The Distraction of Entertainment

SAN FRANCISCO - NOVEMBER 18:  A Costco custome...

In the previous articles in this series we discussed how we have neglected our mission field because we have gotten too comfortable in our life here, in the culture.  We think nothing of this problem but when we look at Scripture and it says that to be partakers of the things of this world makes us enemies with God, then we have to ask ourselves if it is time to give up the things of this earth to pursue God.

I know what many of you are thinking. At the suggestion of having to do away with some of your toys, your fun stuff, you will get all defensive. “But God wants us to enjoy our life” or “Don’t be so legalistic, we have freedom in Christ!”

I know you are thinking this because it is what I am thinking. My flesh wants to fight this thought. I see others enjoying their life here and I want to enjoy it too.

I am not saying that we are supposed to live in total depravity of everything fun. But would that really be a bad thing?

The closer I draw to Jesus the less I care about entertainment and the more I want to just serve Him. It doesn’t become a slave relationship where I can’t have any fun for fear of being struck by lightning; it becomes something where I love serving God so much that to think of spending my time playing games or watching tv just feels like such a waste in comparison!

You may think this is crazy talk, that I am still just denying myself the entertainment that our culture feels it is so entitled to, but when we get to heaven and stand before God, are we really going to be proud of all that time we spent in entertainment? Will we be proud that we spent 7,000 hours of our life watching television and movies, or another 20,000 hours playing video games?

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. – Colossians 3:1-3

The only time we find entertainment important in our lives is when we are not close with God. The more we focus on the things of God, the less time we want to spend on entertainment.

Think about when you were dating. When you start out getting to know each other and falling in love with each other.  Did you just spend all of your time staring at the tv? Is that how your relationship developed?  Sure you go to the movies and sometimes watch shows together but a majority of your time is spent talking, and interacting together.  This is how you got to know each other.

You fall in love with that person and want to spend all of your time with them. Just because you would rather spend time with your boyfriend or girlfriend instead of watch tv does not mean that you are depraving yourself of entertainment, does it? The entertainment truly doesn’t matter to you in comparison.

It is this way with God. The more we fall in love with God the less we care about the things of this world, the less we care about what the culture cares about.

So focus on heaven, focus on Christ, and focus on our mission here on Earth!

But beware, this world, satan, your flesh, will fight against you and distract you and make you lose that focus.

let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us

Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. – Hebrews 12:1, 3

Why I am leaving PC gaming…

I have been playing PC games for years…okay…12 years to be exact.  I have greatly enjoyed the time I have played them; however, that time is coming to an end.  No, I am not quitting video games…as a matter of fact I still plan on playing a lot.  Anyways, time to stop boring you with my rambling and get to the point.

Why am I leaving PC gaming…?

MMORPGs…

Well, a lot of reasons actually.  For the last 12 years, since I got into PC gaming, I mostly played MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games).  There are rather large problems with MMORPGs.

First, they are timesinks, meaning they consume a LOT of your time to be fun and to unlock the full potential of the game.  Second, they support addictive properties that can pull in just about anyone, and get you to play hours every day; while you neglect your family, friends, and other responsibilities.

Third, since most never have any completion, they have to attract you with what is called “Carrot on a Stick” tactics; this means they tease you with the next best thing (weapon, armor, mount, dungeon), only to get to the next best thing after that.  Basically, chase the carrot on a stick, once you finally reach it, here is another.  Don’t get me wrong, fun is fun, and some of them are fun, but in the end, they all go to this tactic.

Fourth…ehh, I could keep going, but I bet I am starting to bore you.

Pause!

Another reason I am leaving PC gaming is due to most PC games being mostly online, you have no pause functionality.  Pause is important in so many ways, but instead of putting them all here, take the time to think about how a pause button could be useful to you in any situation.

$MONEY$

So many people argue that PC gaming and console gaming end up costing the same amount in the end, and I have ready multiple articles backing it.  However, in my own research, and in my own situation, this is not true by any means.

