Satanic Panic and Pokemon: A Case Study

Should we beware of pocket monsters? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

A friend of Deeper Waters was deeply surprised when in my last newsletter I mentioned going out walking at Christmas which also helped me with Pokemon Go. But isn’t that a satanic game? Isn’t that connected with that other demonic game, Dungeons and Dragons? I was given a link to this article.

The problem I have with this is so much of it was based on personal experience. Okay. This lady has an experience with her son concerning Pokemon. Now let’s suppose there are far more other people who have positive experiences with their son about Pokemon. Do those people overrule the negative experience here? Does the truth change based on experience?

Now this isn’t the first time I have come across such things. I wrote years ago on the writings of Phil Arms on this topic. I found it lacking then and I still find it lacking now.

So let’s go back and see how things started off. We can say that Role-playing actually began with J.R.R. Tolkien and creating the world of Middle-Earth. We got introduced to many races and creatures and that book has had a lasting impact. Today, there are immense fandoms about this. People eventually would want to play games about this.

So then comes Dungeons and Dragons. Unfortunately, that got a bad rap early on with incidents like the Pulling Report and the book Mazes and Monsters. The problem is this was highly unrelated to anyone playing the game. If anything, these incidents would have been highly isolated incidents in response to the far far far more people playing a game with any adverse responses.

Question. Why do we listen to very rare isolated incidents ignoring the numerous people who don’t have this happen and make a national panic out of it?

And now, let’s prepare ourselves for a shock. One of the co-creators of Dungeons and Dragons, Gary Gygax, was a Christian. What about the Pulling Report? Nonsense. So why did it get so popular? Because fear sells and sensationalism sells. Look at what happened in our recent history with Covid. So many people went into a panic and now we look back in retrospect and say “Yeah. It shouldn’t have happened.” Similar happened with Y2K and back then, I was even scared about things, not being well-equipped yet. The same happened before 2012. There were Christians who were making a major deal about a Rosh Hoshanah eclipse.

D&D is just a game like any other game and it is what you make of it. I happen to play with some others around here. We get together and it’s one of my favorite times of the month because we all come together and laugh and form friendships and it is about the relationships. I also recommend you see this video on the topic.

So what about Pokemon?

Okay. One criticism I remember seeing is about having creatures fight one another. Is this not promoting violence? People. If you have boys, you know they way they are. I remember going to the house of some friends of mine who played army on their birthdays. Kids will happily bring out toy guns and shoot at one another.

Yet they all know it’s fantasy. It’s not real. Right after playing army where they were trying to “destroy” one another, they were the best of friends. If anything, in Pokemon, the characters never die really.

In looking at the article, I find it amazing that the author wants to avoid pagan influences, but her kids play with Star Wars sabers, They just don’t use the force.

Okay. I don’t know Star Wars well. I went and looked this up and I’m sure some Star Wars fans can verify. This is from ScreenRant:

The most crucial part of a lightsaber (as well as the rarest and most expensive) is the kyber crystal. Kyber crystals are naturally attuned and imbued with the Force itself, making them immensely powerful objects. In other words, each kyber crystal is a small, physical manifestation of the Force. Jedi younglings didn’t simply choose any crystal they found in the Ilum caves. Instead, they often searched or endured a small trial before feeling a specific kyber crystal calling to them. The crystal would then bond with the user for life through the Force.

In other words, someone playing with a lightsaber is automatically using the Force.

Do I have a problem with that?

No, because if someone says “This is fantasy” and they know it, then this is not a problem. Was Star Wars made to share Eastern thought like Buddhism? Yes. Is Star Trek based on humanism and an atheistic worldview? Yes. Does that mean they’re all wicked and evil? No.

Christians need to engage with the imagination. If Christianity is true, even in non-Christian works, we will see shades of the gospel. We will see stories of redemption. We will see good vs evil. It is unavoidable. If Christianity is true, the gospel is unavoidable in great stories, even non-Christian stories.

For me personally, as a person on the spectrum, these games have been extremely helpful to me. I have got to have a community with people and laugh and share with them. I have gone to the community park around here with people and been accepted immediately because we all have that common bond.

The opposite, the satanic panic, leads to the opposite effect. If anything, this drives people away and makes them want nothing to do with Christianity and usually is based on highly false premises. Now by all means parents, you are the authority. You determine what is and isn’t allowed in your household, but you cannot shelter them forever. They will be on their own some time and if they think they were misled by you, they will likely blame that on Christianity also.

Instead, really discuss issues together and really let your child come to their decisions based on informed research. Talk to people of opposite perspectives on this. Do you find a Christian who enjoys something you think is evil and you don’t understand why? Ask them.

