Leave The Children Alone

Is there a problem with leaving the children alone? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Many of you reading this are not gamers, and so when I tell you there’s a big debate going on in the gaming community, you might be tempted to dismiss it. Don’t. This actually is relevant to you. If you have children in the school system, you need to pay attention to this. If you care about what the LGBT group is doing, you need to watch this.

It all started with someone complaining about the Armenian parents protesting their school considering more Pride material and the parents didn’t want this. An altercation took place and no one knows for sure who started it. One streamer posted about it and said we’re in a dark place and we should just let people love who they want.

A streamer who goes by NickMercs replied with saying that they should just leave the children out of it. That’s the real issue. You can see the tweet here.

NickMercs had made a bundle collaboration with the Call of Duty game series put out by Activision. After he said this in response, the bundle was removed from the store. The response by the fans was immediate.

They aren’t happy.

Here is what Call of Duty said themselves.

One other major streamer known as Dr. Disrespect decided that that was enough. He made a livestream video of him removing the game from his library. There is language in this if you don’t want your children to watch.

Now many of these guys would really see no problem with the LGBT community. They’re in many cases for “equal rights.” However, they do not want to see children being targeted and in comments sections are often tagging the FBI to alert them about groomers and pedophiles. (Personally, I don’t think we should say pedophiles as Philia is just friendship. Pederasts is a much more accurate term.) Many of these guys grew up playing games and are not parents themselves.

Some of these people are now saying that the community as is is a cult. If you say one thing that goes out of line against them, then they shut you down. Note that this is not saying that all people who are LGBT are cultists, but there is a mindset.

And let’s consider this still. What was the supposed statement made that went against pride? Leave the children alone.

So if you are making a statement about leaving children alone, you are opposed to pride and you are anti-LGBTQ?

That says a lot, doesn’t it?

I already shared a post about what is going on here and another one recently here. However, the gaming community has found another video and are letting others know what is going on. I urge you to go to around 5:40 in this video, although if you want to watch the whole and hear more about the “controversy”, feel free. Please do not watch this with small children around.

The LGBT group is now making it clear that their goal is to get the children. Our president has also now draped the White House in the rainbow flags so you know what side he is going to fall on. The big battle of our generation is going to be for the safety of our children.

The gamer community could have been one of the worst to go after. These are people who play games where they often have to plan out strategies, get all the information they can, and work as a team. Many of them also want to pass their hobby on down to their children so you can expect they want to have a good relationship with them.

There is an active movement going on to boycott Activision and Call of Duty. It’s odd that Activision has chosen to jump on Nickmercs immediately when they themselves have a less than glamourous history. They ignore repeated complaints from gamers about their games, but they jumped right on this one. Also, it’s worth pointing out that in America, many of their games have pride flags in the games, but for some reason, if you’re in the Middle East you don’t get those. Really standing with the LGBT community. Right?

If you’re a non-gamer and you made it this far, I hope you now see that this is relevant to you. They are coming for your children and if you stand against them, you are the enemy. There is no community they will not try to get a foothold in. If you are a non-gamer, speak out against Activision and Call of Duty anyway. While I don’t play Call of Duty, I am a gamer and I am taking this very seriously. I have spent much of this weekend watching the videos on this gathering more and more information.

Parents. Please step up now. They don’t want to leave your children alone.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

 

 

Book Plunge: Play More Games

What do I think of Matt Larson and Mark Krupa’s book? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

For those following me on YouTube, there have been some difficulties, but I have not given up Gaming Theologian at all. I’m still doing a lot of the research, which includes this book. I saw it during Amazon browsing and kept waiting for the Kindle price to drop some, but no. I went on and got it. It’s not wildly expensive, but I was still going through another book at the time so there was no rush.

But I did get it and I found myself enjoying the book. Most of the chapters are really short and can be read one at a time. The author is an avid gamer himself who has three boys who are also gamers. The whole family is Christian.

I don’t understand the title as there’s really no reason given to play more games. It’s more like understanding game playing. Why do people play games? How should parents handle matters? How should grandparents? What do kids want their parents to know?

Yes. That last one comes up. There are chapters where the sons are interviewed and give their answers to questions about gaming. These are definitely chapters parents need to read.

There was even a chapter interviewing the grandmother about her grandson’s interest. Nothing was left unturned. This shows not only an outsider perspective, but it also demonstrates the importance of family in all of this.

