Hey Gamers - Any video games promote Christian values?

As many of yo know - I tend to be pretty negative on video games. I do not play them and the commercials I see for them only reinforce my already negative opinion which is that basically the are spiritually unhealthy…

That said…and freely admitting my ignorance here…I would like to step back and ask this question…

Are there video games - popular ones - that promote Christian principles and actions? And when I say “Christian”, I am referring to “sermon on the mount” type principles.
How about a game that promotes diplomacy and “statecraft” rather than “Warcraft”?
How about a war game in which your character is not a shooter but a medic?
How about a game where the player is a hostage negotiator instead of a car thief?
How about a game where the player must not react violently no matter the provocation - even to imprisonment, torture and death?
In short…Games where you win points by being more “Christian” (Loving) in your behavior rather than less Christian.

Now perhaps there are such games…Or perhaps that some of these things are features within some games…
But it certainly does not seem that games are promoted based on these ideas.

So - please…Educate me…I may not respond a lot to this thread…I’m going to try to just listen more - and maybe ask an additional question or two…

Thanks for any input.

Peace
James

Captain Bible (old computer game 1994). To attack enemies you have to match the sentence/ phrase to what book of the Bible it is

I can’t say that I know of any big name PC games that promote Christian values.
Formerly I was a big gamer. Gave it all up.

However I’d love to see a great Catholic catechetical PC game hoping to get a passing grade by Mother Superior. :smiley:

Most of the games in my collection are just for fun. The Lego series, Little Big Planet…basically fun, problem solver type, creative games.

My Dad had Parkinson’s disease, and one of the things his neurologist had recommended during the early days of his diagnosis was video games. They have found in research that the problem solving element and the movement in the newer Wii and Kinect type games helps to develop ways for the brain to form new connections to replace those lost by the disease. Many nursing homes have Wii Systems and use them to help keep the residents active and engaged. Problem solving games can help keep your brain active in the same way doing crossword puzzles or learning an instrument can.

Just like any type of entertainment, there is good and bad in the video game industry and those who use them. People get overly obsessed with them to the exclusion of everything else, but that certainly isn’t the truth for everyone that owns a console. Some games are extremely violent and promote very negative values, and people need to do know what affect that type of entertainment will have on them.

I’m pretty much a Nintendo-only gamer. I can’t afford to buy multiple consoles and all that comes with it. And I’ve always really liked Nintendo ever since I got the original one as a kid 25 years ago.

I think most of Nintendo’s biggest games are pretty much morally neutral. Here’s this guy Mario making his way through this world bopping things on the head that then disappear with a poof.

Further, the plot (which is what can be morally iffy about many games) tends to take a back seat to the gameplay with most Nintendo games. Bowser kidnaps Princess Peach; Mario goes to rescue her. Some bad guy steals Donkey Kong’s bananas; he goes to get them back.

My five year old loves playing bowling and golf on Wii Sports Resort. It gives her exercise and a chance to practice good sportsmanship. That’s not specifically Christian, but it’s still a good skill set. She also loves this game where you skip the stones across a lake. She holds the record on that one. :o

There are many puzzle games out there, too. There’s a downloadable Wii game “Fluidity” where you control this pool of water that you takes on sold, liquid, and gaseous states as you move it along by tilting the controller to collect rainbow drops. It’s a nice physics-based puzzle game. There’s a game “Boom Blox” (by Stephen Spielberg!) where you are trying to knock down Jenga-style sets of blocks with a certain number of throws. There’s a game “Big Brain Academy” where you engage in all sorts of mind games involding matching, math, etc.

There are games like Zelda, that rely on ideals of courage and self-sacrifice. Since the game is of Japanese origin, most of the mythology would have more in common with Eastern religions than Christianity (if one were inclined to draw out any religious themes in the game), but it pretty much boils down to this guy plucked from obscurity going on a quest to conquer evil and save the world. That’s also the basic plot of Lord of the Rings. :slight_smile:

I tend not to play the true-to-life type of games, so I’m not really familiar with that side of things. I would just say that there is much, much more to video games than first-person shooters and war games.

Well, I only play offbeat, freeware games, but there are several examples that come to mind.

“Iji”, by Daniel Remar, is about a young woman and her brother who are the sole survivors of an alien invasion of the Earth. While you can play the game any old way you like (including killing everything in your sight), the game rewards you if you take a pacifist path (killing no enemies, and only using a self-defence shield), by portraying a brighter future for the survival of the Earth at the end.

“Love and War”, by Admiral Styles, is an old-school RPG that contains several quests which reward altruism and generosity. The player character’s motto (taught to him by his wise grandfather) is “always do the right thing”, and while many of his “side-missions” are optional, you really feel rewarded if you play them through.

“The Way”, by Lun Calsari, is a very deep, dark, 6-episode RPG, whose final message - despite a horrifying final third - is that it’s always possible to leave behind one’s past misdeeds, and start afresh. One line that sticks with me is when a friend tells the player, right at the end, “Start afresh. You still have your soul.”

