Category: Video Games

Facing Regret, Finding Grace in Pinstripe’s Emotional Hell

I imagine that many people experiencing hell—literally or figuratively—are filled with regret. This also appears to be the assumption of Thomas Brush, creator of the indie game Pinstripe. In Pinstripe, you control a former minister, named Ted, who is searching for his kidnapped daughter in—you guessed it—hell. Brush’s version of the underworld is covered in snow and ice instead of fire…  [more]

How My World of Warcraft Guild Models Christian Community

My time as a virtual, high-level healer in World of Warcraft (WoW) stands out as one the most moving examples of community I have ever experienced. Within the imaginary world of Azeroth, I met a guild called GTH (Glory Through Honor) that was filled with those whose kindnesses and competitive fire would change me in meaningful ways. While WoW can be a toxic and lonely game, what I had fortuitously stumbled upon was a…  [more]

Thomas Was Alone and Embracing Your Spiritual Gift

Jealousy is a very human trait. It’s natural to want what we don’t have. When I see people who have things I don’t, I wonder what it would be like to be them. If I was only better at public speaking, I wouldn’t get nervous when I had to do it. If I only had mechanical skills, I could fix my own car. If I only had a sunnier disposition, I wouldn’t struggle with anxiety. The gist of…  [more]

Impact Winter and the Limits of Our Created Bodies

If I’ve learned nothing else from survival games, I have learned this: we may dream of romantic comedies, perfect sunset beaches, and thrill-a-minute action stories, but we live in the mundane. Eat, drink, work, sleep. Every day the same, and every day, largely ignored. Sometimes it takes a game to highlight the importance of these things—and help us appreciate the goodness that God has given us in those…  [more]

Seeking the Sabbath in Zelda: Breath of the Wild

The Bible begins and ends with play. One of the most fundamental aspects of play is that it is fun, and what do we see God doing in creation but having fun? God exercises freedom, creating out of enjoyment rather than obligation or compulsion. In fact, we know that God enjoyed creating by his own testimony, as he declares everything he made as “very good.” Both Isaiah and Zechariah’s visions of the…  [more]

No Man’s Sky and the Angst of an Endless Universe

No Man’s Sky is arguably the largest game world ever created. Sean Murray, the lead designer, says it would take players five billion years to reach every planet in its universe if they spent only one second on each one. The game seems poised to powerfully illustrate the truth of Psalm 19, that “the heavens declare the glory of God.” And yet, while No Man’s Sky presents players with an…  [more]

Pokémon Go and our longing for the world to be transformed

To say Pokémon Go has taken over the world would be an exaggeration, but perhaps only a slight one. Only two days after its release, the app was installed on 5 percent of Android devices in the United States, surpassing Tinder. Though the game is free to play, its popularity has caused Nintendo’s shares to jump 10 percent overnight. So what’s all the buzz about? A Vox explainer describes it this…  [more]

A parents’ guide to living with gamers

Parents struggle with video games. Last week I received a heartfelt email from a woman with gamer sons — a high schooler and a college student. After she read my book, Of God and Games, she developed a more open attitude toward playing, but she still had concerns. How much playing is too much? Does playing games with bad themes lead gamers astray? Is it still OK to feel like gaming is a waste of time? These…  [more]

Lamenting the loss of video-game worlds

It is not uncommon for Christian leaders to criticize people who play video games for wasting their time trying to save fantasy worlds rather than engaging the real one. But what happens when the line between the fantasy world and the “real” world isn’t so clear? Writing for The Atlantic, Will Partin recently chronicled how some of the biggest game worlds have been shut down, never to be…  [more]

That Dragon, Cancer and finding grace in grief

On the morning that Ryan Green’s son Joel died, Ryan and his pastor went out to the parking lot of the palliative care facility and wept together for 20 minutes. That Dragon, Cancer, a video game created by Ryan, his wife Amy and their friend Josh Larson, tells the story of Joel’s battle with terminal brain cancer. Knowing the end, that Joel “loses,” might dissuade some from playing the game,…  [more]

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