My office and home are filled with video games and video game memorabilia. I’m a sucker for special editions of games so I’ve got a statue of Altair from Assassin’s Creed, an artbook from Final Fantasy X-2 and Master Chief’s full-size helmet from Halo 3. I can say with complete certainty, though, that the collectible from Dead Island Riptide will never adorn my shelves.
A severed head and some bloody breasts are definitely conversation starters, but not necessarily a conversation I’d like to have. After announcing the bloody collectible, Dead Island Riptide’s publisher Deep Silver has also had some conversations I’m sure it would like to have avoided.
The gaming and nerd community questioned the collectible, wondering if Deep Silver had gone too far. Based upon the games being made, gamers don’t mind sex and violence in their video games. Apparently, though, they do mind physical representations of that sex and violence. Virtual blood and novelty-sized breasts are acceptable, but an actual statue celebrating those is unacceptable.
That bloody, well-endowed statue is really just a mirror for our own brokenness.
Deep Silver wouldn’t have produced that statue if there wasn’t an audience for it. A lot of gamers are young men who love sex and violence. I’ve played video games most of my life and I’ve even given into the violent and titillating temptations of video games. Every human is broken, including gamers. The desire for sex and violence is a symptom of that brokenness, one that video game companies have been taking advantage of for years.
Now I’m not going to tell anyone to stop playing violent video games or ones with suggestive themes. Most of my favorite video games have some level of violence and they haven’t pulled me away from Jesus yet. I will say, though, that we need to be aware of what feelings and desires video games are attempting to address.
If a game is trying to fulfill our God-given sexual desire in a manner that dishonors God, perhaps that’s a game we should leave on the shelf.
If a game is lessening our desire to resolve conflict and increasing our desire to pursue it, perhaps that’s another game we should leave on the shelf.
A desire for sex and violence can be an example of our deep brokenness. Instead of deepening that brokenness through video games and other media, we should look to Christ to heal our brokenness and make us whole.
And if Jesus can do that while we slay dragons in Skyrim that’s even better.
How do you keep violent and sexual video games from influencing you?