Friday, July 6, 2012

My Journey With[out] Video Games

Today I got my first taste of Xbox 360 gaming in 1 month and 6 days.  I hosted a team development day for the Center for Student Involvement and Student Lounge staff at JCCC.  The lounge recently purchased 4 new games, so I had to provide training for our team on how they work.  (The gamers out there probably want to know which games: Child of Eden, TC's Ghost Recon Future Soldier, Street Fighter X Tekken, and MLB 12 The Show).  After providing a brief introduction to the 2 games for Kinect, our team spent the next hour and a half playing them.  The big hit was Future Soldier.  Within about 30 minutes, our entire team had circled around a single television to cheer on our co-workers to victory, switching controllers every few games.  @yddy and @unethicalvegan were both there, plus several other members of our team.  Finally, Devon and I teamed up to try our hand at this first-person shooter. 

Devon's LMG and my sniper rifle only got us so far.  I finally decided to change to an assault rifle as we moved from one wave to the next in guerrilla mode.  The girls from our staff were crowded around shouting "duck," "take cover," "over there," "shoot, shoot, shoot" and various other excited directions.  (I'm not trying to be sexist here, Devon and I were the only guys in the room).  The glory of gaming had entirely consumed me.  As the big hand on the clock inched closer to the 12, I knew that this small time of reliving my video game days was going to end along with our team meeting.  As 2pm came, I began packing up the gear high on the adrenaline offered by the tense gun fights and proud of our accomplishment of making it farther than any other team.

If we wouldn't have set an end time on our training day, I would probably still be playing now.

That is why I quit gaming back on June 2.  That's why my xbox and games are listed for sale on craigslist.  If there isn't something to make me turn off the console, I never just turn off the console.

I hear people ask How can you just sit there and play for hours like that?  I usually answer, "I don't know, it's pretty easy to do!" I usually think How can you not? 

Gearing up for today's event has been hard on my video-game free life.  I know that some might be thinking "If you gave up gaming, why did you play today?"  That's a good question.  It was my first social setting centered around video games since I stopped playing.  I am not sure yet if I made the right decision or not, perhaps that's why I am blogging about it. 

I don't think video games are inherently wrong, evil, or sinful. I just don't think the gaming life is right for me.  In fact, I am positive that I am going in the right direction in giving up gaming. 

It was when I was preparing for church board elections at our church that I realized I needed to quite.  I was about to ask folks to serve as leaders and was describing the ideal candidates as I read these words:

"This would include the avoidance of all types of entertainment ventures and media productions that produce, promote, or feature the violent, the sensual, the pornographic, the profane, or the occultic, or which feature or glamorize the world’s philosophy of secularism, sensualism, and materialism and undermine God’s standard of holiness of heart and life...We suggest that the standard given to John Wesley by his mother, namely, “whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, or takes off the relish of spiritual things, whatever increases the authority of your body over mind, that thing for you is sin,” form the basis for this teaching of discrimination." From the Covenant of Christian Conduct, Paragraph 34.1

It's not that I think that holiness or Christianity is legalistic.  It's that I know that I have very little self-control when it comes to video games I often neglect other aspects of life (like sleep and on-going projects).  For me, video games hinder my further growth as a Christian, husband, dad, and man.  Giving up video games hasn't been about about follow certain rules or expectations, it's been about investing more in my relationship with God, my family, my church, and others.  It's not about law, it's about life.  Now that gaming is not a part of my regular routine, I am able to dedicate time to other aspects of life.
I make dinner for my family a couple times each week.
I read, write, and reflect theologically a lot more.
I am more likely to see what needs to be done around the house and actually do it (I can improve a great deal in this area though, too)
I am all around a better pastor and man.

Will I ever make video games a regular part of my life again?  I don't know. Maybe if they can ever be a part without hindering my relationship with God, others, or my own aspirations.

I am still exploring this life of new found freedom.  I am still learning new ways to spend my time.  Questions like "is playing the Wii the same as playing the Xbox for me?" cross my mind on occasion.  This is all new, but it has been all good.

Thanks for listening to me think out loud on this subject!
On another note, I have noticed a big difference in Manny Silva's blog recently. I can't say for sure that he read My Verdict or My Review, but I can definitely see a change.  Silva doesn't seem to approve any more comments from folks with different opinions than him.  At first this frustrated me because he stopped approving my comments.  But then I noticed that it cut down on all comments on his blog.  It's overall a happier place.  Silva still takes a somewhat adversarial tone in the blogs himself, but at least this decision has cut down on mean comments and the perception of the blog being popular.
NEXT WEEK on the Listening Inside Out blog you will find a whole series on the importance of being a part of a local Christian community.  Be ready for fresh ideas from guest bloggers!

1 comment:

  1. A couple things. I also noticed the reduction in comments in Manny's blog. Kind of saddened me since I check back periodically to review the comments. Interestingly, I made a comment about the immigration article under the name "shawn" and never heard a response. I think my question was too rational and specific to deserve an answer.
    In relation to x-box video games, I still play but I have no problem stopping. I play for an hour and then quite. Then I go for weeks and don't touch it. Its just fun for me some times. But I can play computer games for hours at night while we watch tv or my wife does homework.
    I think you made a good point however about the holy conduct. I first bought a PS3 with call of duty. I returned it after one day! It was so violent and too many movie shoots. about a year later I got the Xbox. But I've noticed a big change in the games I play now since when I had the PS2. They are way more realistic, violent, bloody...and there are way too many "movie moments." That is my biggest complaint and why I pick my games carefully. I'm still old-school and don't want to see all the violence and realism. I also don't want to watch the movies for the storyline. I just want to play, so I still the play the wii oldschool games I have.


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