To play videogames as a Christian, however, requires being honest and discerning not just about their content, but about their value. The entertainment games provide is just one of the many values intrinsic to interactive media. Let’s play games responsibly, with discernment and moderation, but let’s dig deeper. Let’s tap into the many values of games, and ask the Lord to open our eyes to values we’ve failed to see. In playing games Christianly, we may just become more self aware, more mindful of our neighbor, and more in love with our God.
Justin, aka “Syp”, reflects on time in his piece titled “Time well wasted“.
I don’t want to hobble my personal and professional life with an overabundance of gaming. I hope that I always keep up the good fight of balancing that properly and not letting a hobby become a thing that becomes a master. I also desire to play games with purpose and not out of obligation and routine.
I recently wrote an essay entitled “Should Men Put Videogames Away As “Childish Things” For Their Wives/Girlfriends?”. Many readers immediately answered the title question in their heads and moved on; others chose to engage the essay and actually read it. (Kudos! I really appreciate it.) For myself, the piece scratched the surface of a much larger issue, how do videogames impact relationships. I decided to post a quick survey to delve into the female perspective on the issue. Below are the responses I received:
Q: What’s one thing that you wish others knew about dating a gamer?
A1: In college, dating a gamer was fun. I was able to play video games with my husband and his friends, which allowed me the chance to spend lots of time with him.
A2: My husband and I started dating at 17. He regularly gamed in his free time and wrote soundtrack reviews, etc. I knew he was really “into games,” but I didn’t think it would continue after college. After all, all the male role models in my life didn’t game so it just wasn’t part of adult life in my mind. Lo’ and behold, times changed- and they continue to- and now many 20 and 30+ people turn to games as their number one hobby. If you find yourself dating an avid gamer, consider that their hobby might not go away with age. It’s something they really enjoy. Take the time to reflect on that, your expectations of hobbies, and talk about it with your partner.
Q: What’s one thing that you wish others knew about marrying a gamer?
A1: Set up gaming boundaries early on in your marriage. Without good gaming boundaries, a wife might have a lot of unspoken expectations. As those expectations go unmet, bitterness and resentment can seep into a marriage.
A2: That marrying a gamer will require solid communication. There is no cookie-cutter guideline of what will work for each couple. You have to have enough maturity to talk about hobbies and their role in your life together, and what a good, healthy balance is.
Q: What’s one thing you would have done differently if you knew what it would be like married to a gamer?
A1: I wish I would have taken an interest in gaming sooner. It took a while for me to learn to take an interest in my husband’s hobbies. As soon as I told my husband that I wanted to play video games too, he began to find games that we could play together. I love his willingness to include me and let this be another way that we can spend time together on a regular basis!!
A2: Along with solid communication, respect is key. Early in my marriage to a gamer, I didn’t know how to properly say I was being hurt by the time my husband spent playing games. And that lack of communication turned into snide comments and disrespect. It still creeps up every now and then, but I have learned I need to take responsibility for what I can control- and that is expressing my observations and feelings in a collected way. Mutual respect is a necessity.
BONUS: What would you like your boyfriend/husband to know about his videogame hobby?
A1: Thank you for your willingness to include me in your world of gaming!! I appreciate your willingness to cut back on the amount of gaming you do, especially as our family has grown and our time is short. I can’t wait until you can take the girls to play video games, because it will be something fun we can do as a family. I love you!!
A2: Honestly, that I think we need to talk more about it. And from both sides. I often feel like a nag when I bring it up; ideally, I’d like to see us both talk more frequently and openly about gaming and whether or not we’re still balanced etc.
Thank you ladies for your thoughtful replies.
