After seeing all the hype surrounding the soon-to-be released Kinect for Xbox 360 from Microsoft, I found myself quickly getting caught up in all the excitement. If you’re not familiar with what Kinect is or what it can do, it’s basically the new ultimate in home gaming entertainment. Not only does it offer full body game play that requires no equipment, but it also claims to have a new technology that is “intuitive” and is supposedly so natural, that all you need to do is “just jump in” when you’re ready to participate. I admit, it sounds fascinating and I’m definitely intrigued. I have always been into tech and gadget stuff and it seems that the more I see–the more I want.
The buzz surrounding Kinect got me thinking about our needs as individuals and how we sometimes allow ourselves to become influenced by outward opinions, products, or ideas. If we think back to when home entertainment was as simple as renting a video or watching a movie on cable, it’s interesting to compare how far and how fast things have changed and progressed. It seems today’s new products are desperately trying to fulfill a need in people, and even though most of us deny that we chase fantasies, it’s becoming more and more obvious that, in fact, fantasies do sell. Most individuals want something supernatural and different because we’ve been conditioned to believe that “newer is better.” I sometimes find myself thinking as a Christian, is it still possible for me to be satisfied with the “old school” things even though the new stuff looks better, more exciting, and much more fun?
When it concerns television programming, I think about companies such as Sky Angel and what it offers for me and my family. Sky Angel has a mission “To build and operate a global communications system as the most effective means of assuring that the Gospel will penetrate every nation, culture, and people” and I wholeheartedly believe it delivers. When I’m looking for a variety of faith and family cable television programs, I don’t need to look any further than Sky Angel and the options it provides. But when I think about gaming, especially PC and home video games, it’s hard for me to think of a faith based service or a Christian provider who can compete with the big popular game makers who dominate the industry today.
I think the lack of a successful Christian (or any other religion) video game reveals a lot about what our nation wants and ultimately responds to. I think many people still identify Christianity as something that should only be packaged and consumed one way. And when it relates to creating Christian video games, I can definitely see the challenge and difficulty in taking on such a task, but if us Christians are using new technology in other ways, I’m sure a fun and interesting video game can’t be far behind… right?
My opinion on why there aren’t any good Christian video games is simply because today’s games are mostly based on fantasy, and it’s really hard to tie any religion to fantasy, even if it is just a game. I also think that many people are dealing with the myths that Christians don’t have fun, or that all video games are somehow connected to gambling. While this makes sense to me too, I still think those old ideas and the fantasy connection are really what’s hindering progress and preventing a shift in the gaming industry.
So what’s the answer? I honestly can’t say what the solution is to this “problem.” All I know is that there has to be a way to use video games and electronic gaming in a way to further God’s kingdom, because what really matters is that lives are changed for the better. Video games have been entertaining all ages for decades, so in reality, video game technology and content should not be immune to the presence of faith, nor should it be completely void of the message of Jesus Christ–because I am so ready to play… aren’t you?