The Art of Balance: Conclusions (Part 5)

Symmetry and Asymmetry (Part 1)

Nerfs and Buffs (Part 2)

Is Moderation Good or Bad? (Part 3)

Scriptural Evidences (Part 4)

Conclusions (Part 5)

Are Extremes a Problem?

So teach us to number our days,
That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.

Psalm 90:12

Honestly, we need to ask ourselves whether our so-called pursuit of “balance” is more an issues of semantics than an issue of divinely-ordained pursuits. We already discussed that perfect balance isn’t a reality, either in video game or in life. The real question comes down to this: do we use “balance” as an excuse for our own lack of effort or skill? How do we determine between a truly unbalanced situation – as life often is – and one where we merely wish to wave the situation away without proper examination?

In any video game with a competitive edge. you’re bound to run into the complainers – you know, the guy who calls throws “cheap” in a fighting game, or simply believes the world’s out to get him. No loss exists to teach you a lesson, or a defeat to offer advice – all setbacks to his/her inevitable victory shows the utter banality of the game in question. For one thing, who likes playing any kind of game with people like this, let alone hang out with them? And second, how would this attitude help in the long run? Really, said person should follow Seth Killian’s advice:

…he shouldnt be wishing for “balance” (in any simple sense of the word) at all. What he should wish is for truly varied characters, none of whom is so weak so as to necessarily lose in boring ways. You dont need to focus on avoiding powerful characters- you just want to keep everyone interesting. I call this “meta-balance”.

A straight, balanced game often bores you. Some people love the uphill battle of winning with a supposed “awful” character. Look no further than EVO 2013 champion Xian, who used Gen’s unorthodox stance switching and varied pokes to wear down Infiltration’s impeccable Akuma. Seriously, the top tier loses out to the bottom tier; nothing makes up for real dedication and skill. However, the imbalance here creates an interesting game with interesting decisions. Yes, some imbalances completely destroy some games, but not all. You trade a 1:1 ratio for a variety of characters with varying strengths and weaknesses, each of which have different strengths in different match-ups. Since we know perfection in this realm is impossible, why focus on it?

evo2013_xian-800x600

Hard to argue with results.

And I imagine the same goes for real life. Balance isn’t a thing you REALLY DO; it is an ideal placed upon yourself by your own mind, as if there were some arbitrary standard of how much time you should spend on X or Y. As a Christian, isn’t it obvious what you should be doing, or am I merely making this far too easy? There’s about a billion forces encroaching upon that time at any particular juncture, and there’s where the problem emerges: not time, or balance, but priorities.

If I didn’t know better, I’d say the problem is that we don’t know how to organize our lives even as Christians, and that’s a cause for concern. You know that whole thing about the “crisis of Biblical illiteracy”? That concerns me greatly! You see, most people just can’t make time for God’s Word. They’re either too busy, or need to do something else, and the frazzled minds of our newly-christened “Internet generation” can barely focus on anything for longer than a few seconds. Give me a meme, or leave me alone! Countless distractions, including video games, exist for our enjoyment.

And, so we can make room for all this stuff, we use “balance” as a way to use recreation to justify ourselves. Recreation obviously is a part of the Biblical message (God rests on the seventh day, after all), but how many of us follow that? We either push ourselves too hard or lazily sit around. Anybody here who talks more about video games than they actually play them? Especially if you’re reading this website? Yep, I’m in that category, guilty as charged.

The solution, as often it is, seems quite simple but difficult to implement: focus on God, and all the pieces will fall into place. That doesn’t mean said pieces won’t jam into your side like a jagged edge, or that everything will come out as you expect. However, that’s not what you’re looking for in the pursuit of truth. Truth isn’t a mixture of answers in a rational, logical sense; it is an overwhelming sense of contentment and understanding at the same time. In effect, it appears like the “extreme” that so many people warn us against.

I just don’t see much of a convincing case for balance; the imbalances of the world make for a far greater, and more interesting, story than a world where evil and good exist in harmony. Jesus Christ died in one of the most heinous, brutal ways ever designed by human minds, and yet He reversed it in something equally crazy. If we are Christians, then we should push towards the good at any and all circumstances, not make allowances for sin. It’s sort of a waste to be redeemed and then just do the same old things for the sake of balance, or just waste your time on frivolous stuff.

Sorry to be so obvious, but them’s the breaks.

13 Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, 15 but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; 16 and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. 17 For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong. 18 For Christ also died for sinsonce for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit

1 Peter 3

 

About Zachery Oliver

Zachery Oliver, MTS, is the lead writer for Theology Gaming, a blog focused on the integration of games and theological issues. He can be reached at viewtifulzfo at gmail dot com or on Theology Gaming’s Facebook Page.