.: God :
Our motto here at JBG is, “because there is more to life than just games”. The individual sections of God and Life exist in an effort to explore the world beyond the flickering screen. In addition to venturing into topics outside of video gaming, such as faith and life, we have also pushed an overall agenda of moderation. Video games, as with any other hobby, are meant to be consumed in a healthy manner. I have personally witnessed, both in my life and others, the impact of excessive gaming (late nights, lost jobs, and loss of friends). The results of embracing gaming as a lifestyle are certainly destructive when taken beyond normal levels.
Recently, I got thinking about how JBG’s mission extends just beyond the gospel of moderation. I quickly came to the conclusion that we are also here to preach against distractions. For me, gaming can be a distraction; for others it can be something as simple as trolling Facebook. All the noise and media we intake on a daily basis can lead us to neglecting the spiritual sides of ourselves. Basically, distractions can cause us not to hear God’s voice –I am not saying that He speaks audibly, but I am also not saying that He can’t!-.
The question I want to ask you, on this wonderful Sunday, is this: What is distracting you? If it is video games, why not take some time away from them; if it is Facebook, why not take an extended vacation. A thought to ponder on.
.: Life :
What have you been reading lately?
Over the summer I happened to purchase a Nook for my birthday. This delving into the land of e-books has caused me enjoy all sorts of fantasy books. Everything from the first book in Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series to more recently, First King of Shannara by Terry Brooks. At first, I found the Shannara book to be wordy and the story cliche. As I have progressed, however, I have been suddenly surprised by where the story is taking me. Perhaps Brooks isn’t a Tolkien hack after all.
.: Gaming :
When I have had time for gaming, I have been diving into The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Absolutely amazing! If I hadn’t had my nose buried in the 90’s, with a SEGA Genesis, I probably would have discovered this gem! So far, I have managed to obtain all of the pendants and the Master Sword. Until next time.
That’s it for this weeks Surf Report. Make sure to comment below and have a good week!
*The month of February is most popularly known as being the month in which Valentines Day co-exists with a holiday dedicated to a stack of dead presidents.
Circle of Life theorists no doubt rejoice and hold massive parties on the savanna (in the shadows of Pride Rock) during this prelude to spring. A sweeping trend in both the mainstream and gaming presses this month (2/06) has been on the topic of gaming addiction. Long the whipping boy for politicians and presidential candidates, vide games have once again come to the forefront of the pathetically bored American Press. Love, candle-lit dinners for two, and discounted cars are all topics for another time and place. The topic of gaming addiction rules the day, and I wish to wade forth into this “dreaded” territory. I will warn you dear reader, we are about to enter a virtual abyss of stupidity. So please pull up a chair, and continue this adventure below.
Every new form of media has been met with intense scrutiny by the generations introduced to them. Radio at one time was probably called a great evil; television, a sign of the impending apocalypse. Scrutiny and distrust generally apply to the nouns we have failed to be properly introduced to. Nearly a decade since the inception of videogaming, the mainstream press continues to poke, prod, and accuse a media format they themselves know nothing about.
On the almighty chopping block of media’s grand altar, World of Warcraft (WoW) is actively being examined. Known for destroying many a marriage, this massively multiplayer online (MMO) game has claimed the lives of nearly 8 million subscribers. I don’t think that addiction is the problem here. I believe that the outcries from small African governments, who quake in fear over WoW’s powerful economy, have become too great for the media to ignore. In an age in which Hollywood often sets the political tone of the nation (or so they would like to think), WoW is soon to be the next campaign against Aids or even Darfur. Whispers that I have personally heard from the Internet (yes, it talks to me) have even gone as far to say that Al-Qaeda has integrated the games leveling concepts into their terrorist training camps. Addiction should clearly be the media’s last worry in the face of the global threat that is the World of Warcraft behemoth.
In closing, videogames indeed can be addictive. Although I would argue that they are just as addictive as any other hobby or recreation. Moderation and self-control are key to living. So wise up dear readers and learn to control yourselves! Otherwise, the government might soon be doing that for you…but that is a topic for another day.
*A note to our readers: This article was originally written/ posted to JBG in February of 2006.