One of my favorite looks was finding couples who game together. Ah. The dream. Whenever I hear about couples like this, it gives me a little bit of hope again. It would be great to find a devout Christian girl who loves to play her games as well.

One of the most important parts though is a look at life in the Czech Republic. Here, one of the authors comes as a missionary and works with the people there and gaming has been an inroads to help with the church. For those who don’t know, gaming is a very close-knit community. I don’t know much about GamerGate, but from what I have heard, the gamers all came and worked together to accomplish goals regardless of political or religious views.

As the missionary sought to set up a community and used gaming events to do so, non-Christians would come and help out and explain the best ways to bring about such an event. If you’re wondering, yes, there were non-Christians who came to Christ through the love of a Christian gaming community. Right now, I am trying to do what I can here on my own campus to help us reach gamers in the area.

This book is a very enjoyable read and like I said, it’s short. You will also laugh at several times, particularly a chapter that I loved the opening where Larson talks about the things his children say when they are watching him gaming, and he’s not doing well at all. If you want to understand the world of gaming and how it works with Christianity, try this one out.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge for Fun: Armada

What do I think of Ernest Cline’s novel? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I have been trying to read more fiction lately. I have going through two of the three books in the New Arcadia series, but I’m waiting for the third and final one to come out before I write about that series. I do know it’s going to be the last since I emailed the author.

I saw this book by Ernest Cline and decided to get it. Cline is the one behind books like Ready Player One which was turned into a movie. So far, all of his books seem to be related to the world of gaming. I will try to avoid giving any major spoilers.

Anyway, in this book, Zack Lightman is in class when he thinks he sees out the window an alien spacecraft. Not only that, but it looks like one from one of his favorite video games. At this, he thinks he must be going crazy. After all, didn’t that happen to his Dad? His father, who died long ago, believed that the gaming industry and the movie industry worked together on games and movies involving aliens in order to prepare us for an alien invasion.

The reader can tell that Zack is not going crazy though knowing the nature of a book. There really is an alien invasion that is coming and it really is connected with Zack’s favorite game. What happens after all of this? At this point, I choose to remain silent, but I do have some observations to share.

Technology seems to be a strange beast. On the one hand, we talk about all the great goods that it gives us. On the other hand, we talk about how it can lead us to an early grave. In this one it’s kind of mixed in that we have technology and we depend on it to some extent, but at the same time, can it be a sufficient savior? If our technology is what we are dependent on, what would happen if a race ever showed up that had better technology?

Along those lines, there are times that Christianity is shown in the novel. There is a character who is a skeptic of it and one who is a firm believer and another who it is not known their position, but they sure can quote Scripture. I do not know the beliefs of Cline, but I thought this was a good way to treat the topic in his novel. After all, if an alien invasion took place, there will be people who will be turning to God.

I saw some reviewers say they thought the novel was predictable. There were some parts I was guessing, but overall, no. I tended to read a chapter a day but there were many times I was tempted to skip ahead, not because I wanted to get it done with, but because I really wanted to know what happened. I never did, but that temptation was there.

If you enjoy gaming or movies like Star Wars or the Star Trek series or anything of that sort in the realm of science-fiction, this is a good one to give a try.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Of Mario and Bud Light

What can we learn from both of these? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Well, there’s two things you probably never thought would be teamed up. I did go and see the Mario movie Saturday and I definitely enjoyed it. For someone who has been playing video games and been involved with Nintendo for most of my life, I saw so much that I recognized and thought that most importantly, the movie stayed true to the game series.

Not only that, but this movie is setting records and giving Disney competition. Critics are slamming it also while audiences love it, something that again tells us that critics are out of touch with America. Many of the reviews I have heard or seen slamming the movie are completely out of touch, such as asking “How does Bowser wanting to kidnap Peach and force her to marry him work with MeToo?”

Well, for one thing, Bowser is a villain….

I have heard one commentator on this say that Illumination studios did want to put some “progressive” elements in the movie, but Nintendo put their foot down and said no. Nintendo has generally tried to avoid politics. They made it clear that Mario is to be the hero of this movie. Good call, Nintendo. The critics may be laughing at the movie, but Nintendo is laughing all the way to the bank.

And they have plenty more franchises that they can make movies out of. Let’s face it. We know the Legend of Zelda movie is coming.

Meanwhile, Bud Light is tanking. They have been silent on social media. Why? Because they got a fake trans activist to sponsor their beer and the consumers did not like it. Now I don’t drink alcohol, but I also don’t forbid anyone drinking it either.

