Growing up in the glory days of the NES, Genesis, Gameboy, and, of course, the Atari was formative in my love for video games. As a child, I can’t imagine the day when I become an adult and can buy all the video games I want! In fact, in my first “adult” job as a jr. designer, I used all of my Christmas bonus in my first year to buy the just launched Sega Dreamcast along with several games (Crazy Taxi, Jet Set Radio!). It was truly a dreamcast come true!
Today, I am still a huge video gamer, although a bit more toned down after marriage and other “constructive” work like pastoring. However, I still do spend an hour or two (or more…) per day playing on my desktop. You can usually find me on Steam or on Battle.net each night. I know a lot of my generational peers love nostalgic games, but I am not too big on reliving the good ol’ days, rather, I prefer newer experiences (i.e. I will wait for Diablo 4 rather than Diablo 2 Resurrected).
But not everything new is better as I am sure you would agree. A great game is not just better graphic, sound, and story, but oftentimes it includes how it facilitates player interactions.
Today, a game’s good standing can be marred by toxic players. As someone who plays a variety of FPS and battle royale games, it doesn’t take long to run into angry opponents or even teammates. Being verbally abused in games seems like a norm these days, and worst yet, it can make you want to do the same thing. It’s hard, and sometimes, counter-intuitive to be gracious to a camper who just ambushed you. Yet, I believe God does care how we treat others even if it is in an anonymous video game. As an average gamer who spends a handful of hours per day in games, that’s a sizeable percentage of my life gaming; a huge chunk of time where I can be Christ-like to others as well as experience God’s grace through them! Imagine that: I can be practicing and living out the fruit of the Spirit while I play!
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
What are the fruits that God is calling you to practice today? Fruits that He wants you to grow in, to do more through, to be more like? Is it to have more patience with your teammates? Is it self-control in your outbursts after losing a match? Is it to learn to see good in others even though you may only meet just once? I believe God never wastes a moment in our lives and even in our play—the joy and fun—He wants us to know it is from Him and toward Him.
And so I hope for all of us Christ-followers who game, that we play in a motto that expresses #GG to everyone as well graciousness to our fellow opponents and teammates. Give it a try; I know it’s not easy, but it may just transform you and those who you play with!