As a gamer, for instance, there are some games I wouldn’t play as a Christian. Suppose I met someone who did. Suppose I met someone I knew to be a devout Christian who played the Grand Theft Auto games for example. I would be intrigued and ask “Okay. I have some concerns with them. What do you think about XYZ?” Maybe I agree. Maybe I don’t Maybe I just need more time. The point is, at least I better understand my neighbor and if they are convinced they are fine in their own mind, then it’s a Romans 14 matter.

Also along the lines of the issue of concern about Pokemon and other games, I found this blog quite helpful. I recommend looking through and following the links.

If you disagree, let’s chat.

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

 

 

 

Book Plunge: Boss Fight Games Earthbound

What did I think of Ken Baumann’s book from Boss Fight Games? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Boss Fight Games is a series of books that I am working on going through and even writing my own entry for (Looking at Final Fantasy IV) where in each book, one game is discussed in-depth. This one which was the first in the series was Earthbound by Ken Baumann. (When I am speaking of the game itself rather than the book, Earthbound will not be in italics.) Some people might recognize that name as he was a star in the series The Secret Life of the American Teenager. I have never watched this and was not aware until I read it in the book.

I remember I was in high school when Earthbound came out. The box it came in was much bigger than any other box for video games at the time, I think because it had a strategy guide with it. Apparently, not too many people were into RPGs at the time, but I was. I had played Final Fantasy for years.

What I saw in Nintendo Power about Earthbound intrigued me as it seemed to be about these delightful kids in a modern-day world fighting an alien invasion. This is a game so humorous that even the names of the enemies can make you laugh. In what other game do you fight new age retro hippies, an annoying old party man, a mad taxi, a scalding coffee cup, and a crazed sign?

That’s just scratching the surface.

So I started reading this book and it starts with Ken talking about calling his brother and their reminiscing over Earthbound together. (Even as I type this I can hear some of the music from the game running through my head.) The book really starts out in-depth as it looks at each section of the game and those of us who are veterans could still get something new out of it. However, throughout, Baumann also relates stories of his own life. Sometimes they are in relation to the game, but sometimes they seem a useless tangent.

That got to be somewhat discouraging as the first three parts of the game, Onett, Twoson, and Threed (What if I told you the next town was Fourside? It is. What if I told you the next town was Fiveway? Nope. Sorry. It’s Summers.). After this point, it looked like Baumann was quickly going through various parts of the game and skipping others entirely. It’s as if he had a word limit or some other limit and wanted to just get it all done.

Most surprising was getting to the final boss. Many of us who have played the game know that the scene of the final boss comes from when the creator walked into the wrong movie theater and saw something quite disturbing as a child and used that as the basis for the boss. That’s definitely worth mentioning, but no. It wasn’t. It was mentioned that it looked like you were fighting a prenatal version of the ultimate evil in the game, but nothing more was said beyond that. It’s really a highly philosophical boss fight.

There are some points that really show the way that gamers really take their interest seriously, something of interest to me as this is my planned PhD research. Baumann quotes John Gray at one point saying:

If the hope of progress is an illusion, how – it will be asked – are we to live? The question assumes that humans can live well only if they believe they have the power to remake the world. Yet most humans who have ever lived have not believed this – and a great many have had happy lives. The question assumes the aim of life is action; but this is a modern heresy. For Plato contemplation was the highest form of human activity. A similar view existed in ancient India. The aim of life was not to change the world. It was to see it rightly.

Baumann, Ken. EarthBound (Boss Fight Books Book 1) . Boss Fight Books. Kindle Edition.

Or how about this?

In the case of EarthBound and other games, we are given a fixed set of circumstances and qualities to live with. While we can choose our hero’s name and sometimes choose the shading of his or her final hours, we cannot radically alter the journey. Are games, then, the most accurate simulation of our unchosen lot in life?

Baumann, Ken. EarthBound (Boss Fight Books Book 1) . Boss Fight Books. Kindle Edition.

Are they? Perhaps. Could those of us who are gamers be gamers because we are tapping into a deeper meaning of life? We are wanting to experience a journey? Could this be why many of us enjoy fiction of any sort whether it’s reading Lord of the Rings, watching Smallville, as I am prone to do, reading the latest Spider-Man comic, going to see the latest James Bond movie, or playing Earthbound?

Ideas to ponder.

In conclusion, I really think every gamer should play Earthbound. Right now, it’s available for free on Nintendo Switch online if you have that. As for the book, it is enjoyable, but I wish it had been longer and revealed more of the story of the game and the making of it. Some stories about Baumann could be interesting, but only if they were connected to the game somehow.