Disney also had movies like Lightyear and Strange World go down. Why? Because Disney has ceased to be family-friendly and if your emphasis of your movie is “Woke”, then families are less likely to go and see it. Families did go see Mario because it was friendly to family and the generation that has families now grew up playing Mario. It was just as much for them as it was for the kids. The older generation like myself can go and see it and get great joy out of it, but there’s enough the younger generation would recognize.

Now we can sit back and say that people don’t want to see “Woke” movies, but you know what other movies they don’t want to see? Christian movies. Frankly, I don’t blame them. The only reason many of us see Christian movies is that they are Christian movies. Non-Christians don’t see them.

Why? The same reason that many of us don’t see “Woke” movies. The emphasis is on the “Woke” in those movies. They mainly want to point out that we have a gay or a trans character. Isn’t that awesome? How many people do you know say “I want to go see a movie. Which movie has a gay or trans character in it?” I remember going to see the latest Power Rangers movie, which had a character on the spectrum in it. I did not go see it because of that. I saw it because it was Power Rangers.

Let’s take this to my own specialty area of video games. There have been Christian video games. Most of us don’t know about them for good reason. They sucked for the most part. Now I did enjoy the original Wisdom Tree trilogy, but the only reason I think I picked it up was it was a Bible game. Turn it into anything else and I won’t. There was a remake of a kind of Wolfenstein game that was Noah’s Ark with him capturing animals, but if you had a choice between that or Wolfenstein, who will play the former? Only someone who already cares about the Bible. The non-Christian will go to the former every time.

A few months ago I watched a video on the history of Christianity and video games. I left a comment pointing out that the original Legend of Zelda had religious references, such as the magic book was called a Bible. Nintendo didn’t really want religious imagery, yet Link’s shield does still have a cross on it. (There is imagery in Japan that indicates Link could be a Christian.)

So let me show you some of the comments from this video and I will be removing names.

“I’m not Religious but if they actually made a bible game that was like Bayonetta, God of war or hell even something like skyrim or Breath of the wild, I’d play it”

My dream Bible centric game: It just needs to be a reskinned Fallout New Vegas or Witcher 3 but I want Easter Eggs and Bible references out the wazoo.  So your character Ezra will be walking through the marketplace on his way to offer a sacrifice at the Temple. Off to the side are a group of men with one donkey. One of the men will be swearing up and down,” I TELL YOU THE TRUTH! THIS DONKEY SPOKE TO ME!!!” He’ll just be met with jeering and accusations of lunacy. “Balaam you’re going crazy!” Later, you’ll be traveling to the next town and you’ll encounter this Balaam and he’ll be arguing with his donkey. You’d even witness the donkey talk back and make snarky remarks. Because you’re the protagonist, the odd pair will speak freely with you. Because Balaam was a prophet, he’ll have good fortune telling abilities and maybe he’ll join your party. The main thing, the Bible has so many great stories but they’re strung along thousands of years so timelines will have to be compressed immensely.”

“I like how thia video helps evolve the meme-like concept that Christian games are bad to be more of a understanding of the approach these games are made with. They arent there to make a game; they’re there to convert…”

“I am a Christian myself but totally get that you can’t label everything in the popular media with a belief system…music, movies, AND video games, too! This is one of those videos where even reading the comments are fun! I can’t tell you the number of folks I’ve run across that make you feel like an unbeliever when you’re not also signed up for all this additional stuff. I’ve never played one of these video games–never knew they existed!–but I am thinking they stink as much as most Christian music. You just can’t force yourself to like something that you…just…don’t.”

“Would love to see an open world rpg set in the pre flood antedeluvian world that gives you free will choices.”

“I think if christians tried making a good game instead of trying too hard to make it “holy” then they could do it. Im christian and I know there are tons of themes for video games. I mean look at a game like fable. That was an amazing series that could have similar elements to an open world rpg. Like living in the days after noah when the tower of babel is being constructed and living in the harsh middle east. Christians or at that time Yahwists would have still needed to defend themselves from bandits and the like. We live in a much safer society today. Having spiritual beings influence npcs and having the main player set an area right from the influence of principalities would be cool”

Okay. I don’t want to overwhelm you. There’s plenty more. Here’s something else I notice looking through the comments. I don’t really see arguing or bickering and this is a video about Christianity! I see people coming together in agreement.

