with respect to art forms.

        And we also need to be humble enough to let God be God, and not go beyond the scripture and label things as ‘wrong’, ‘sin’ or ‘evil’, just because they’re different to our background or culture – I’m massively guilty of making these snap judgments sadly. :( Maybe I don’t like it, maybe my conscience is infringed by it, maybe I don’t understand it enough – but I’m nobody’s moral arbiter, and will only give full account for one life: my own.

        Your engagement means a lot to me, thanks so much for your contribution.

    • Grant Bingham

      the fact that there is “christian” rap/hip hop is the result of disobedience to God almighty. It takes me back to when I asked my pastor about a subject close to this, here is what he said,” Grant what starts of the spirit is spirit, but what starts of the flesh is flesh.” of course this does not apply to being saved for we all are born in sin. rap and hip hop started as flesh(sin) and that cannot be changed. the big problem with so many christian leaders and teachers today is that they, “water down,” the gospel so that they can,”get people saved.” But the true reality is that I can’t save anyone neither can you, nobody but God can save someone, nobody but God can change someone. Actually i can tell you all the reasons ,”christian” rap/hip hop/rock is wrong,but the only thing that will change your mind is the divine intervention of God. Just don’t forget he loves you, and chastens you, and is chastening you right now by reading this comment.

      • Joseph Braun

        I’m not really sure about that. What is inherently evil with just music? That evil would originate in from the heart of whomever wrote the song so if someone is in Christ, then good should come from it. I feel that it may be legalistic to automatically assume otherwise. I’m not sure what your reasons are that you mentioned you had but if the statement “what starts of the flesh is flesh” is true, many other things might be wrong such as if someone invented something very beneficial for selfish reasons. I think that is for each individual case. I believe these things can be redeemed, just as much can be corrupted. I think that it is a cultural thing, and if separated from the sinfulness of the culture of other rap/hip hop/rock is not evil. Much of the music addresses those issues which people deal with, even though we might not like them. The lyrics are very meaningful and often more accessibly deep than other Christian music. While I do not know the hearts of the artists and the majority of their ministry, I believe God can and is working through them well (not that he can’t do it through anyone) to reach people who we would otherwise overlook, dismiss, and not care for.

        • Grant Bingham

          now Joseph that was a very thoughtful reply and i thank you for it. i have no intentions of arguing with you, Joseph, but merely to present you with the correct direction. i would just like to ask some questions for you to think about.

          Question: “where did rap/hip hop/rock (please note I’m not talking christian rap/hip hop/rock, but secular) originate?
          Answer: it came as a result of man’s sinful desires (sorry if this makes anyone angry but it’s true).
          Question: “so if that’s how rap/hip hop/rock originated how did we get it ‘Christianized’?”
          Answer: certain Christians (note: they still are saved they just have good intentions but bad methods) that have apparently already listened to this music (the only logical explanation for the tunes) liked it and decided to take it and change it up to make it o.k. for Christians(it’s sad that we don’t go to God on any of this isn’t it).

          Now please remember if you are born-again we are on the same team and i don’t mean to beat you up on this, just to inform you of the reasons for its wrongness.

          However in the end all that is important is that you are born-again, but out of our love for God we need to continually,”press for the mark,” and,”study to show thyself approved unto God,” please let me know if this was helpful.

          • Pip Wherrett

            I agree with Joseph Braun. Rap/hip hop may have originated from sinful desires’, but this does not mean christian rap is sinfull. That’s like saying, since a iPod was invented so that people could satisfy their desire for evil music, it is wrong for me to own one. Since other religons sing songs to their gods, it is wrong to sing to ours. Since we are born sinful, we cannot change. See what I’m getting at? God made us to fellowship and worship him. He didn’t say, YOU MUST ONLY SING PSALMS IN A DRONING MONOTONE, he said to make a joyful noise and to give glory to God in all we do. My little sister sings nonsense verse punctuated with “jesus” and “loves you” and so on. I see that as praise! Rap is the same! Just like we are born sinful, but come to belive and give praise to our father in heaven, so something like rap that might not have been “christian” can be used to give glory to God.
            Another example. If you were someone who absolutely loved rap/hip hop, and listened to nothing but hip hop, if their is no christian hip hop, then how are you going to hear godly music? I am absalutely sure that there are christians who would never have come to christ if it were not for rap.
            I believie that music is one of the greatest tools that mankind posseses. If we brush of rap because of “its bad origins” then we deny a percentage of people the knowledge of christ, let alone not letting those people who love rap have godly music to listen to
            Well that’s how I see it anyway!

