Game Developers Urged to Reflect Christian Values Through Video Games

Fri, Jul 29, 2011

Games, Technology

Christian leaders, authors and game developers gathered together last week to discuss opportunities for Christians developing video games. A group of professionals were in attendance at the Christian Game Developers conference to share proven gaming techniques and offer inspiration and encouragement for game developers who are Christians.
Keynote presenter Os Hillman, an internationally recognized speaker on the subject of faith at work and the author of 11 books, shared his thoughts on issues affecting Christian Entertainment. These include his insights around the seven mountains of influence on our culture – business, government, media, arts and entertainment, education, the family and religion – and how to spread the word and influence through the gifts a person is given.
“We live in a culture that is often being driven by entertainment. Culture is most defined by arts and entertainment because this is where people’s values can be shaped and games can play a major role in reinforcing Christian values,” said Os Hillman, president, Marketplace Leaders, author of Change Agent. “I challenge creators to develop games that provide a means of thinking differently by engaging in entertainment that can incorporate wholesome fun and stimulation for the mind, but also stimulate their thinking in new ways.”
“To date there hasn’t been a lot of leadership in the Christian gaming space,” said Mark Soderwall, President, Authority 5 Entertainment. “However, with new technology advancements that require less capital investment, developers are starting to make games that matter as they figure out how to connect game play with values. Everybody is searching for meaning, but nobody knows how to do it. If Christians can show how to bring meaning to games, they have a chance to stand above the rest.”
The main theme coming out of the conference was that games are an art form that can reflect Truth and express the story of God in a way that is unique and different. The challenge for Christian game developers is to reflect, not teach, God’s Truth without overstepping the game play medium. Instead of trying to explain or teach the Bible, game developers have an opportunity to reflect Christian values within the game, allowing individuals to explore and test intrinsic principles and morals in distinctive and entertaining ways.
“Games provide a unique medium to reinforce societal and Christian values like cooperation, trust, hope or even sacrifice, which are found throughout the scriptures,” said Tim Johnson, entrepreneur, game developer and Founder of ideakindler. “So, for example gameplay could focus on working with others to accomplish what you want, or giving up something of great value for future gain that isn’t about self-gratification but rather about giving something up for another.”
Christian Game Developer conference attendees shared best practices for helping game developers capitalize on new technology trends, including: 
  • Storytelling techniques for game play
  • Leveraging new multi-game player technology
  • Best visual practices in Game art and design
Although a good story is a critical part of games with value, even more important is how game developers view their own story and how they weave that into what they are creating.
“The story you believe is going on determines how you react to life. People use excuses because we’re afraid to live our story, so we let all the negative perceptions overcome us,” said Gary Barkalow, author and founder of The Noble Heart ministry. “The secret to our existence is to go with our desire, which is in our heart. When your desire or passion is taken away, it empties you. But there is more going on than you know and you are more than you ever dreamed.”
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