Ultimately, what’s the secret? What makes Mario a success in the movies? Why did Bud Light bomb?

Because fun should be fun. When people want to do something fun, they generally don’t want a political or religious message thrust upon them. There’s a reason a lecture is referred to as “preaching.” Preaching is in a sense synonymous with boring.

Nintendo followed a simple concept. They made the movie fun. They made it something people will want to see and tell their friends to see and take their own families too.

And notice something from the comments Christians. If we made games and movies that were fun and not just thrusting Christianity down peoples’ throats, they would play it. It doesn’t matter if it’s Bible-based or not. What matters to a gamer is “Is the game fun?”

Now I happen to like playing games that touch on philosophical issues and I like movies and TV shows like that too, but I won’t keep watching something or playing something if it is boring. My ministry partner does this in his videos. Sure. I can watch a video again if I want to go back and get his take on an idea, but I watch them for another reason. They’re fun.

What do we need to learn from this? Make media and make it Christian, but also make it fun. Make it something people will want to watch. If we don’t do that, we’re just as guilty as the “woke” crowd. When the message drowns out any enjoyment, people aren’t interested. It doesn’t matter if it’s “woke” or Christian or anything else.

Thus, i encourage us to start a revolution in this area. Make sure our content is good. If the product is good, people will be interested. If Bud Light wanted to up the sales, the way to do that was not to politicize that. The way to do that was to improve the product. Make a good product and people will buy it. Make good media and people will use it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

 

A Question on Violence and Gaming

How do I answer an objection like this? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Since I have a YouTube channel dedicated to gaming and theology, a niche I saw very few people addressing, it’s not to be a surprise when someone shoots me a question. A husband and wife I am good friends with wanted to ask me one. It goes as follows and I am quoting:

So I was wondering something based on your work with video games. I have an acquaintance from a Christian group who has a Twitch account streaming video games. (This person prides himself on being a conservative Christian and has been on his wife for being too theologically liberal). He invited some of us to tune in and I checked it out. He was playing a game I’d never heard of called “Resident Evil”. Within 30 seconds, I heard over the top vulgar language and saw a character being tortured to death. Is this the kind of game that’s common among the Christian gaming community?

Good question.

Now at the start, I have never played Resident Evil, though I am trying to get into Bioshock because of the rich philosophical themes, not because I just enjoy first-person shooters. However, I did really enjoy Goldeneye back in the day. Everyone did.

That doesn’t mean I don’t know about Resident Evil and have never seen gameplay about it. However, when I hear at the start that there was torture and vulgar language, I don’t stop immediately. It’s easy to make a hard and fast rule, but two things give me pause.

As I told them, when I was in high school, I remember being in English and the teacher showed us a movie. We had to watch it in more than one class as it was a long movie, but I do remember we saw full nudity in women. You could see a woman in a bed completely topless. I remember there was a lot of violence. People were being killed constantly. There were then scenes with several women totally nude. Keep in mind I didn’t grow up in a liberal area. I grew up in the Bible belt.

However, I bet most children in the class that if they went home and said they had watched this movie, their parents would not be concerned. They would ask what they thought. It would lead to a good discussion. I’ll go further. If I ever get blessed with children, I will want them to watch this movie one time at least when they are old enough.

The movie was Schindler’s List.

If you have a hard and fast rule against anything like what was described in the question above, you will be prone to miss this movie, and yet it is a classic. It points to a great period of evil in our history and something we need to talk about. If you look at the women who are nude and just think about sex, you have a serious problem.

Lately also, I have seen people saying that if we object to Drag Queens and certain books in our schools, then we should object to the statue of David. After all, he is fully nude. The difference here is that the intent of David is not to be sexual, but to show the glory of the human body. It is not to sexualize David. The intent of porn and many of these books is to sexualize.

Another reason this gives me pause is because I think of what skeptics say, especially about the book of Judges. Consider Judges 19 where you have a gang rape take place and then the body of the victim is cut into pieces and sent to the tribes of Israel. Skeptics ask how something this awful can be included in the Bible.

Yet this whole section is also about how wicked Israel was at the time and the consequences of living in an ungodly society when there was no godly king. It is not to celebrate the time. It is to say “Don’t be like this time!”

Thus, when it comes to these games, I make no hard and fast rule for the most part. If it leads you to sin, don’t do it. If it doesn’t, then the only thing to really consider is how other people might see it. That should be kept in mind.