“A Home Far Away”, by Strangeluv (Jared Hosein) is yet another RPG (see a pattern here), whose entire second half consists of helping others - a little girl who’s lost her pet, a lovestruck teenager, an overworked postman, and an alcoholic man among others.

I’m sure there are other examples out there, but these are the ones I can think of, right off the top of my head. :slight_smile:

Thanks for the information folks…

Related question. When where and how much are these games promoted - as compared to others like say - “World of Warcraft”?

I don’t seem to see commercials for them on TV…but then maybe I don’t watch the right networks/shows.

Peace
James

I don’t know of many games that actively promote Christian values or lifestyle…there are a number of them that give you the opportunity to work at becoming a good or evil character, with choices in the game having an impact.

(SPOILER ALERT)

For example, in Mass Effect 2 (a “space opera”-style science fiction game), one of your comrades is dead-set on assassinating a former team member of his who betrayed his squad and led them to their death. Your choices include helping him set the guy up for an easier kill, or getting in the way of the shot on purpose so that you can talk to the betrayer and to your teammate, and help the latter get past some of his anger issues.

It’s a refreshing way to do things, and the impact that either can have on the endgame is surprising and significant, which is the way it should be.

I almost never see any video game commercials. I must not watch the right shows either. :shrug: I think the last time I saw a video game commercial was 20+ years ago while watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoons. :stuck_out_tongue:

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a commercial for a Mario game. I suppose there’s not much need considering Mario games pretty much sell themselves. Or maybe they’re still just advertising during Saturday morning cartoons. :shrug:

Some of it has to do with budget. Some of these Call of Duty / Halo / World of Warcraft type of games have budgets that rival some feature films. They have more money to spend on advertising and they must find it effective in driving up sales.

But that doesn’t make them the only popular games.

Many videos games do not actively promote a negative agenda. Halo, Zelda, Mario, Metroid, Okami, etc.

And when I say “Christian”, I am referring to “sermon on the mount” type principles.

You seem to be confusing genres. Why would one make a video game with no interaction, only pontification? Furthermore, such a didactic focus unnecessary limits the setting of the video game.

How about a game that promotes diplomacy and “statecraft” rather than “Warcraft”?

That kind of playing is more appropriate to boardgames. Remember that video games are interactive; the point is to play them on a console and not necessarily with other people. Can you conceive of an interesting “statecraft”-based video game?

Even board games focusing on diplomacy – like Diplomacy – tend to focus on tactics and such. It is not that the focus is on war, but rather that armed conflict can provide a strong source of strategy and tactics for a game.

How about a war game in which your character is not a shooter but a medic?

Why would this be necessary? Does war not exist? Would you enjoy running around and healing people? I certainly would not. Think about the game mechanics – it is extremely contrived.

How about a game where the player is a hostage negotiator instead of a car thief?

Again, how on earth would this be successfully implemented? Can you think of a way?

How about a game where the player must not react violently no matter the provocation - even to imprisonment, torture and death?

Most games do have this. Even Grand Theft Auto has penalties for violence that is not central to the plot. Many shooters prevent injuring citizens. Some stealth games do not allow murder.

In Batman, none of the people you defeat are killed; they are simply knocked unconscious.

Mario has no actual violence against humans; nor does Zelda, really. Metroid does not. Halo does not.

Guitar Hero has no violence at all.

No game developer will put tons of material into a game, like characters, environments, etc., and then say “Oh, you cannot do anything to any of it.” It would be a total waste of time.

In short…Games where you win points by being more “Christian” (Loving) in your behavior rather than less Christian.

Again, devise a game that you would actually want to play. What would it look like, specifically?

I will assume you are talking about video games that are:

  1. Actually regarded as commonly available, not old obscure video games
  2. Video games that are actually considered GOOD. Not Nintendo Wii shovelware (bad games sold to uninformed parents for an easy buck, like the Harry Potter games).
  3. A game that doesn’t resort to violence to achieve an objective.
  4. No sports games, pinball, puzzle games, or any others that lack a story-oriented narrative.
  5. Games intended for 12+

Hmm.

There are dating simulation/visual novel games for Nintendo systems, but those aren’t commonly available in the United States.

Hmmm.

NO violence? Diplomacy?

Hmmmmmm.

Only releases that come close are Japanese exclusive games. Western-released games are usually violent. Only games I can think of that come close are secular games like Nintendogs, or rhythm games like Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA, Guitar Hero, etc.

They don’t exist. No one would play a Christian-themed Bible game because they have such a bad wrap amongst gamers (usually PC shovelware, or are unlicensed, illegal shlock, bad in general).

My feeling is that a Christian themed game is a new concept that would have to be created by a developer with guts, and in a visual novel format where the player can make different choices for different story routes (which means storywriting skills is essential), while being graphically appealing, and have likable characters. The very nature of a game like this means the character interaction has to be thoughtfully done.

