Have you ever heard of a “Christian” video game? I honestly haven’t, until I did some research and was appalled at what I found. To be honest, I appreciate the effort that they are doing here, but they are trying too hard. Way too hard. Too hard to do what? Convert others to Christianity. Yes, that is the goal (Matthew 28:19), but when it comes to gaming, entertainment and experience is what you want to focus on, not the message.
Games are just that. Games. Religious games are great, but when you let it become the focus of what your doing (in this case, a Christian game) you won’t get a lot of gamers interested. The best games have a strong focus on a certain character, group, or story. It’s all about the interaction and entertainment. Even if the plot is no good or downright boring, if it’s fun, few will complain. For example, Grand Theft Auto V is a game that exalts sinful and law breaking activity, but it’ s one of the top selling games at the moment. Is it because most people who play games enjoy doing all these things? Quite the contrary! If you know the gaming community, they are the most least likely people to do something crazy like rob a car while someone is in it! The game sells because it’s entertaining. If someone had made a similar, entertaining game to GTA (of course, minus the illegal activity) and put a Christian centered message behind the game (as in, it’s not the driving focus of the game) then you would make a lot of sales.
Think about (yes, most are old school) Super Mario, Sonic the Hedgehog, Crash Bandicoot, Street Fighter, Tomb Raider, and others. The message for some of these games is barely there (a plumber+turtles+princess+mushrooms?) but who cares! The game is fun and entertaining, we can figure out the story behind it later. The point is to make an entertaining game and leave the message in the background for the gamer to slowly figure out as they play. Like a good story, you leave them wanting more as they play.
I did some searching and found some Christian games that are pretty old but lack creativity. One game, Dance Praise, is a complete copy of Dance Dance Revolution (which I used to play on Heavy Mode. Big fan of DDR). Another is a first person dungeon crawler (similar to Doom) called Eternal War: Shadows of Light which again, seems like it was done in a month or so, they prayed over the game and sent it out there.
In a previous post, I put a list of Christian games that you can review at the bottom to see more. I know my post is critical to Christian gaming thus far (2014), but as a gamer myself (since I was 6 years old) I want to see more creativity come out. The Holy Spirit is available to all believers who ask Him for wisdom and ideas. All we have to do is ask, and He will give us what we need to make amazing games with a powerful, Kingdom centered message. Oh, and entertain millions and bring many to the knowledge of Christ, our Lord and Savior.
Some interesting links that I found while researching this post are:
There was one very interesting game that caught my attention and that was That Dragon, Cancer. It’s still in development but it’s a game that has a powerful message behind it, but entertains the player. May not be the greatest game you’ve ever seen, but it’s story impacts the player and brings them truth that they need in daily life. These are the types of games we need more of.
Here is a synopsis of the game:
“That Dragon, Cancer is the work of Ryan Green, Josh Larson, Jon Hillman and Nat Iwata. It is the story of Joel, the 4-year-old son of Ryan and Amy Green, who has battled seven tumors in his struggle for survival. Its creators describe the point-and-click adventure as a “living painting” and a poem of interactive storytelling. ThroughThat Dragon, Cancer, players will relive moments from the Green family’s ongoing battle with the disease.” Polygon Article