Some people might play Resident Evil (RE) because they enjoy the gameplay and they enjoy the puzzle solving and the skill involved in playing a shooter game. That doesn’t mean that these people will become mass shooters.

Some people will point to school shooters, but many of these actually did not play video games. An example of this is the shooting at Virginia Tech where the student was known for not playing games. It could be this made him an outsider to the culture of people who were gamers and thus could actually be a warning sign.

If first-person shooter games were the cause of these kinds of violent outbreaks, then we would expect that there would be far more outbreaks than there are. There aren’t. The overwhelming majority of people who play these games will never kill anyone with a gun in real life.

I read a book on audio recently that talked about a lady named Daphne Maurer who was doing research on vision and at the university was looking for some guinea pigs for the tests. The only people there were the video gamers in the computer lab because, well, nerds hang out at the university. These people were playing first-person shooters and when given the vision tests, they aced them incredibly.

What Maurer found over time was that people who played these games consistently tend to have better vision. After all, you have to survey a whole area and watch for any movement and know it well and you have to be able to get a shot in quickly if a target shows up and quickly identify if they are a friend or a foe. These people learned how to do that.

Ultimately, and this said in light of the very recent school shooting in Nashville, the problem is actually not the guns. The old saying is true. Guns don’t kill people. People do. They will use any weapon whatsoever. At the start of Bioshock, your main weapon is a wrench. The largest mass killings done in America were done with planes and with trucks with fertilizer.

The problem is us. We are sinful people. The sexual revolution has especially raised the breakdown of the family where those good moral beliefs were supposed to be taught. Many of us who are gamers like myself want to avoid real-life violence. I will break to avoid hitting a squirrel while driving. If anything, a lot of us want to overcome evil. Edward Snowden even said his exposing of government surveillance came from playing video games.

There are plenty of good books on this. I recommend Moral Kombat: Why The War On Violent Video Games is Wrong and Grand Theft Childhood. I ultimately contend that the best solution is to restore the value of human life and to restore the family and undo the sexual revolution.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

MAR10 Day

What does it take to be a hero? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

You work for a gaming company and you have been given a task. Make a new human hero to fight evil. Okay. You think this could be a fun task. So how will you make your hero?

If you want to make a man, odds are you will make someone strong and muscular. You will make someone who has a no-nonsense attitude. This is someone who can tear through bad guys without a thought. You could also make him a James Bond type who is smooth and seductive and quite the Ladies’ Man. You could make a fighting type like Bruce Lee or Chuck Norris. You could make a Punisher type who would blow away enemies or a Batman type who seems to excel at all of the above.

If you want to make a woman, you could make someone muscular or someone who is more sleek and agile. You could make her a bombshell so that she will stun any man that sees her by her beauty and make all the women want to look like her. She will likely be a great fighter, someone like a Black Widow.

Now let’s look at who Shigeru Miyamoto made.

Odds are, without knowing who this is, he hardly strikes terror in your heart.

Somehow he has taken off. Is he muscular? Nope. Skilled at weapons or combat? Nope. He is actually a little pudgy and his career is a plumber. His sidekick and brother, Luigi, isn’t much better. He’s trimmer and taller, but he’s usually also a coward.

Yet today, March 10th is the day that he is celebrated. It’s known as Mario Day. I tried to see how many games he has had, and all I found was that he has over 200. This is in about 40 years or so. We could say that would be at least five games every year.

Mario has done everything. He has been a soldier, a doctor, a go-kart driver, an athlete in most every sport, an RPG hero, a party game player, and of course, the regular rescuer of Princess Peach. You could pretty much take any game and if you want it to do well, just slap Mario on it.

So what does Mario have to do with Christian apologetics?

In our day and age, it’s easy for us to think that there’s little that we can do to change our world. We can look at Marvel superheroes and think “Yeah, but I can’t do those kinds of things.” Mario is our different figure.

“But he does have power-ups!”

Yes, but if you look at the games and even the TV shows that were made, those power-ups would affect anyone who used them. Princess Peach and Toad could benefit from them. In some games and TV shows, Bowser himself benefits from power-ups. Thus, there seems to be nothing that says only Mario can use these power-ups. If anyone else had these power-ups, they could use them.

What makes Mario a hero for us all is that he is us. Anyone can do what Mario can do. Mario has enough reasons to think that he is not a hero and yet, he keeps going and defeating the enemy every time. He is going against a villain in Bowser who usually has greater resources and power and a personal army and yet, Mario wins every time. (And somehow Bowser gets to play sports, ride go-karts, and play party games with Mario and his friends.)