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

Producing Christian Media

Can we make good material? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I recently started going through one of the Assassin’s Creed games because I have heard there is a lot of religious symbolism in there, and indeed there is. I was told to start with the Ezio Collection. Turns out it looks like the game is the second one, but that’s okay. I’m still getting what’s going on.

To explain what is making this appealing, it is set in 1474-1499. When you come across a character, you are allowed to push a button and get a brief synopsis about them and their life. Some of these are people I have never heard of, but I am learning that historians have been studying them.

I also understand the layouts of the towns are made to be remarkably just like the towns that they are in. I was looking up some information on that just now and what do I see but places like Ireland are using Assassin’s Creed to attract tourists. Gamers are wanting to go and see these places that they have played games in so much. Yes. We don’t just want to sit on a couch playing games. We want to do things.

Of course, in this game, there’s some physical activity. You encounter townspeople that want to kill you and you get involved in fisticuffs. Your character is incredibly athletic and can run and jump across roofs and climb buildings practically like Spider-Man. That’s cool, but really, for a game, it’s not really the main draw.

What is fascinating is realizing I’m actually getting to interact with historical figures. I’m playing last night and come across Leonardo Da Vinci and I’m thinking, “Wow. I’m going on a mission for Da Vinci.” Not only that, I read in the game that he was born out of wedlock and he was a horrible procrastinator. I look it up online after and lo and behold, that’s right. That is fascinating and that knowledge is very unlikely to leave me any time soon.

That left me wondering, “What if we could do the same thing for the Bible?” Imagine playing a game where you get to be a soldier in the time of David and Saul. Imagine being a peasant in Judah at the time of Jesus. Imagine being a traveler in the Roman Empire at the time of Paul. There are so many scenarios you could do.

Now I have been told there is a company that is working on making Christian video games. I hope it’s an enjoyable one because I have seen non-Christians on videos about Christians video games saying they would play a Christian game if it met one standard. It’s a really simple one.

The game needs to be fun.

Too often when we make media, we make media that we enjoy and don’t consider if anyone else will. Who goes to see many secular movies, hear secular songs, watch secular shows, and play secular games? Christians and non-Christians. Who goes to see Christian movies, hear Christian songs, watch Christian shows, and play Christian games? Christians. Do you know a non-Christian who has a subscription to Pureflix? I’m not saying Christians can’t make things for Christians, but we also need to make materials that non-Christians will want to interact with that can get them interested in Christianity.

If people are playing an Assassin’s Creed game and wanting to visit Ireland as a result, what if they play a similar game and want to study the Bible as a result? What if they get introduced to historical aspects that they never would have known of? The account doesn’t just become words on a page, but something they see and interact with and they get to see what the world of the Bible is like.

Not only this, but I think this is one of the best ways we learn. We learn by doing, and that includes playing. One benefit I have had in apologetics is I have been on the internet and debating these issues so much so where you have to know them immediately and be ready to share them. We could see a parallel in the Karate Kid with behaviors like painting the fence. Daniel didn’t realize he was learning the motions of karate the whole time.

We live in an age of multimedia and we need to use it. Now I do not know enough about programming to do such. I am still looking for a YouTube expert to help me with my videos! I would be glad to provide historical and theological information for a game though as I’m sure many others would.

I look forward to a day when the best material out there is not made by secularists, but made by Christians. Make it real.

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

 

Book Plunge: Pilgrim in the Microworld

What do I think of David Sudnow’s book from Boss Fight Books? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

This could be the first game ever published about what it’s like playing a video game. In this case, the game is called Breakout.

At this, some younger gamers and readers could be thinking “I haven’t heard of that one. Is that about having to rescue someone trapped in an enemy prison and going behind enemy lines to break them out?”

Well, not exactly.

“Okay. So is it a fighting game where you fight one-on-one with an opponent like Street Fighter and have to break out your best moves?”

No. Not really.

Okay. So what is this game I’ve never heard of?

It’s this:

Yep. That’s Breakout.

Seriously? A guy wrote a book on this?

Yes. Yes, he did.

Sudnow’s experience starts at this place in ancient history known as an arcade. There was a time even when people had home consoles when people would meet at arcades and put quarters or tokens that cost a quarter apiece into a machine and used it to play a game. Many people would come and watch and take turns playing these games. Sometimes, people could play games alongside each other or against each other. You could sit inside models of cars for racing games or hold a gun for a shooting game.

