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.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)