And yes, sometime this will show up on my new channel. (Please like, subscribe, and share.)

Who is Mario then? He’s you. He’s me. He’s a guy that has a lot of heart. He just wants to go out and defeat Bowser, or whoever the enemy is, and rescue the Princess, or whatever the goal is.

We live in a fallen world and we often think we can’t do anything for the gospel because we are not as great as XYZ. That has never stopped Mario. Mario has always kept going and faced much greater dangers than many of us face.

Mario is a picture for us. We don’t have to work to be like him per se as he has no physique or anything of that sort. (Save his jumping ability) He’s just a guy with an ordinary job wanting to do something great.

I wonder what could happen with our Christianity if we looked at the world and said we just want to do something great and live our lives fighting against the armies of evil.

It’d be nice to find out.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: God, Games, and my Neighbor

What do I think of Ian Murray’s book published by Westbow Press? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Recently, I did buy a few books on Kindle on the topic of God and video games. I said on Facebook that I was doing this kind of study and my friend Ian Murray got in touch with me to recommend his book. Actually, I had already bought it and hadn’t even realized he was the author.

I finished it last night and did enjoy it. One caution for me though, and this is not about the book per se, but since I know Murray from Facebook and he’s usually had Veggietales character in his Facebook profile, well guess how I heard the book being read mentally. Quite interesting to think of Larry the Cucumber talking about Grand Theft Auto V.

Something different about this book is it’s not really a defense of video games, despite that being in there at times. It’s more about relationships. Someone doesn’t have to be a gamer to understand this book. In a sense, non-gamers especially should read a book like this.

After all, gaming is sometimes a maligned hobby. Why not go out there and do something instead? We live in a society where sports can be glorified and many of us who are nerds just don’t care for sports. (Besides, keep in mind that it’s common for the city that wins the Super Bowl to go rioting after to celebrate. When was the last time you heard about rioting after something like the Pokemon World Championships?)

Actually, I think gaming can be much more intellectual as a good gamer has to think about a lot of things and think about them actively. If I plan an MMORPG like Final Fantasy XIV, I have to think about where I am, where the opponents are, what abilities they are using, and about my fellow teammates who I normally don’t know and what their jobs and abilities are.

Murray’s book does treat gaming as a serious hobby, but his book is more about how gamers and non-gamers can relate together and how gamers can live an effective and evangelistic life. Some Christians might think this doesn’t make sense, but is that being thought of when you watch a sporting event or streaming services? However, gaming is many times a communal activity, especially in the age of the internet where we can play games together online. (I still contend nothing beats having those people in person and playing that way. I can still remember the classic Goldeneye done that way.)

Murray also recommends you listen to someone before you become a judge to that person. Before condemning the person playing the game, try to understand why they play the games. Odds are the person has received the judgmental side before. There might come a time for confrontation, but first try to understand the person, which might make it all the better for you if you think you have to disagree with their choice as you will now be coming from a place of knowledge.

Murray also gives a call for those of us who are gamers. Are we examining ourselves regularly to make sure we’re living Christlike lives? Is mature conduct in a game affecting us? Could a game be by and large harmless, but there is something about it that affects us? If so, perhaps we should avoid that game.

I do recommend Murray’s book. It’s short and easy to read and someone can read chapter by chapter or just go to select chapters. On Kindle, it’s also an inexpensive read as you can get it at the time of writing for less than a dollar. If you are a gamer or want to relate to one, this is a great one to go to.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: Getting Gamers

What do I think of James Madigan’s book published by Rowman and Littlefield publishers? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Just so readers know, I did go through this one on Audible. My books on Audible tend to be either about gaming or politics. Since I have started a channel on YouTube now called Gaming Theologian (Please subscribe) this kind of study is all the more important to me.

Each chapter here is a question and explored through not just games, but the works of modern psychology where even experiments done long before there were video games are still used to explain the impact of them today. Each of these could be read on their own if you wanted an answer to a question. Also, Madigan does not tow the party line where he makes sure games always look good no matter what. If the data is not conclusive or even goes the other way, well that’s the way the data goes.

The first section is about the gamers themselves. You get a discussion on why gamers can behave like jerks online and then when they play games, why do so many have a temptation to cheat? Also, why are fans so often ready for a fight? Back in the day, I know how many times I got into lunchroom arguments over if Nintendo or Sega was better.

