Theology of Video Games

Today I met some level three Theology and Religious Studies students at the university who have signed up to the ‘Students as Scholars’ scheme where they are assigned to a sort of mentor (me), who encourages them to go to seminars etc for research purposes and discuss them afterwards. So, aside from generally being a fascinating bunch, and sharing interest in literature and film, they had been to a seminar on theology and video games.

This is an aspect of popular culture that I hadn’t really thought about before, but one that could prove very interesting. In terms of meaning-making processes, identity, control, video games would seem to have a lot to answer for.

One student was telling me that there is a marked difference between American video games, which are about killing people, taking control of countries, justifying violence etc, and Japanese games, which are about appreciating open space, being ambitious, etc. This reminded me of the film American Sniper, which we have just recently seen at the pictures, and which seems to fit with what he was saying about American video games. They had also read the autobiography of the real-life American Sniper, and apparently it was not all as rosy as the film makes out. Another book to add to the ‘to read’ list…

Personally, I don’t often play video games so much any more (unless they are of a more sedate variety such as football manager, or further into the past The Sims). I struggle to make good use of my Wii, though I can occasionally be found playing Tony Hawks or Mario Kart. My days of Tekken and Medal of Honour are long gone.

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