Thinking Aloud: Why We Don’t Need Another Christian Video Game Site

9 years ago I noticed that the Christian worldview was sadly lacking in the mainstream video game press. I wanted to find a web site that discussed the theological impact of the games that I played. A web site written by actual gamers that attempted to go beyond discussing the surface elements of video games (violence, language, etc.). My questions all revolved around:

  • What thoughts, ideas, and experiences am I being exposed to by video game developers?
  • How do these worldviews differ from my own?
  • As a Christian, what should my response be?

I envisioned a web site that could compete with the big boys at the time, Gamespot and Gamespy. So I created JohnnyBGamer.com to go against the best. Quite quickly I learned that a large amount of time, talent, and money are needed to compete in any real way. In short, I couldn’t compete. Eventually I relaunched JBG as the personal blog it is today. I wasn’t defeated, just confronted with reality.

Almost a decade has gone by, and I now find myself questioning the need for a Christian video game web site. Why do we, as Christians, have to segregate ourselves from the world and form our own personal ghettos? Instead of having a Christian video game site, why can’t we have writers writing for major publications that are Christians?

The digital landscape has changed a lot since 2003. Sites such as GameChurch and The Cross and the Controller (which seems to have gone missing) now exist to plumb the depths of video games and the Christian worldview. I am in no way against such ministries, but I openly wonder at the audiences they reach. Would it not be better to influence the gaming culture from inside a major web site versus from outside in the ghetto?

What do you think?

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3 thoughts on “Thinking Aloud: Why We Don’t Need Another Christian Video Game Site

  1. I guess I am just an idealist, but I believe there is room for such a site. It just will take time, hard work, exposure, and most of the people involved getting into the industry in a major way.

    While we could simply say that “have gaming journalists in mainstream” would work, how much influence does it have now? Religion’s still rather taboo in that sphere, if not treated with outright hostility.

    Rather, there’s a need for sites that actually criticize the games as games, and as devices for exploration of Christian themes and applications. GameChurch certainly does this, although their focus is as an outreach ministry more than anything else.

    If it’s genuinely influential, then it can happen; but again, time is what it takes. And connections. And building up relationships.

  2. Nothing wrong with being an idealist or wearing an Iron Man mask. :) My son and I battle with the Captain America and Iron Man masks on. So sweet.

    There is definitely room for a Christian video game site. I think my problem is that I have never seen it done well. The sites I have seen try too hard to make Jesus cool. Whatever that means. I also stand my my Christian ghetto comment. I am tired of the segregation rather than integration.

    Religion, sadly, is something that is treated with hostility within the gaming press. What is interesting is that many major video game writers come from a religious upbringing. Makes me wonder what happened.

    Love your comment: “Rather, there’s a need for sites that actually criticize the games as games, and as devices for exploration of Christian themes and applications.” Good stuff. I’m all for exploring Christian themes and applications within games as long as the topic isn’t forced. Telling me that Lee, from The Walked Dead game, is a Christ figure because of his sacrifice at the end of the game is a bit of a stretch for me. Lee was a murderer; Christ, not so much.

    Thanks for dropping by!

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