Thank you to Ryan for this challenging guest post on video games and tabletop gaming. If you would like more information on his podcast and other resources on tabletop, please refer to the end of the article. If you would like to submit a guest post, contact me!
So, like most if not all of you, I’m a gamer. I love it, but I’ve learned that sometimes gaming can have a negative impact on me. I mean that from two standpoints. First, it is a lot easier to get online and play videogames than it is for me to go and hangout with people since I get complacent. Second, I find that gaming, particularly online, has a somewhat negative turn on my attitude. It shows itself in the language of the people I end up getting paired with or their attitudes towards others. It all rubs off on me and I see myself reflecting those tones and words, and I don’t like it at all.
Let’s talk about me as a gamer. I game a lot and I love co-op games like Overwatch and CS:GO (Counter Strike). However, as a Christian, what I ran into as an issue wasn’t the content of the games; it was the attitudes, language, and influence of those I was playing with. I catch on to these influences easily, which can be good at work. But when it comes to bad language and bad attitudes, it can be a real problem. I tend to pick these things up when I hear them. I realized these people were having a bad influence on me and it was affecting me negatively. The constant name calling (towards anyone), rude commentary on people’s playstyle, or even just cursing was taking its toll.
I want to present an alternative to you guys, without a controller. Nothing but you and your friends, in person, around a table. This can also be done online through Discord or another channel. There are a lot of great Tabletop RPGs out there like Dungeons and Dragons. I know this game has something of a stigma in the Christian community, but let me assure you, the game can be totally fine. Let me emphasize the words can be. The game can be an incredible experience full of fun, fellowship, and team building, but it can also bear frustration, anger, and discontent.
So what makes something like D&D different? Well, frankly, nothing. The same issue persists, but I think tabletop games give you a unique and new opportunity to search out people with a purpose to play with. You can make friends that simply come together and have fun and fellowship. What I’m saying is you can get from Dungeons and Dragons a chance to be together in the same place with people you want to fellowship with. You are having the same kinds of grand adventures you could in a video game but in person.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
He specifically wants us to get out there and spend time with others. I expressly play with a group of Christians now, and we have a great time! We come together and enjoy ourselves playing these crazy characters in our campaigns.
If you can get a gaming group together that you can share your faith with, I think the experience is a lot better. You can easily do it on any number of platforms, but my favorite experiences have been while playing Dungeons and Dragons. So I want to put that avenue out there to you, in case you are unfamiliar with tabletop gaming. You also can have a similar experience around a console or over the web playing games together. To be honest, most, if not all my Dungeons and Dragons adventures are played online over Google Hangouts.
Let me encourage you to put the mouse and keyboard aside and find a group to play games with in person. Board games, tabletop, even a LAN party! That kind of cooperative play is great team building interaction and an excellent chance to use your imagination. From experience, you will be glad you got out there and had fun. For me, I don’t get out often enough so I love spending time with my friends online. God calls us to be in fellowship with our fellow believers, together in one place, building each other up, so give the game night thing a try!
If you aren’t familiar with games like Dungeons and Dragons or have reservations about the content, feel free to reach out to me.
firstname.lastname@example.org or @CityOnAHillGame. Also, check the Min/Max Podcast and the Saving the Game Podcast. These are two great resources about our faith, theology, and tabletop gaming. Big thanks to Samuru from Gaming & God for helping me with this little article and for putting it out there with you guys. Really cool ministry for gaming, anime, and our faith in one place together!