The first time I realized that God created me to rule at life I was running fast enough to fly, executing jumps with parkour-like agility and battling those who would slow me down without mercy. See, there was an evil dragon who stole my princess. I was the only one willing, or capable for that matter, of saving her! My abilities were supernatural in nature: lighting enemies on fire, traveling to different worlds, and crushing goons under my feet all for the sake of ridding the world of evil and defending those I love.
What? Mario you say? No! That was MY mission!
While my first gaming experience came at the age of four, my first Christian experience came at the age of eight. Both experiences fascinated me for the same reason: the story, and more specifically the immersion. It’s what we all love about gaming. When you play a game, you’re no longer part of the mundane “natural” world. You’re transformed into your alter ego: the mercenary, the Commander, the hero/heroine, or the leader of the revolution!
Have you ever notice how few games have ever been created where a user enjoys being the side-kick, the supporting role, or worse…Player Two? Have you ever wondered why that is? I believe the answer can only be found with a biblical foundation. Let’s take it back to Genesis chapter 1.
Then God said “let us create Player 1 and Player 2 and give them our ability; and let them dominate every boss either in the sea, in the sky, or on land.”
Ok, so it doesn’t say exactly that, but check it out for yourself! The meaning is the same, I just translated from a gamer perspective. What gamer would think that spawning into an uncharted universe with the sole mission to dominate doesn’t sound awesome?
Every gamer wants to be in control of their experience. When it comes to two player games, there are some really good examples of the “you and your buddy against the universe” domination experience. Who didn’t love traveling through the Covenant base pistol whipping those little guys (they’re called Unggoys), or running from an Elite with a sword while your partner guns them down in Halo? Did you enjoy curb stomping Locusts or tag teaming a Berserker in Gears of War? Yeah, it’s awesome!
What do all of these game have in common? Both Player 1 AND Player 2 share in the main goal…domination! Together you both can fight EQUALLY for the same cause! Where 1 can kill 1,000 zombies, 2 can kill 10,000! That’s Biblical! Actually, it’s just another gamer paraphrase of Deuteronomy 32:30, but you get the point!
Whether it’s alone or together with another player, we were meant to lead! You don’t have to believe in God to feel the only thing that we all share in common; the meaning of life: to be epic.
If secular games can reveal this Biblical concept, then how much more awesome would it be to have games that include stories that appealed to our hearts as believers? Imagine standing first person mode in the ranks with a sword and shield in hand as Israel heads into the battle against seven nations easily out numbering you on all sides! Imagine an epic standoff between you and a BA Goliath ready to rip your head off! Imagine a glorious battle between humans, angels, demons, dragons, and Jesus Himself fighting the final battle for humanity in the end times!
As gamers, these scenarios excite regardless of our belief because, as the Bible put it, we are more than conquerors. We are this way because we are made in the image of him who created us:
But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.
We are not just fighters for war; we hold a desire to have a challenge and to feel the fulfillment of success! Who doesn’t feel smarter every time they beat a hard level on a puzzle game?
This is why Dark Souls, to me, is so attractive! One person (I chose a female warrior) against the ENTIRE world! EVERYTHING wants you dead! The forces of darkness all converging on YOU to destroy you…and you welcome the challenge with a smirk of arrogance. “Bring it on.” Is it because you’re not afraid? Is it because you can just reset if you die? Or is it because you know in your own soul that there is a power within you that is greater than everything else that was created! We guard are souls with our life, and we guard our life for the sake of our souls.
I believe God gave the spiritual insight for the creation of video games in this age of entertainment curiosity. While the world, as with any good thing, has hijacked it to realize their own fantasies, the greatest achievement to unlock or trophy to be had won’t come from their world view. Rather, it will only emerge with video games that allow us to realize that because we are made in God’s likeness, we can be real BA heroes/heroines every day of our lives. We can show this in the way we love others and in the way we go forth into the universe defending truth and conquering all evil in OUR world.