Jesus ate with tax collectors and sinners. He drank wine as well as made it.
Do you think he would reject people for the games they play? Which games would he join in and for which might he say, “…neither do I condemn you. Go, and play no more.”
Do you think Jesus would happily sit down with Simon the zealot for a game of “Call of Duty”?
Would he join the Pharisees and tax collectors for a round of golf?
Is it all subjective? How do you decide for yourself or for your own family what is okay?
The modern games industry is aware that most people think that all games are not suitable for all people. Several European countries subscribe to a classification and ratings system known as the Pan European Gaming Information ( http://www.pegi.info ). This gives overall rating according to age and warnings around depictions, of violence, bad languages, fear, sex and nudity, drugs, discrimination, gambling and whether a game is online (with the gains and dangers of interacting with random strangers). For comparison of other systems at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_game_content_rating_system
PEGI doesn’t include warnings against materialism, narcissism, blasphemy, bad theology, or many other possible criteria that might be part of your own personal ratings system.
It’s also well worth thinking not only about the warnings but also about the positives. Not just is a game educational, or does it built some good hand eye coordination, but is it one of those games that builds community, provides relaxation, provokes wonder.
GameChurch.com is home to community of people who love games, and who love God. In an older discussion on What would Jesus Play , someone suggested that Jesus would play games in which he got to engage with people. A new blog post from them looks at Play as rest in ‘The Legend of Zelda: breath of the Wild’. Would Jesus have played such a game to unwind, relax and get away from the crowds.
I’m not going to try and give answers but rather to encourage conversation with a simple game.
Prepare your own set of cards, each with the name of a game which can be either a video / phone game, a board game or something more active. You will then use these to discuss whether Jesus would play it and whether he would encourage or discourage his followers from playing.
Try and avoid being too puritanical and banning everything, or too liberal, assuming absolutely anything goes. The aim isn’t to come up with hard and fast lists but to recognize that different people from different backgrounds, generations and cultures will have different ideas.
Game 1: Consensus
- Pick a game card
- Discuss and place on the pile for “Let us play”, or “Play no more”
Game 2: Diversity
- Cards dealt to players.
- Each decides and places card face down on decisions table.
- Mix cards (unseen) then each player chooses a card to move to the other pile and defend their choice.
Game 3: Defendant
- Players take turns to pick a card
- Flip coin for play/won’t play and argue a case for ‘your’ decision. Can you persuade others.
- Vote and place
Any other variations?
Stay tuned for more occasional articles on games and gamification from a digital2031 perspective.