We underestimate the influence of video games

Video GamesI’m a pretty active gamer. I can’t afford to play all the latest video games as they come out nor do I even want to anyway, but I do have a couple favorite games that I’ve played for years. The adrenaline rush, the sense of heroic accomplishment domination and the excitement of out-performing opponents make for a very addicting mix.

A lot of youth workers talk about the media’s influence on culture in reference to music, TV, movies and celebrities and rarely in reference to World of Warcraft, DDR, Guitar Hero and Halo. The reality is that video games are no longer an entertainment genre for overweight geeks in suspenders and thick glasses. They’re mainstream now and have been for at least two generations. Last week Halo 3 broke the world record for the most revenue earned in a single day by any form of entertainment: $170 million in 24 hours! World of Warcraft has over 9 million players and experts say that up to 40% of them are clinically addicted. (I have my own theories about why World of Warcraft and MMORPGs in general are so addictive.) According to the Entertainment Software Association, the average age of video game buyer is 38 years old and 38% of them are women, meaning that video games are not just for young teenage boys with no jobs, as the common perception may be.

Video games are a living and breathing part of our culture and will only continue to grow. As youth workers, some of us make a necessary effort to stay up-to-date on music and fashion, but let’s also not forget to educate ourselves on video games and the fantasy worlds they create. We need to be aware of the messages and values kids are unconsciously swallowing and teach them to consciously filter it all through scripture.

[If you’re not familiar with World of Warcraft, check out my blog series on World of Warcraft FAQs for Christians.]

[tags]Halo 3, World of Warcraft, DDR, Guitar Hero[/tags]

Posted on October 2, 2007

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