Yours truly actually worked at one of these places once.

So Sudnow sees his son playing a game called Missile Command. He finds himself intrigued by the simplicity of it all and yet also by the dedication his son has to this. He thinks that normally we think of war as something awful, and we should, but Missile Command has a rather simple thesis to it that is much more innocent. You have a number of towns and you have to intercept missiles that are being fired at them to preserve those towns.

Sudnow gets this ancient machine that is even pre-Nintendo, (Which is even pre-such systems as the 64 or the Wii) called an Atari. He is told there is another game fans of Missile Command might like called Breakout. Sudnow starts playing this game and while his forte is playing the piano, before long, he finds himself intrigued by this game.

Sudnow wants to beat this game and studies it intensely. At what angle does the ball shoot out? How fast does it go? What changes from shot to shot? He looks at his TV from different angles and puts tape on the bottom in an effort to measure where the paddle goes to hit the ball. I hope Atari was near where he lived at the time because he even goes to Atari to ask them questions about how to play the game well. (Keep in mind kinds, we didn’t have the internet back then and even growing up, many of us had to read Nintendo Power or actually on some rare days, call the hotline for help and sometimes, we could even do this really archaic practice called writing a letter and putting it in the mail and waiting for a response.)

What this shows really is from the beginning, people have an amazing dedication to games. Think it’s just video games. Think again. Exhibit A? Sports. Even if we go back to Greek and Roman times, the Olympic games were a major deal. Cities could even get tax-exemptions for victorious contenders in the games. Today, we have multiple channels dedicated to games on cable as well as I’m sure many streaming services. How much is spent on sporting events every year and how much do we pay athletes for what they do?

Games matter.

Games seem to pull out in people a drive to succeed like nothing else does. Have people game and they want to be the best that they can. People invest so much work in something that often times won’t even benefit them financially.

We as Christians I fear have been too quick to condemn such. This is part of our reality. This is part of who we are as people. Why? What can we learn about ourselves from this? Can we take this drive and use it for the kingdom?

While the reading is fascinating, there is something absent. We don’t really see much of David’s social interactions while he is gaming. Where was his wife? Where was his son? I would have liked to have read about that. Did Paul think it was cool having a Dad who played video games? Did his friends think the same? Was his wife getting annoyed at her husband so intently studying Breakout and just saying “Could you instead clean the dishes sometime?!”

This is reading I did for my planned PhD research and the best walkaway I get from it is a reminder that this is something that really taps into who we are as people. We are a playing people. We don’t just play out of instinct. We purposely play.

Now it’s up to us to figure out why that is.

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

Book Plunge: The Greatest Stories Ever Played

What do I think of Dustin Hansen’s book? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

People love stories. Whatever the medium is, you will find a story behind it. I suspect a lot of cave drawings are rudimentary tellings of stories. Whether we are reading Genesis or Gilgamesh from the ancient world, whatever you think of these accounts, they are at least stories. Now in the case of Genesis, I naturally think it’s true, but we can all agree that it is still telling a story.

Then the Greeks come along with their plays and lo and behold, stories. While my philosophy is Aristotlean-Thomistic, I have to say the way Plato taught his philosophy, wrong though it be, is more entertaining. They were dialogues, aka, stories.

We move to more modern times and what do we see but films and television and lo and behold, we tell stories. Comic books give a new form of writing that tells stories. This time, you had pictures and words both and the page would turn at opportune times so that you couldn’t just easily look and see what would happen next.

Now we have video games and we have radically changed stories. We’re not just passive in stories. We are active in them. Pick up the Lord of the Rings and if you read it all the way to the end, Sauron is going to be defeated and the ring will be destroyed in Mt. Doom every time. If you play a game based on that, it might not happen. You might die along the way.

Having you make the choices also gets you caught up in the lives of your characters. Hansen writes about how he played Red Dead Redemption for instance, and ended up talking like a cowboy. Many people today can tell you where they were when they heard about the JFK assassination, Challenger exploding, or 9-11. While certainly not on the same level, many a gamer can tell you about their first memory of Sephiroth killing Aerith.

Hansen goes through a number of games, with spoiler warning of course, and tells about the stories and how the stories work. Some of them are really in-depth looks at the games. Some of them are short snippets known as book reports. Issues are discussed related to morality and how you make decisions in games. You’ll find classics covered here like Final Fantasy VII, Chronotrigger, Bioshock, and Psychonauts. Sometimes, I was tempted to look up games on the Switch Eshop library and see about getting them. I gave in and some are now on my wish list, and I will get notifications if the prices drop.