            P.S
            I don’t even like rap

          • Grant Bingham

            If we brush of rap because of “its bad origins” then we deny a
            percentage of people the knowledge of christ, let alone not letting
            those people who love rap have godly music to listen to

            sorry man but I’m not letting this go so easy, i feel that you need to know the truth, the living word of GOD.

            I was very very surprised at the opposition I’ve gotten for taking a stand for what’s right(most of the opposition is from my fellow Christians by the way).

            “Rap/hip hop may have originated from sinful desires’, but this does not mean christian rap is sinful. That’s like saying, since a iPod was invented so that people could satisfy their desire for evil music, it is wrong for me to own one.”–did you even listen to my post? i clearly stated “what starts of the FLESH is FLESH”

            you also said,”Since other religions sing songs to their gods, it is wrong to sing to ours” this is not what i believe PERIOD. I do believe that we shouldn’t sing songs other religions sing, but we can sing our songs which need to be centered on the father and the son and the holy spirit, Not us. plus most hymns are actually taken form the infallible words of God-The Holy Bible.

            “Another example. If you were someone who absolutely loved rap/hip hop,
            and listened to nothing but hip hop, if their is no christian hip hop,
            then how are you going to hear godly music? I am absalutely sure that
            there are christians who would never have come to christ if it were not
            for rap.”—you will hear good and Godly music by Jesus Christ saving you of your sins and planting you in a good church that sings christian music. notice how you tried to use man’s methods to get that kind of person saved, but that would be artificial. for someone to truly be saved it happens as god’s ideas not man’s and they MUST put away their old sinful desires and turn totally around towards God and his ways(note: there are bumps in the road still but they are actively pressing for the mark even if they don’t like some of the things God has them give up).

            Mat 5:13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. see this verse? it is the words of Jesus. rap/hip hop/rock even if it’s “Christian” has the same tunes as worldly rap/hip hop/rock. salt is different than anything else, we are directly called by Jesus to be different from the world, and anyone who is like the world is in direct disobedience to God!

            “let alone not letting those people who love rap have godly music to listen to”–ohh so are we supposed to give everybody what they want now(eye roll). Christianity’s goal isn’t to give people what they want, but to tell them the truth. it might not always be an easy road (trust me it isn’t always easy I’ve been getting battered down just for listening to God about music)but it’s the only one that leads to heaven.

            by the way i also don’t believe that music is inherently evil. but I do believe that when mankind changes the words or the tunes of good worship it becomes very bad, and needs to be avoided instead of sought out.

            remember if there’s nothing wrong with christian rap/hip hop/rock then try giving it up for 30 days. that’s my challenge if you can’t do it then there’s a problem that you aren’t admitting.
            sincerely- Grant Bingham

          • Pip Wherrett

            I don’t have time to go into anything in depth at the moment, but I would like to make a few things clear.
            By giving the examples I did, (iPod etc) I was not saying that that is what you think, I was simply giving some, maybe more extreme, examples of what that kind of mentality can involve.
            “Christianity’s goal isn’t to give people what they want, but to tell them the truth.”
            Exactly. That’s what I belive as well. However, God commanded us to spread the good news of him, and become “fishers of men”. Tell me something; when you go fishing, do you use something the fish like as bait, or do you show them the truth, the bare hook? If you don’t use some sort of bait, you won’t have much luck! God told us to reach out to the world, and sometimes, music is the best way to do that. Do you belive in God because you have to? or because you want to? for many people, they are draw into fellowship with Christ through something they enjoy – this then leads to them gaining a greater, deeper relationship with God, and ultimatley, dedicating their life to God
            I really have to go, but hope to discuss this further. I hope you understand my point of view!
            God Bless
            Pip
            P.S
            I can dead easy give up rap for 30 days a). because I don’t like it b). because I don’t listen to it anyway, and c) NOT because the lyrics are bad, because they’re not (!!)

          • http://www.wordoftruthmedianetwork.com/ Grant Bingham

            hey Pip, thanks for the reply. I do understand your point of view as seeing I am from America(it’s very popular here). and I would also like to continue in conversation.

