Saturday, October 15, 2011

Gamespot respectively dives into religious discussion

Just read a very thoughtful piece from Gamespot entitled "Having Faith in Your Games." What I really enjoyed about the piece is that it didn't spend too much time goofing on Christianity-based video games like Super Noah's Ark 3D, and instead spent the majority of it's time exploring how video games can explore faith.

With games becoming more sophisticated when it comes to story lines, exploring the topic of religion in a tasteful way should be easy to do. The article cites recently-released Catherine as an example of how to implement a struggle with faith, stating:

Each night Vincent confronts his burdens in the form nightmarish puzzles rife with gothic iconography, and you, the player, are prompted to bare your soul in a Catholic-style confessional booth with questions such as "Do you buy too much food when you're hungry?" "What do you think of actors in sex scenes?" and "Is popping bubble wrap fun?" Vincent's fate rests on your answers, and some of the endings are as entertaining as they are hellishly disturbing.
Catherine, a game that may just inspire me to purchase a PS3, has a theme that would be worth exploring: choosing to live your life by your own rules, or submit to a higher power (although I do caution parents to be aware of the M-rating, as the game has a lot of sexual content). That's life in a nutshell, and the temptation we as people of faith (all faiths) struggle with.

It's a reminder that we Christians can expect more from our games than "answer a bible trivia verse and get this guy to repent." (Best quote from the article is "But Christian games should be biblically accurate and family-friendly if they are to share the message of God's love." But isn't that what the Bible is for?")

Just like there can be films with powerful messages that aren't explicitly Christian (think Schindler's List or Metropolis), there should be more games with a great exploration of faith that inspires you to ponder your own moral convictions.

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