Should Christians Play Video Games?
Just read this wonderful article and thought I’d share my thoughts about Christians creating video games. Drew Dixon and Richard Clark were interviewed for this article. I believe they made some important observations. The whole thing was enjoyable. I hope that you will take the time to read it.
This is where I will be a bit pedantic. Technically, a Christian videogame cannot exist because video games can’t be Christians. This is a joke, but it’s something I use when people ask me whether I listen to “Christian”, or read “Christian”, novels. To encourage discussion about what we mean by “Christian” when we refer to a medium for communication, such as art, comics, games, and music, I use that phrase.
To start, I will declare that we don’t need anything we can’t have. We cannot have Christian video games. But what really need is Christians who create video games. These games don’t need to preach the gospel. A Christian can make a video game that doesn’t preach the gospel. It is not necessary that everything preach the gospel. This should be a universal truth, but we seem to not know it.
I am a Christian. I am married to a woman and have two children. I play the banjo. It is a favorite of my children. They love singing “Go Tell It on the Mountain”. They love to sing “She’ll Be Coming Around the Mountain.” (My children like songs about mountains, what can you say?) Is it sub-Christian for them to dance to and sing “She’ll Be Coming Around the Mountain”? It isn’t. It’s simple, but it tells us something about excitement and longing for our loved ones to return. It shows us that it is appropriate to celebrate when a loved person visits. (Sorry, red rooster. It’s obvious that “She’ll Be Coming Around the Mountain” is the reason why we sing “Go Tell It on the Mountain.” It’s exciting to know that Jesus has come and visited us. Let’s celebrate!
Apply that principle to video games. All over the globe, millions or even millions of people are playing video games. They play them for the fun of it, and many of them tell a compelling story that will make you feel like you are one of their characters. Why aren’t Christians making games about love, loss, and mourning? Why can’t Christians make video games that allow people to ask questions and not feel compelled immediately to answer them? Jesus did this. Jesus taught in parables but did not explain them. Many people mistakenly believe that Jesus taught in parables as they are simple. Jesus stated explicitly that he taught parables because they were difficult to understand. Because he was mysterious, people followed him. People were drawn to Christ’s observation about life and his questions about their lives. He did give answers. But he also asked probing questions about life and turned the tables on people. Why can’t Christian videogame makers do the exact same thing? They can and should, I believe.
The people from f95zone community might be thinking, “Video games are just games.” You know, like Monopoly, Risk, or Uno. They’re not like that. These stories are mass-marketed and are captivating billions of people. It is impossible to be good stewards and keep the gospel alive if we ignore it. We cannot be faithful followers of Christ if we don’t encourage those who love the medium and want to tell stories through them. I wish they would. I hope that the questions and observations they ask will change the world. It would be amazing if they made something as great as Mario Brothers. You don’t have to make every video game so complex.