After seeing The Dark Knight this weekend (a must-see, by the way!), I stopped by my local Gamestop to nab a second-hand copy of Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime for the Nintendo DS. Normally, I don’t buy used games, but after seeing the fun my brothers were having with it, I was determined to get a copy in whatever licit way I could. Seeing the raucous laughter and hysteria that ensued when they where playing the game together reminded me of the joys that multiplayer gaming can provide. Rocket Slime, which can accommodate up to 4 players in a 2-on-2 teams, encourages both cooperation and a healthy spirit of competition among its participants. It seems silly on the surface, and I won’t blame any skeptic for having reservations about such a claim, but I sincerely believe that games like this can be used to plant the seeds of Christian fellowship, and while I’m not sure if it will nurture them into saplings, my brothers have not hesitated to recommend Rocket Slime as an exemplum of a multiplayer video game.
Beyond inspiring a form of Christian fellowship (and I can attest from my personal experience that this is actually more common than one might think - games like Rock Band manage to bring people together like nothing else), many multiplayer video games also hold the promise of reconciliation. In the many moments of frustration and unjustified anger, my brothers have used games as a way to reconcile after a quarrel. Forgiveness itself requires a sort of mutuality: the cooperative aspect of some games can certainly move the process along.
Needless to say, it’s also possible that the reverse happens: rather than utilizing a quick round of video gaming to get the two warring parties reconciled, video games just turn into another excuse to quibble and quarrel. I’ve seen first hand how relatively innocuous games like Super Smash Bros. Brawl (a game featuring a comical kind of violence seen in movies like The Incredibles) actually exacerbate filial tensions rather then provide any sort of reconciliation to a tenuous situation.
By all indications, though, Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime inspires the type of positive fellowship seen in the former scenario, and I hope to have a Player Diary in the next coming days. Stay tuned!