A while back. Somewhere around the third lockdown, I found myself caught in a conversation about a vicar featured on the BBC story about the live video game streams that he hosted.
The conversation went to a few places, notably could we do something like it ourselves, where is God in gaming, and does a Biblical game exist?
This is an attempt at answering at least the spirit of the above paragraph, with thanks to Chris for his help with this.
So where is God in gaming?
You could take the argument that God is everywhere and in everything, and there is nothing new under the sun. So in this point of view, God must be found in gaming – stands to reason if true.
But therefore we need to dig a bit deeper. can we really argue that God is in all computer games? Is he in a first person shooter where the only objective is to kill someone?
But you could extract elements from a first person shooter, and we could talk about good verses evil (Doom), we could talk about being in a spiritual battle, we could also ask if God can be found in war?
Perhaps it depends on the type of game?
Maybe it depends on the type of game? Possibly in a game thats more story based, you could compare it to the stories we see in films, or indeed parables that Jesus told, where we could take the story told, and ask what this shows us about Jesus.
For example Stardew Valley has multiple themes of stewarding our planet, meeting with people, and even has a room that looks a lot like a chapel.
There is obviously a limit on the types of games that I would argue show a mirror of God, but perhaps that mirror is there in some games?
How about Social Games?
With some games it can be harder to find.
But it can be argued that Jesus would have played games which may have had a social aspect to it, computer games such as Among Us are social games in the 21st Century. Its a social game where you relay on working out right from wrong, communicate with other players, and discern what truth is.
In fact, I can almost picture Jesus starting to ask really awkward questions if someone suggested he was “sus”.
God as creator.
If God is a creator God, and if creatives are showing their God given talents, then could God be found in the fact that some of these gaming worlds have been created in the first place?
After all, while its weapons system is very annoying in Zelda, the kingdom of Hyrule is a very peaceful place to find yourself.
But what practical suggestions are there available?
I feel at the end of a blog about God and Gaming, I should have some sort of practical suggestion, a signpost for people. Here are two, but please feel free to leave more below.
Show an interest if you have kids who like gaming. If you’re not sure where to begin with this, can I suggest looking around the Taming Gaming website. It may not be about directly pointing your kids towards Church / God, but it may build upon the relationship you have with them even more.
And secondly champion the “geeks” in your Church. Encourage the facebookers, the gamers, shout out the streamers, and those sat on messenger apps. For the Kingdom of God can also be found at the end of an internet connection.
Please feel free to leave any suggestions or video game ideas below.
For chat about all things gaming, from a wellbeing / demystifying point of view, can I humbly suggest the Skill Check Podcast. Found at Spotify, and other podcast providers.
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