January 8, 2010

In the Beginning ...

*standing up* Hi everyone, my name is Jason, and I'm a Christian video gamer *sitting down*.

I am actually not afraid to admit this.  I am a video game fa-NAT-ic.  Unfortunately, being an avid video gamer AND a Christian tends to sound like Greek to the common ear, so my only fear is of being judged.  Not entirely by non-Christians, but possibly more so by other Christians.  It is possible to be a gaming fan and believe in, and worship, Jesus.  But, before we wax poetic and philosophize like crazy, allow me to say a couple of things first ...

First, welcome!  By however means you've ended up reading these words, I'm glad you're here.  My name is Jason and I live in Texas.  I am an actor at a Christian theatre company, but more than that I am an artist, a performing artist, a Believer artist.  All my life I've been enthralled with storytelling whether it be from literature, film, stage, screen, or console.  Storytelling is an art, therefore I view video games as an art form, an under appreciated and oft maligned art form and will continue to view them as such.

Second, I, by no means, know everything, especially about God and how His Spirit moves.  I can really only speak honestly from the work I've seen in my own life and what He's done inside of me.  I've been a Believer since I was 12 years old and the best I can sum up about my faith (if you can really "sum up" the Lord) is that God works differently in each of us ... for the same goal.  All of God's roads lead to Rome, the others take you to, I don't know ... Gomorrah, I guess.  Anyway, I'm still learning and God will continue showing me new things until my dying breath.

Third, despite my drive, I know there are plenty of games out there that are, how to put this ... the worst things ever.  And I don't mean crappy control schemes, or grainy graphics, but content-wise (though crappy control schemes and grainy graphics do fall under my "worst things ever" rating system).  I've never been a fan of Grand Theft Auto.  I played a bit of III, which really was just me driving recklessly, fighting recklessly, and shooting rocket launchers very recklessly for a few hours, which was fun when I was a freshman in college; I also watched someone play San Andreas and IV and had no desire to actually take the controls.  Even if critics praise GTA IV's story and its portrayal of the modernly skewed American dream, that story seems better fit for film.

Third, part II, there is no perfect game out there.  Pretty much every non-family/non-party/non-Disney-licensed game has at least "Mild animated violence," and in my opinion 99% of all games that have a decent story contain higher levels of violence, blood, language, even "sexual themes" (which to me is practically a deciding factor in not playing some games, e.g.  the Dead or Alive series).  I think of some of the better movies:  Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan, Braveheart, and wonder how effective they would be if they were like their also awesome, but classic counterparts of Citizen Kane, Gone With the Wind, Casablanca; they might not have been as effective.  This isn't an argument against censorship.  I love any story well told and presented in the best way possible with the limitations you have.  I actually believe it's possible to be more creative with censorship; just talk to any film director during the Hays Code years (in actuality, as an artist, I am not in favor of censorship in many things, but email me if you have any questions concerning that).  I'm sure I might understand Niko Bellic's jaded story in GTA IV if I didn't have to control and participate ... but I'm sure I'll make comments about these concepts and similar motifs in later posts, which brings me to my final point in this one.

Why am I doing this?  What do I hope to accomplish?  For some time I have been looking for an outlet that combines my love for Christ and enjoyment of video games.  I want this blog to be a source of video game opinions and news with a Christian slant.  I can be objective to a point, but my faith is always present no matter what I'm playing, whether you agree with my thoughts or not.  This is not a religious site.  It is a gaming blog.  I read tons of video game news and try to be aware and well versed in the medium.  But I'm a Christian and I can't ignore that.  This is who I am.  So where we go, we'll see.  I guess that's what blogging is all about, huh?  I hope you enjoy whatever comes up and realize that I'm not a guy with an agenda to change the world, but a guy doing his best to do it all for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).

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