The final one in this chapter was about why we’re so nostalgic about retro games. Many young gamers today do not understand this, but those of us who are older do. Who are services like Nintendo Switch online that have games for the NES, Super NES, and Gameboy for? Mainly, they’re for the adults. I can go back and play a game not because it was particularly the best one, but because I remember it and it brings back good memories.

The next section is about how games do what they do. Most of us don’t really care for studying for a test, for example, but we will do something we don’t like on a game for a long time and enter the game knowing we have to do that, and that is grinding. Now I will admit I am unusual in this in that I can enjoy grinding because I like being overpowered when I get to later areas.

For those who don’t know, grinding is where you go and fight basic enemies in an area just to gain experience or money. A lot of people don’t, and yet they do it! Why? We have to sit down and really force ourselves to do things we don’t want to do sometimes, like read and study, but we do sit down and make ourselves grind.

As some of you know, I’ve spent some time thinking about the educational system and why it doesn’t seem to work like it should. We’ve all seen people who are “highly educated” but are morons. We’ve also seen people who haven’t gone to college or have jobs many people look down on, such as you could get at a trade school (Note. I am not looking down on them. This is just the way society often portrays them) and yet these people are brilliant.

I took many classes in high school and yet even in subjects I did enjoy, I don’t remember much of it. I am a math guy, but I could not tell you a bit how to do many of the formulas that I studied in Algebra ad Geometry, and yet just recently, I sat down and found I was able to go through the original Legend of Zelda, both quests, and Link to the Past and still find everything again, and I never had to sit down and study those!

What this means is that somehow we do learn games better. I suspect most children have never sat down with a copy of the Pokemon type chart, but they can sure remember what type works well against what for the most part. It’d be a mistake for their parents to think that that’s something simple to learn. Oh no. It is not simple, and yet these same children could struggle with multiplication tables.

Something is wrong with how we’re teaching.

Games also keep us going with items like loot boxes and free draws. One reason this is exciting is not that we care about what’s in the box always, but it’s the anticipation of wondering what we could get. Once we get it, it’s done, but there is that rush when you get a new box. For me, I think of Final Fantasy Brave Exvius. I never spend money, but sometimes you get quests that let you get tickets for new characters and there is always that initial excitement wondering what you will get.

The next section is about questions such as how games are marketed. As Christians, one aspect we could consider is how games keep us immersed in fantasy worlds. However, we could add we find it much easier to tell others about games, movies, etc., than we do about Christianity. Of course, part of this is some of us are naturally introverted, but is there something else here?

Finally, we get to questions about how our games affect us. When we make an avatar and they look like us, does it affect how we play? What about violent video games? We do seem to like them. Why? Does it matter? Finally, do games make us smarter?

One fascinating aspect of this was Daphne Maurer who was doing some studies on peripheral vision and at the university, decided to use as test subjects people who were always in the area, the video game club members. She found that when it came to the tests she gave, all of them aced it easily. This led to her studying first-person shooters and how they can improve someone’s peripheral vision.

After all, if you are someone who does well at a FPS, you have to be able to scan the field before you, identify targets quickly, be able to see them before they see you if they are hostile, and tell if they are on your side or not. Madigan also writes about the skill involved in Starcraft. Chess is seen as a good game for building up your mind, and I don’t doubt that. I agree with it. Yet with Starcraft, you have to know so much with so little and be prepared for a thousand different moves.

Overall, if you have an interest in games, read this book. If you have an interest in psychology, read this book. If you have an interest in psychology and don’t even care about games, read this book. Anyone can get some insights into human nature reading this and I highly recommend it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

New Resource

What do I have for you? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Okay. This is going to be brief, but I wanted to introduce this resource for everyone and I know that I don’t want to fill up the screen with a lot of words and a long article about just one talk.

So here it is.

Recently, I have received my talk that I gave at Defend 2023 on Video Games and Christianity. If you want to listen to it, you can go here. There will, unfortunately, be not video as there were no cameras in there. If you want the Powerpoint, all you have to do is ask.

Even if you’re not a gamer, listen to it. You might wind up getting something that blesses you unexpectedly.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Delayed Gratification

Is it important to wait? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

4,000 pieces of gold.