In order to keep my computer up to date and playing the current games, I need to spend $200-400 a year on new hardware.  And you still have the buy the games to play on it.  In the last 3 years I have spent roughly $1200 upgrading a computer I spent $1500 four years ago.  So in four years that is $2700, not counting games.

In the last 2 years, including the price of the console, I have spent roughly $800 on my Xbox 360 AND games!  If I added 2 years of games onto that, (I rarely buy games new) I may have spent $100-$150.  So, we are comparing $2700 to $950.

And we are not done!  In order to play multiplayer games, everyone I want to play with must have the game as well.  2 of the main people I play with are my wife, and my brother, and my brother doesn’t have a job, so I must purchase his games for him.  This means if we all want to play a new PC game, that is $180 for me.  Most Xbox 360 games have up to 4 player split-screen multiplayer.  That means buying one game, and being in the same room with the other players.  Double win in my opinion.

Plus, I am also maintaining both of their computers, but figuring that in would just make the PC gaming cost crazy.

Being a better person?

I don’t know about you, but when I get off a PC game, I don’t just get right off the computer and spend time with my family; more likely I check forums, facebook, and do other web activities.  Before I know it, a 2-3 hour gaming session just turned into 4 due to forums and facebook.  When I play my Xbox 360, most of the time after a maybe 1 hour gaming session, I instantly go to my family or to something I need to get done.  This greatly improves your chances of getting the house clean 😀

I have noticed time spent with my family, and getting other things done greatly increased since lowering my PC gaming time.  Not only that, but it is easy to get your family involved with the Xbox 360 than it is with a PC game.

Being a better person…in Christ! ^_^

Don’t get me wrong, Christians gaming is not wrong.  Nor is Christians playing games for countless hours of the night.  When it is wrong, is when it interferes with your family, your friends, and your walk with God.  I openly encourage gaming, now and probably always will.  As a matter of fact I am a member of a very large Christian gaming clan called Tribe of Judah ( http://toj.cc ).

Gaming is not only a good form of entertainment, but it also provides a wonderful way to have fun with friends and family.  (In my opinion, it is one-hundred times better than spending time watching TV.)

Stepping away from PC gaming will give me a lot more time for God, and Bible study.  I will be able to focus more on who I should be in Christ, and have more time to help others.

Overall

I am leaving PC gaming because (for me) it is unhealthy, time consuming, inconvenient and expensive.  And my friends and family will benefit from more time with me. 🙂

Christ Centered Gamer – Game Reviews

Today I am going to give you a review/overview of ccgr.org.

ccgr.org is a very unique website, it’s main purpose is to review video games from a Christian perspective. One thing I want to point out from the start is they don’t get games bad reviews for violence and stuff, they actually give a game score, and a morality score.

ccgr.org has a nice way of reviewing games. If we look here at their review of New Vegas, you will see a “Game Info” box that provides a lot of information on the game, from System Requirements to ESRB rating. There is usually always a gameplay video. A “Highlights” box (my favorite), and then the score breakdown.

Let’s take a look at how they breakdown scores (for New Vegas):

Game Score – 82%
Game Play: 16/20
Graphics: 9/10
Sound: 8/10
Stability: 3/5
Controls/Interface: 5/5

Morality Score – 32%
Violence: 0/10
Language: 0/10
Sexual Content: 0/10
Occult/Supernatural: 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical: 6/10

We see they gave it a 82% game score, and a 32% morality score. In the game score, the higher the number the better the game. In the morality the score, the lower the scores, the more immoral the game is. I love this feature, because anytime I have ever tried to use Christian game review sites before, they always give games bad reviews for violence and language and what not. ccgr.org provides a much better way of reviewing from a Christian prospective than I have ever seen.

And on top of all of this, their reviews are good…and not just something thrown together. The reviews are worth reading, and the site is very good.

The next time you need a review of a game, whether to see if the game is good, or to see how immoral a game is, ccgr.org provides a excellent way getting the info you need.

Side-note: They also have forums, IRC, and game servers!