Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Is a Christian Video Game a Good idea?

I came across the following news story today about a "Christian" video game -see http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20061213/tc_nm/videogames_christianity_dc_1. In this game, which is based upon the Left Behind books, players try to kill or convert those non-Christians who are left behind after the Rapture. For the record, the rapture and left behind concept does not seem to match up with Scripture. But I was just wondering whether a Christian video game was a good idea or not.

On the one hand, it is good to bring God into every aspect of our lives. For those who spend hours playing video games, it would be good to reminded of Christian things. However, killing non-Christians is not a Christian concept. I guess I would have to play the game myself to better understand it. What do you guys think?

By the way, there is a new format for this blogger program, so you will have to re-register your name under the google format (see where you post). It just takes a half a second. Thanks!

12 comments:

Julie said...

As a mother of two young sons that love to play video games, I am all for Christian gaming. However, I am not for any game where the players are asked to kill other people. I wouldn't classify that as a "Christian" game. I would happily consider looking at any game that promotes biblical values and Godly morals. I want to infiltrate every area of my family's lives with Godly influences. My boys are going to game one way or another, why not include God in that? Parents need to be critically reviewing any game that their kids play whether it is labeled "Christian" or not.

MattSmith said...

Left Behind FAQ

Quote from it:
Why does this game have to contain violence at all? Why is it necessary for a fun and successful game?
Violence is not required to make a fun game. However, it is required to make a game about the end of the world in the Left Behind book series. We have taken great care to make certain that there are real consequences for poor gamer behavior, unlike most games in the market. For instance, unnecessary killing will result in lower Spirit points which are essential to winning.

Atleast the penalize for poor behavior and unneeded violence.

And its unfortunate that a lot of things labeled and tied in with Christian things are also tied in with violence. Even a childrens movie/book such as Narnia contains violence.

Parents will need to make their choice not on the fact that its ASSOCIATED with Christianity, or atleast a FICTIONAL book that contains a Religious event. Parents cant just assume something is good, they need to take a proactive role in peoples lives.

And the people protesting the game, and wanting it to get pulled off the shelves and such are just fueling the people, and giving them more news time so the word of the game can spread.. Oh well.

Im all over the place in this post.. tired. Anywho, I hope all is well in the world of James and his family :)

James said...

Julie,

As you said, parents need to critically review the games their kids play. Too many parents assume that because it is a video game, it must be harmless. While the great majoriy undoubtedly are--and I'm hardly an alarmist on this--there are definitely more and more games coming out that I don't want my kids to play. If a good Christian video game can be made, hey, I'm for it.

James said...

Matt,

Thanks for the well wishing of my family and world. This is my favorite time of the year. There are a lot of great things going on right now, like the movie outreach and the children's outreach. But I will be glad when we take off for Texas and take a few days off. Hope that you guys are doing better. I know that God has great plans for you.

Dawgeth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dawgeth said...

Here is a christian video game probably more to folks liking..

The Bible Game

James said...

Thanks for the tip. The game looks interesting.

Alan Hirsch said...

Saw this recently. It does give a disturbing insight into some contemporary Christian minds.

All the best for the season James. Hope to connect more in the new year.

Vasquez Adoption Experience said...

I second Julie's comments in terms of parenting. Being that Kim and I don't have kids yet, I can only say with some limited experience that I believe one of the hardest things to do is monitor the entertainment industry as a whole.

It's sort of a double-edged sword for me. On the one hand, Julie is absolutely right in taking an active interest in what her boys do. I certainly won't want my kids playing Grand Theft Auto, DOOM or the like. Those games have life-like situations I wouldn't touch as a 32-year-old.

On the other hand, I admit one of my vices is the enjoyment of games from the Halo, Resident Evil and Silent Hill series. These all carry an "M" for mature rating and can be graphic in nature; however, I don't enjoy them for that reason.

I base a game's enjoyment on storyline and usability. If it has an interesting story and is easy to play/navigate, I enjoy playing. I'm not saying playing these games is necessarily right, but I understand the difference between what is real and what is fiction.

While I am not familiar with how the Left Behind game plays, I'm not convinced anyone gets "killed." Their game site says they will be carrying an "E" for everybody or "T" for teen rating. Profanity, MDK (murder/death/kill) and the like carry an instant "M" for mature rating. For more info see: http://www.leftbehindgames.com/pages/the_games.htm.

I guess what I'm trying to say is this is yet another area where individuals are taking the word "Christian" and changing it from a noun to an adjective. When we start classifying things as "Christian" (i.e. music, movies and games) we run the risk of deluting its meaning. (I am paraphrasing Rob Bell from his book Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith).

Plus, when considering most games on the market, I'm not sure I could stomach "The Bible Game." Whoa.

James said...

Alan,

Great to have you check out my blog. It is rather disturbing, isn't it? Somewhere along the way we lost the pacifist voice. Not that I buy the position completely, but it is a voice we need to hear. Richard Hayes has a good section on pacificism in his book on Morality in the New Testament.

Yes, definitely hope to connect more with you this year. And trying to do my part in promoting the forgotten ways. For those of you who don't know Alan, he is the author of The Shaping of Things to Come and The Forgotten Ways, two books on the missional church concept. Check out www.theforgottenways.org for Alan's excellent blog.

James said...

Marc,

I grew up playing a game called "Wizardry," in which a party of adventurers went into a maze, killed a bunch of bad monsters and bad guys, and collected treasure. It had wizards and magic swords, but I never once considered going over to the dark side.

I say this because I do think that many, if not the majority of games, are pretty harmless. However, here are some questions to ask when considering a game:

1) Is the game clearly portrayed in terms of good vs. evil? Kids especially need black and white choices. This is why fairy tales are so good for kids, despite their "fantasy" label.

2) Is the violence kept to a minimum? Kids have been playing shoot em up games like cops and robbers for years. The Wizardry game I played involved killing the bad guys. This is true for most all fairy tales too. For kids, however, graphic violence is disturbing, and I believe, runs the risk of warping minds and shaping behavior.

So I would advocate a game by game evaluation. Regardless, parents need to know what their kids are playing and not assume that it is okay because it is a video game.

Dawgeth said...

I'm having a kid in march, and will definetly be playing the game before she does(if shes into it..), that way I know the content(and I can beat it before her... less time fighting for playing time :)).