Gaming is the most interactive medium I suspect for telling stories. In it, players have the option to make real choices and can step aside from the story, if they do so desire, and go on side quests in a number of games. They can return to the story and do things they never had before and find new aspects. As I write this, we are awaiting the remake of Super Mario RPG which came out around 25 years ago and yet even still people are finding new things about the game. Now they’ll get to start all anew with that.

If you’re someone who enjoys stories, you should read this book to see how stories work in a new medium. If you’re someone who enjoys video games, you should read this book to learn to better experience games as stories. If you’re someone who enjoys both, you will be very happy indeed.

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

Our Need For Stories

What in us drives us to create stories? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I have my own section at TheologyWeb.com and I invite you to check it out. A few days ago, I made a post about the problem of good vampires. What I am finding amazing about this is that there is a real discussion going on. Sometimes, it’s incredible to see what people comment on.

Just now I was watching The Big Bang Theory with one character asking about zombies. What happens if they don’t get human flesh to eat? They can’t starve to death because they’re already dead. I’m also going through Smallville again. This is my favorite series and started with two guys saying “Let’s tell an origins story of Superman.”

Comic books are well-known for creating massive universes as well and how many times have we had movies about the origin of Batman? These stories have so many installments to them that fans debate amongst themselves for each franchise what is and isn’t canon. You can have contradictory things happen in the stories so much so that DC created the Multiverse which led to several of its own problems.

In the gaming world, I am listening to the audiobook The Greatest Stories Every Played. Talk to some of my fellow gamers and what do we remember about a lot of our favorite games? The story behind them. Would that I could have my memory wiped and go through Final Fantasy IV again for the first time.

Why do we do this? Why do we debate about things that we all know don’t exist? People debating the Legend of Zelda franchise or Marvel comics or vampires aren’t doing so because they believe these exist. Despite that, they debate them and the debates can get awfully heated. Philosophy papers can easily be written on these topics. Indeed, if you want to see some of this, just go to Amazon and type in Pop Culture and Philosophy and see all the books that come up.

As far as I am aware, we are the only species that creates stories. Do we really do that for survival? Doubtful. It is possible to survive without stories, though most of us would consider that an impoverished life. You don’t need to read fiction, but many of us spend our time investing in a world of fiction. How many people can tell you every facet of The Lord of the Rings, for instance?

Lord of the Rings also led to popular role-playing games, including Dungeons and Dragons. Why do we play these? Because we like to use our imaginations and tell stories, but not only that, we want to be in on the story ourselves sometimes. We want to think about what we would do if we were in that situation. It’s easy to watch a movie or TV show or read a book and say to the character from the comfort of our homes, “Don’t go there! Don’t open that door! Don’t trust that guy!” Role-playing games can sometimes be the closest we get to making the choice ourselves and in the case of a game like D&D, if we’re playing with friends and not an electronic version, we can’t think of what we did the last time we played the game. Every time is new.

Today, I was telling another student about my research into video games and Christianity and how I think I am going to focus on stories and quests. Most people who are gamers like myself, we enjoy our hobby, but we also want more. We want real-life adventures more. I suspect this is why men watch the movies we do. We want to be the Avengers or we want to be James Bond.

Here’s another reason I suspect we make stories, which have been going on as long as we know of. Deep down, I think we all know that there is more than just this world. We do make some stories to explain reality, like the Just So stories, but we also make stories to tell for a longing that we have that reality is greater than what we see. A materialistic world is boring. We want a world of life.

I wonder if this could be behind the end-times hysteria many people have. Could it be we so much want to be a part of a greater story that we are convinced we are living in the last generation, even though numerous generations before us said that? Surely we must play a part in this? Could it also be why the belief is so prevalent that God speaks to us individually regularly? Surely I must play a part in all of this! Surely God has something for me and I need to find out what it is.

We can say social media contributes to this by making so many of us narcissists, but social media doesn’t create the idea. It just gives it a place to shine more prevalently. Social media too often just reveals who we really already are. Why do many of us do and say things that we wouldn’t do in person? Because on social media, it’s easy to put on a mask.

Everyone already has a story. I have said before that I think you could make a major motion picture of anyone’s life, and if you have a good director and cast, it would be a major hit. It’s incredible to think how much we are spending every year making games and movies and TV shows all because people love stories!

So I will be watching the debate on vampires and the discussion back and forth and enjoying it. I will continue playing some great new stories waiting to see what happens. However, I hope to continue living out my story and remembering that the story is not about me. It’s really His story. I just play a small part in His story, but I hope it’s a contribution that will make it better.

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

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)