A Time To Game And A Time To Move On

Time, as we all know, is a non-renewable resource. It is precious, fragile, and Biblically: our days are numbered. Ecclesiastes somberly reminds us that there is a time for everything. Healing, tearing down, building up, weeping, laughing, mourning, and the list goes on. This begs the question: how long should we spend on either a bad game or the wrong game?

If anyone has read my review on Oceanhorn 2, you know that I found the game leaving much to be desired. Though true, I still completed the game, replayed the ending several times, and still plan to try it again on a console (I played through on my tablet). Why am I willing to devote so much time to a game I’ve already decided wasn’t my favorite, yet other games are quickly picked up and dropped?

I’ll be honest that I haven’t had much to review, but it isn’t for lack of trying. I’ve tried Evoland, Panzer Dragoon, Mario 3D Land + Bowser’s Fury, AER, Yooka-Laylee, and a litany of mobile games. Some of them I’ve sunk hours into while others only held me briefly. I don’t know if I can put my finger on precisely what each game had or didn’t have. Some had a nostalgic angle that initially drew me in, some had parallels from other games that compelled me forward, while a select few felt ethereal to the point of being beyond me and my ability to appreciate them.

So. Many. Games.

It’s no surprise as we live in an age of abundance that there are so many things coming out every day that vie for our non-renewable resource of time. A game is usually abandoned because I don’t find the investment of time to be worth the return. Sometimes the return is frustration over silly deaths (I’m looking at you Evoland), lack of direction (AER), lack of impact and feeling of progress (Panzer Dragoon), among many other relatively negative returns. It is an unfortunate reflection that it seems many of my reviews have an overarching negative tint while in my everyday life I am mostly laid back and have a “take it as it comes” attitude.

There is, however, one tie that binds: finding Biblical value amidst the swath of games that pass by my gaming screens. I frequently try to find a through line in life – something that compels me forward for the primary value of seeing God amidst myriad situations – and this extends to the media that I consume. It may not always be apparent and there are times I get off the path of that through line. Those times that I get off track I have to make an intentional correction and get back on. Sometimes that looks like the game I’m currently playing. For instance, there was a sense of purpose kindled inside of me after playing Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild that didn’t show up after playing Panzer Dragoon.

All of that being said, I have come to this conclusion: it’s okay. It. Is. Okay. This life is more about iteration and improving than it is about riding some unknowable tide of perfection. A natural consequence of keeping in step with the Holy Spirit is learning to hear His voice in spite of our human nature. God takes an interest in every aspect of our lives: big or small (remember: we’re talking about a God who has numbers regarding the follicle count of billions of people). So, keeping in frequent conversation with Him regarding what to play or not to play, how long to play, etc. should come as second nature, almost as naturally as messing up does. Yet, we strive to keep in step, and rightly so.

If we are to find a through line amidst this, it is this: try the game, seek out God in it, and if He simply isn’t there: move on. No game demands you finish it beyond God encouraging you to do so. Though I would rather provide another review of some fun games (Mario Maker 2, Mario 3D, or several board games I enjoy), I have to come to terms with the fact that God guides these reviews. Finding inspiration for each article comes from Him, and I prayerfully write every word with intent, as I hope and encourage everyone to not only do all things to God’s glory, but do them with intent.

As time passes and is prioritized, I pray we all seek God out in that process. This world only has so much of our time while God holds our eternity. How awesome is it that He still cares for the blink of time we are here on Earth!

Ecclesiastes (AMP)

3 There is a season (a time appointed) for everything and a time for every delight and event or purpose under heaven—

2 A time to be born and a time to die; A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.

3 A time to kill and a time to heal; A time to tear down and a time to build up.

4 A time to weep and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance.

5 A time to throw away stones and a time to gather stones; A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing.

6 A time to search and a time to give up as lost; A time to keep and a time to throw away.

7 A time to [a]tear apart and a time to sew together; A time to keep silent and a time to speak.

8 A time to love and a time to hate; A time for war and a time for peace.

9 What profit is there for the worker from that in which he labors? 10 I have seen the task which God has given to the sons of men with which to occupy themselves.

God Set Eternity in the Heart of Man

11 He has made everything beautiful and appropriate in its time. He has also planted eternity [a sense of divine purpose] in the human heart [a mysterious longing which nothing under the sun can satisfy, except God]—yet man cannot find out (comprehend, grasp) what God has done (His overall plan) from the beginning to the end.

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Matthew lives in the Thumb area of Michigan with his wife of 10 years and their three children. His faith was planted while he was a young child and began to sprout at the age of 12. He has been a Christ-follower ever since. Filled with dad jokes, puns, and sarcasm so deep that he sometimes has to question himself about whether he’s being serious: Matthew is comfortably himself.

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