It's a mysterious world to me.
My husband is a gamer, albeit only to relax, but I know a few more 'hardcore' gamers and people who have addictions to gaming.
For those of you who are unsure what gaming is, it is the act of playing an Xbox, Playstation, or online game that usually involves more than one character and/or you playing a particular character. For example, playing Halo is gaming, playing Tetris is not. A 'gamer' is someone who participates in these character games on a regular basis. A problem gamer is someone who spends more time on the game than they do in real life.
If someone has a better definition please share.
The extent of games I play are things like bubble pop and Tetris games. I don't play other games for one main reason:
I am psycho.
The one and only time I played a game called Counter Strike I proved to myself I could never play a shoot-em-up game again. Counter Strike is a multi-player game where each player is trying to kill all of the others. I was playing with about ten guys and by the end of it I was so close to the screen my eyes were going fuzzy, my palms were sweating, and I was reciting "kill him, kill him quickly!".
I know, I scare even myself sometimes.
I get waaaaaay to involved if I am playing. And if I am not and I am just watching then I am getting upset for the fake computer characters that die and start wondering about how their families will survive without them.
It's a problem. So I avoid games.
(On a side note, I also have to avoid board games because I tend to get ultra competitive, start yelling at people, and have been known to injure people with cutlery when I think they are cheating. I recently broke my 15 year ban on myself and played two board games. I am now back on a ban....).
It seems that others do not have these issues when it comes to gaming. My hubby can play and watch pretty much any game without so much as a tiny spike in his heart rate when he is trying to kill something. He can quite happily play Grand Theft Auto and kill people and steal their cars and beat up prostitutes without a flicker of emotion.
Maybe he is the psycho?
This is the issue though, that I find I cannot let go of. Luke and I are polar opposites on the gaming front and display this issue nicely. The issue I wonder about is:
For Luke, playing a game is exactly that, it is a game. There don't have to be morals or ethics because it isn't real and so therefore it doesn't matter. For me, my morals and ethics cannot be switched off while gaming and I either feel guilty for ignoring them or my 'bad' side comes out to the detriment of all or I spend the whole game trying to be the hero and saving all the characters that are there just to fill in space.
So is it ok to switch off our morals and ethics or should we be avoiding games, like I have to, because our morals and ethics come into everything?
I know a guy (who will know who he is as soon as he reads this) who is very much like me in personality. He is a BIG time gamer, not as much as he use to be but still a lot more than most people I know. He has very strong ethics and morals in his real life, and he even tries to keep those in games. He will only play good characters, not the bad ones, and he tries not to let his character act in a way that he wouldn't act in real life. But he says that games don't affect him.
I would argue that they must be.
If you are acting in a certain way in a game because of what your ethics are in life, then it could follow that if you acted contrary to your ethics and morals then it would affect you in some way. If it didn't then you wouldn't care.
It is like a story my husband told me recently which goes something like this:
World of Warcraft is a huge multi-player game that is played simultaneously by people all over the world. One of these gamers died in real life so his WoW friends decided to hold a memorial service on the game to honour him. During the memorial service, which a lot of characters attended, another group of people got their characters to attack the memorial service and kill all the people there. There was outrage that they had done this when the others were trying to honour their friend. Their response was "it's a game, we were playing it".
As you can see this is a far more complex situation than just deciding whether or not games affect us. It seems that there now have to be ethics for within games that may have no correlation to ethics within the world.
Is this ok?
When I look at Jesus I find it hard to figure out whether or not he would be for or against gaming. There isn't a section on ethics in gaming in the Bible!
But we are exhorted to focus on what is noble, pure, holy and right. What goes into our heads and hearts will inevitably come out of our mouth and in our actions. And I really don't know if going around killing things and living another 'cyber' life is noble, pure, holy or right.
I have no answers to this and I am really trying to start a discussion on it so please either comment here or on the facebook page https://www.facebook.com/EmbracingTheTension?ref=hl.
At this point in time I am almost decided that I think my friend who puts his ethics into what he plays is perhaps more ok than my husband just playing for the sake of playing. Should our ethics be in everything we do, even in what we play (or read or watch for that matter too)?
Open to comments, please share your thoughts.