            I believe we have already been given the “master of all baits” because it’s universal, you can reach people in Africa or America or Asia or Australia or Europe or even Antarctica. You know what it’s called? well I like to call it the Infallible Living Word Of God. there’s my answer it’s been proven by time(just ask the Gideons) plus it’s the only God inspired way to reach people. If you really think people can be reached by “Christian” rap/hip hop/rock it’s because that’s what you really really want to believe, and i can’t change what you believe(it would probably take an act of God). so this way to get someone saved, plan you said towards the end of your message. I have asked several elders in my church about this way of salvation and they all say it would never work. i want you to see this video(note: it’s like 45 mins long so make sure to have time) but please do watch it it’s wonderful here’s the link

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cncEhCvrVgQ
            it’ll shock ya :) ttyl- Grant

          • Pip Wherrett

            First of all, I have an apology to make!

            since my last post I have spoken with my pastor, and realised that my main point that I made in my last post (namedly evangilizim through rap), would, as you say, not work! True it might work for some people, but overall it would not be effective or work properly, so I thank you for drawing my attention to that!

            However, my point of view that rap is not inherently evil remains unchanged, and my pastor agrees with me on this.
            Surely, if you are singing or listening to rap with the desire and intention to bring glory and praise to God, then this is another form of worship! Really, it is the desire of your heart that is important, for “man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7). Look at King David in 2 Samuel 6:14! He danced with “abandonment,’ wearing a ‘linen ephod’ (Old Testament underclothes) which was, lets just say not exactly kingly, and uncovering yourself in that manner wasn’t and isn’t seen as godly – but he was doing it overcome with joy and praise for the Lord, and even was despised and rebuked by his wife (and if you look at 1 Samuel 18:20, you see this is his wife who “loved him”), to which he replies that he will become “even more undignified than this.” God obviously was pleased/happywith thisas heidn’t strike him down as he did to the guy who came to close to the ark, and he continued to bless David!

            You can be singing just about any genre of music as long as your hearts desire is to please and brig glory to the Lord

            That brings me to another point. Asuming your hypothesis is correct, does this mean that pop, rock’n'roll, rock, heavy metal, contemporary, alternative, country, southern, western and so on are all also inherently wrong? (see my spreadsheet on origins of different genres here – https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AtXRXH34YRK3dElMaEYzb0tMeTBVRkRrcGxENTkxdmc&usp=sharing ) So if you are right, what can we listen too? Southern gospel? even that originated from country, which originated from folk, which wasn’t originally christian!

            I hate time, (I’m out of it already)!
            Thankyou having the patience to continue disscussing this!
            God Bless,
            Pip

          • http://www.wordoftruthmedianetwork.com/ Grant Bingham

            wow… pip thanks so much for looking, caring to go deeper into this and asking your pastor and then when you realized you were wrong on the subject of evangelism admitting it, cause that’s hard, actually it’s really hard. but you did it anyway now that’s a rebelutionairy.

            and to explain the whole rap is inherently evil thing i will use a little example.

            first person: are guns evil?

            second person: no, i don’t think so. cause guns don’t kill all on their own it requires people.

            first person: correct! guns aren’t evil, BUT bad people can use them to do very bad things.

            second person: oh, but what about guns in the hands of good people?

            first person: in the hands of good people guns CAN (note:not always) be used for good such as self defense.

            okay get the picture? music when made by unsaved people is evil (sorry but i know this because Jesus said bad trees do not produce good fruit) however when it is produced by Christians that are following God’s will in their life it’s good.

            I also believe God intended for music to have sweet harmony.

            as for me, I prefer songs that have depth to them. how can a song have depth to it? well glad you asked, you know the song, “it is well with my soul” written by Horatio G. Spafford. here’s the scoop-

            Horatio was a christian married to Anna and they had five children- four girls and one baby boy, Horatio was an attorney. when his boy was four years old he died, and then came the great Chicago fire which destroyed his real estate. with hardly any money and the recent loss his wife and family was devastated. so they planned a trip to England, however on the day they were to set sail Horatio had a business emergency and couldn’t go with his family so they left without him. a few days later their ship was struck by a British iron sailor. their ship sank in 12 minutes only his wife Anna survived. when she reached England she sent this letter,”saved alone what shall i do?” when Horatio received the letter he left immediately as his ship passed the place where his daughters sank he wrote the song,”it is well with my soul.” now that’s a song!
            also the song,”i have decided to follow Jesus.”
            a family in India had recently been converted to Christianity, and the tribal Chief had enough. he ordered his men to capture the father, and then threatened to shoot his two boys with poisoned arrows. the father replied,”i have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back no turning back.” his boys lay dead on the ground, the Chief then had his men aim their arrows at the mans wife, and demanded that he denounce Christ the man replied,”though none go with me still I will follow, no turning back no turning back.” his wife lay dead now the archers aimed at him and said Denounce Christ! he replied,”the world behind me, the cross before me, no turning back no turning back.”

