Video Games are a relatively new medium, and therefore also one of the mediums today that are often under fire from a lot of different people – from the anti-game crusaders, to concerned parents and other adults, who has some kind of fear about the negative consequences of gaming. In his book Of Games and God: A Christian Exploration Of Video Games, Kevin Schout writes:
Video games are not understood by the present generation of adults. They are new; they make an enormous appeal to children; and they present ideas and situations that parents may not like. Consequently, when parents think of the welfare of their children who are exposed to these compelling situations, they wonder about the effects of the games upon the ideals and behavior of their children. Do the games really influence children in any direction? Are their conduct, ideals and attitudes affected by the games? Are the parts which are objectionable to adults understood by children, or at least by very young children? Do children eventually become sophisticated and grow superior to games? Are the emotions of children harmfully excited? In short, just what effect do video games have upon children of different ages?
I’m guessing most of us have heard something like this before. But what’s interesting about this quatation is that it wasn’t actually written about video games – I simply replaced the words film and pictures with video games and games. It was written in 1933.
So actually, this fear of the newest members in our media world, isn’t anything new at all.
Now, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t care. We should. But we shouldn’t go into full panic mode, either. Actually, as Christians, ultimately, we have nothing to fear. Our love, worth, meaning and security are already secured in Christ. So now we are free. Free to fail, and free to succeed – and free to play, investigate, and discuss video games, their stories, moral values, and so on – without the fear of condemnation from God (Rom. 8:1).
Actually – if anyone ever had a reason to relax, enjoy playing games, investigate the bad and the good in gaming, and loving others through gaming. It’s us, who believe in Christ, and his freedom and grace.
As Drew Dixon puts it: “Christians should care about video games because people care about them. It is difficult to reach out in love to people while maintaining an uneducated disdain for the things they are invested in.”
Gaming is big, and will only be an even bigger part of our culture in the future. One sign of this is Twitch.tv – a live streaming video platform, focused on e-sports and video gaming, which now has over 45 million unique viewers every month, with the average viewer watching an hour and a half a day. And it’s growing.
So thank God for you’re freedom in Christ, go investigate and read about the good and the bad sides of gaming, play with your children (and everybody else), love them, and have fun while doing it. 😀
Some resources about gaming