Persona 3 & 4 for Playstation 2 comes close to this idea, but half the game is fighting monsters, and the game does carry LOADS of occult themes, even if Christian imagery is present.

Hope this helps, though I may be using too much game lingo.

So I am discovering through this through this thread.

You seem to be confusing genres. Why would one make a video game with no interaction, only pontification? Furthermore, such a didactic focus unnecessary limits the setting of the video game.

I think you misunderstand. I referred to the “principles” of the sermon on the mount. These are all principles that are to be applied to our everyday life…you know, things like love and forgiveness etc…

That kind of playing is more appropriate to boardgames. Remember that video games are interactive; the point is to play them on a console and not necessarily with other people. Can you conceive of an interesting “statecraft”-based video game?

Even board games focusing on diplomacy – like Diplomacy – tend to focus on tactics and such. It is not that the focus is on war, but rather that armed conflict can provide a strong source of strategy and tactics for a game.

Why would this be necessary? Does war not exist? Would you enjoy running around and healing people? I certainly would not. Think about the game mechanics – it is extremely contrived.

Again, how on earth would this be successfully implemented? Can you think of a way?

Most games do have this. Even Grand Theft Auto has penalties for violence that is not central to the plot. Many shooters prevent injuring citizens. Some stealth games do not allow murder.

In Batman, none of the people you defeat are killed; they are simply knocked unconscious.

Mario has no actual violence against humans; nor does Zelda, really. Metroid does not. Halo does not.

Guitar Hero has no violence at all.

No game developer will put tons of material into a game, like characters, environments, etc., and then say “Oh, you cannot do anything to any of it.” It would be a total waste of time.

Again, devise a game that you would actually want to play. What would it look like, specifically?

I’m not in the business nor am I terribly creative. My goal here is to educate myself on what is out there…

Peace
James

Not sure if you are refering to Christian video game or video/computer games in general.

The word/news about them gets around. Fans of certain companies, EA, Nintendo, Lucasarts (now owned by Disney) follow their news about what games are upcomming. Further therie is video/computer news sites such as gamespot.com or ign. Dont want to forget the E3 show in Las Angeles, which is an electronic/video game/computer game show.

Lately I have sort stopped following/paying attention to video games being I have way to many that I have not yet beat. However, there a few games topics (Star Wars in particular RTS) that I might be interested in getting.

Hope that answers your questions

Easy way to educate yourself on the current market:

  1. go to gamefaqs.com

The Top 10 lists on the front page are generally what most gamers are currently playing.

  1. go to youtube, type in one of the games on the list, plus the word “review” (example: “Call of Duty: Black Ops II review”)

You’ll see the game, and general gamer attitudes to the material

You can always visit video game message boards similar to this Catholic forum. Only real way to learn about gaming culture is to observe and participate in it. You’ll find gamers by majority tend to lean liberal rather than conservative.

gamefaqs.com/poll/index.html?poll=4895
Gamer Off Topic Discussions

I do understand. The difficulty is that video gaming is not inherently a good medium for actively promoting values such as total nonviolence, forgiveness, and so forth. That is not to say that video games inherently must promote bad values, but there needs to be some objective – a game where you go around complimenting people would get boring, just like one in which you go around insulting people (assuming there is no humor value).

A good question.

While there are very few/non overtly Christian games that I can think of there are many that promote the positive “Hero” role model of a person committed to truth, honour, and virtue. There are also more than a few “Redemption” games where you play as a character with a dark past, often criminal, trying to go straight.

There are plenty of video games that point out the true nature of evil I can think of. For example one of my favorite games “Bioshock” takes place in a city where secularism and absolute captalism free of moral constraints is given free rein, and the society soon colapses into civil war and worse.

There is plenty of room for positive video games and I would be very interested in seeing a sincere attempt at a Christian video game but the genrie is hardly a moral wasteland.

That being said I play mainly historical video games so its a bit different.

What your looking for doesn’t exist.

Historically speaking, warcraft is but the result of diplomacy and statecraft proving itself fallible. As they share both principles, you can have a game that has those (given the many empire and city-building RTS types out there) but you can’t separate them.

Many games allow for a full support role. Just because it also allows you to be the sniper or the nuker doesn’t mean you can’t. It just so happens that a game that restricts to solely one playing style (in your case support) gets boring fast.

Oh there are many… even though you just end up gunning the hostage taker anyways. :thumbsup:

Misnomer here. The Church actually advocates against impotent pacifism. A game like that no more promotes Christian values than excessively violent ones. We have a right to defend ourselves and use force to uphold justice if necessary.

Perhaps because you either a) have a different viewpoint that needs to adjust or b) are little off when defining “Christian values”.

Europa Universalis 3 is pretty good. If you declare war without a Casus Belli, you get major negative consequences. You can convert you people to Catholicism using missionaries, and have the ability to impose pro-Church policies.

God Bless

:thumbsup:

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