  • Samuel Garcia

    “Here I am, send me.”

    Haha, but seriously though, I run a Christian video game design business. I know many Christians in the field, and there is the Christian Game Developers Conference every year. We are growing by leaps and bounds.

    • Arron Cook

      That’s encouraging to know. What’s the name of your company? How do you approach development differently as a Christian?

  • Arron Cook

    Hi,

    Thanks for your comment. As a parent, I certainly won’t be giving my children unbridled access to video games, but I’m not sure sheltering them entirely will be my approach. I want to help them to think critically and spiritually about all mainstream media, video games included.

    But there will always be more books in my house than games!

    Arron

    • bbrown

      Thanks Arron,
      I think your approach is balanced and I also realize that I might be an extreme view and because of my strong feelings in this area, I can come across pretty harshly. I guess, in my position, I have just seen so much real mental damage and how it works it’s way out in young folks who have not had enough parental supervision. I really believe it is a modern plague that is destroying the minds and souls of a generation of kids. I see the spiritual battle and how it works out in lives, very clearly, every day at my hospital emergency room.

      From my end, it just seems that these games serve no redeemable purpose, when so much else is available that is so much healthier for young minds and bodies. I genuinely can’t see why any parent would want to have this stuff around. We perhaps need to stress the “Rebel” in “Rebelution” a little more, and not feel a need to be sucked into what everybody else is doing.

      • Arron Cook

        You make some great points.

        I guess for me, video games fall into the recreation category. A lot of the issues you highlight are preset in other activities too, books especially.

        I just don’t feel the solution is an anathema, but approaching the issue with God in our hearts and minds.

        Arron

  • Alese Owens (aka Leesa-Mia)

    Woah!! That’s what I’m talking about! As I was reading this article I agreed with point after point enthusiastically. The funny thing is that I’ve had the aspiration to get into the video game industry for many years now. Ya’ see, I’m an artist and I’d love to be able to do the concept art, or character building for role-play games (RPGs) if God be willing. Yet, interestingly enough, while agreeing that the most popular and influential games culturally are rather ungodly in nature, I felt no discouragement to continue perusing this passion. I felt even more encouraged.

    It’s brilliant (not to mention essential) for us Christians to ask ourselves whether something can be used to the glory of God or not. Now after reading the article, reading over some of the previous responses, and debating with myself (using my knowledge of God’s word) whether things like movies (broad) and horror movies (specific) were godly or ungodly. I came to the conclusion that movies can be godly depending on the content while horror movies can not be because they are made with the main purpose to inflict what God so lovingly warns us against, fear. With that in mind, I tackled my topic of interest, RPGs.

    Disregarding content (because that can be changed) and focusing on the act of playing an RPG itself, I came to a rough conclusion. (Feel free to argue if you see fit – I encourage it! ) The very purpose of RPGs is to allow/ enable the gamer to act in a pseudo world where they can do things they can not, would not, or just are not doing in the real world. By engaging in that we are showing a longing for things we do not have and even worse, ingratitude for what we’ve been given, which of course is ungodly. Which would mean the act of playing RPGs is ungodly.

    But If playing RPGs is ungodly how is it so much different from watching movies. Think of all the godly movies you know. They all encourage the viewer to love, show compassion, use wisdom, and praise God IN THE REAL WORLD. That’s the key! We know that a movie, which otherwise is an entertaining waste of time, can be godly because we’ve seen godly movies, so we know that with the right content and purpose they can bring glory to god!

    Video games can also be godly if, and only if, they encourage the gamer to love, show compassion, use wisdom, and praise God IN THE REAL WORLD! (etc..)

    I, with all my heart, believe that Christians ought to be deeper in the game industry. We need to put our minds together to come up with games that have that type of power that will bring glory to God. As always God comes first, so there is absolutely no reason that the games’ moral concepts would have to be corny or simplified to the point of being insulting to God’s word.

    I think right now many of us are under the impression that video games are destructive, period. We have to remember back in the day when one of the most popular genres of Christian music today that leads nonbelievers to Jesus was rejected as “the devils music”. We can’t let an opportunity like this slip on by!

    There is so much more that I want to say, but this seems like plenty already (⌒_⌒;)
    Thank you for reading and let me know what you think!
    Peace, Love, and may God be with you!