That’s a hefty price for a young man playing a game, but in the world of Final Fantasy at the time, that was a lot. Gold pieces were the main currency then and at the area of the game you were in, most battles gave 100-200 pieces. You would have to stay at the inn at times to recover which would cost 100 pieces of gold.

However, if you wanted to get the silver sword then, you had to pay 4,000 pieces of gold. Only one person likely in your party could equip it. The next most expensive weapon costs 450 gold. Still, there were other expensive items. A bracelet you could equip costs 1,000 and level 3 spells cost 1,500 to learn and level 4 costs 4,000 to learn.

(By the way, I had to look up the prices of other items aside from spells, but silver sword stuck with me.)

If you wanted to get this sword, you had to work for it. This kind of thing is something called grinding. Why? Just think of how your going to work can be called the daily grind. Some people do it just to gain experience to level their character up. Either way, most people don’t really like grinding. It’s very repetitive.

By the way,  I haven’t even mentioned buying healing items and deals like that for what can essentially be the first dungeon the party goes through in the game.

However, if someone engages in this in many a game, they are prepared not only for the next dungeon, but also for several later dungeons. Those who rush through because they just want to get on with the story are more likely to suffer and in the end, have to do their own form of grinding still when they keep encountering an obstacle they can’t get past and grinding can be much harder later on in a game.

Okay. This is interesting, but what has this to do with Christianity and apologetics?

As I thought about it, it came to mind that this is a lesson in delayed gratification. Consider this. How many problems in our society come because we do not like to wait? We live in an instant society. Everything we want comes immediately. We can put something in a microwave or get something out of the freezer or drive where we want to go and with the internet, we have instant communication. Paul would love to do in the Roman Empire what we can do today.

In some ways, that can be fine, but in others, if we think we have to wait for something, then we will suffer in the end for it often.

Let’s start with money where this started. How many people are in debt today not because they had to buy an expensive item like a house or needed emergency surgery that was really expensive, but because of out of control credit card debt? How many people just buy items constantly and don’t really think about the price?

I considered that my early habits in gaming came to influence my early thinking with money. I learned the value of money there and to this day, I make it a point to have money in the bank and be light with my spending. Because of that, when I do want to splurge, I normally can without much difficulty.

Recently, a friend gave me a pass to the World War II Museum here in New Orleans. I only had to pay for parking. When I was done going through the museum, I got to the gift shop which had books. I bought a couple of them there. It cost me some naturally, but I was able to handle it. This also after having a month where I had to go to the doctor twice for a really bad sinus infection after the conference, the second being a follow-up, and I currently have no health insurance.

Still, I have money in the bank and my money in savings I haven’t even had to touch since moving to New Orleans. I pay my bills responsibly and I use plenty of programs to get free Amazon gift cards and to get deals when I do have to go out into town. My parents were always frugal with money, but I think my experience in gaming where I had to save up to buy things and make sure I always had enough taught me just as much.

Not only that, but I realize that some of my money comes from donors. Thus, I want to make sure I honor the money that is given on my behalf. If you want to become a supporter of me financially, which is greatly appreciated, then you can do so here.

This also works in other areas of our life. Our country has a problem with obesity and most of us are eating not because we are hungry, but because we are bored. We also don’t want to wait, and why should we? We can get fast food which normally isn’t good. I think we all have experienced the event of sitting on a couch or chair watching something or playing a game and just snacking while there. We don’t move much, we exercise little, and what do we have as a result? Obesity.

Finally, what about sex? Who wants to actually have to wait until you’re married? People who went to school with my parents and get divorced are now living together before marriage. In their day in school, that was definitely the exception. Today, it is the norm.

We live in a world of one-night stands and a hook-up culture and why? Because why should we have to wait? It’s just sex. Not a big deal. Right? We say this in an age of single parents, unplanned pregnancies, STDs, and ultimately a miasma of meaningless hanging around us. The sexual revolution has been a disaster.

However, the option left is waiting and we don’t like that. Why have to wait? If you want something, get it now.

Maybe we should return to what I learned so long ago in Final Fantasy. It was hard to work and work and wait before I went into the dungeon in making sure all my characters had the best equipment and spells, but you know what? When I did that, we did much better than everyone else and were more prepared not just for that dungeon, but for every other later dungeon. Also, if I needed to grind again to buy better items, I did it again.

Patience is a virtue we don’t really have today, but we definitely need it. How many of our problems in our society could be dealt with better if we would just learn to wait? How much of what we go through would we be better prepared for if we just waited?

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)