    • Pip Wherrett

      A major problem of RPGs is that you can be drawn in and soen inubsorbant amounts of time on them. To quote someone I know; “I decided not to play because my character in the game was rich, attractive strong and awsome. This was bad because; I was losing freindships, gaining weight and falling behind on practically everything!” I belive that life is more important than virtual life, and that you should not become absorbed by the game, and neglect you real life
      God Bless
      Pip

  • Genesis M.

    Aaron, are there any games that your parents let you play that you wish they wouldn’t have?

    • Arron Cook

      Plenty, though my parents aren’t Christians and felt no danger in them so the failure was with me, not them. They’ve got bigger issues!

  • Colleen

    I totally agree with this article, we as Christians need to be seeking our own hearts, through God’s word, on what is right godly and pure, not our own ideas or preferences. I recently had confront several of my friends on the vile and bloody gorey games they were playing, and the ideas that these games were bringing into their heads, like wondering what human flesh tastes like. And these were people who called themselves Christians, we need to have our minds free of all kinds of evil, viewing blood and gore is dangerous and is a major foot hold for the devil. We need to bring Jesus’s standard of what is right and wrong back into the church, not our own opinions. I totally agree with this article and yes the Church does need to confront this. Not to mention the way many video games are taking away what God has set apart for these young men and women, by spending all their time playing games.

    Joshua Cummings

  • Coleen Niña Barcos Fuentes

    I agree with the statement wherein we should focus on the effects of video gaming. As time changed, it has become more brutal and sexually oriented while offered to the young minds.

    As technology is fast growing this brutality has also become widely available in just click. We must take a stand in order that other children, teens and young people could stop indulging in such manner that they waste their valuable life to nothing.

    Share Jesus!

  • Hawk

    You’re absolutely right, video games are playing a big part and are making people do things they wouldn’t normally do… Not too long ago a man shot his parents and later claimed that he thought they would “respawn.” The Christian church needs to act upon video games. They need to come up with a series that doesn’t include as much violence as today’s games. Minecraft is really good for anybody, but we need more choices. The few Christian games out there were made seven years ago and cost thirty dollars per game. Any other game that old is a maximum of eight dollars, and that’s for the extremely popular games such as Call of Duty. A new game recently came out called Project Spark. You can make anything you want, and the violence can be kept at a minimum if you so desire. We need more games like this except with a Christian background.

  • Lisa Camp

    Totally agree! I always got a bad feeling when I saw an immoral video game, but I thought “How could it do any harm?” This article explains it better than I ever could. Thanks Arron!

  • Caleb Johnson

    I have been putting games/the internet in front of God. I agree with, it’s becoming a large distraction for teenagers (and some adults)! I want to love and obey Christ, but whenever i start thinking of Him, I think to my self,”Hmmmm, do i want to please God or myself…” and I always choose myself. Now I might just be twelve years old, but that doesn’t mean that i can’t love, serve, and obey God. I have started limiting my game time and tv time and do more important things like reading my Bible, or exercising. If anyone has any pointers i would love to hear them!

    • http://www.therebelution.com/ Brett Harris

      Hey Caleb, thanks for your comment! It’s definitely true that our tendency is to please ourselves rather than to please God. That is why we so desperately need to be transformed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He died so that we could “die” to ourselves and live for God. =)

      I recommend that you keep going to Jesus and asking Him to change your heart and help you want to please Him more. Then, I’d encourage you to talk with your parents or other older and godlier people and ask for their advice too. We can’t do this by ourselves. We do best in community with other Christians who can remind us of what really matters most. =)

      Hope this helps!

      • Caleb Johnson

        Thank you SO much! I saw your going on a trip! Have fun :) Your book encouraged me big time btw.

      • Caleb Johnson

        Also I’m home schooled and we have a little group with others on Tuesdays and my group leader says hi! (Btw, she baby-sat you and your brother when you were younger, Sherr’i) I hope that’s how you spell it…

        • http://www.therebelution.com/ Brett Harris

          Wow! Please tell our baby-sitter “hi” back for us! She was always a big favorite at the Harris House. =)

  • Liam Siegler

    What really hits me with this game is that you can “have a marriage and a family”
    Now ask yourself, is that something God would really want you play? I don’t see the point in that. Having a marriage is real. It is something that shouldn’t be taken likely with a video game. Plus having a family on a video game??? To me, that is disturbing. It is ok to acknowledge the problems in our culture and to see these issues and progress to reach out to them. But teaching responsibility like that is rather disturbing to me.

    Now this is my opinion, I could very likely be wrong. :)

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