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When I think of stuff like this I think of games that pitches you as an underdog in a horrible situation. Examples of this sort of thing include:

Being a slave on a cotton plantation, being forced to fill quotas, being punished, etc.

Being an Anabaptist, or a Huguenot, or a Moravian, at  a time when the hand of every other form of Christianity was turned against them. You will be trying to spread your religion, or immigrating to the new world, without being caught and burned alive.

Another one I have thought of centres around a man named Marcus Licinius Crassus. He was a grossly wealthy Roman in the late Roman Republic. He is most well known today for being a member of the first triumvirate. But he was a also a bit of an innovator, he designed a fire department to put out fires in the great city of Rome. But, this fire department was not a municipial organ. Rather it was a personal business. They would rush to the fire, and then stand their and haggle with the owner of the building, until he would agree to sell it to Crassus at "fire sale prices." At that point the firefighters would put out the fire.This of course brought him a certain degree of wealth and unpopularity. There were also accusations leveled that he would purposely start fires at places that he considered desirable. So, I think that it would be sort of funny to have a lighthearted game where you are competing as multiple, fictional, entrepreneurs who have their firefighters competing for wealth and property. 

I have been thinking about this for a couple of days because this is a thoughtful post that deserves a thoughtful answer.  I'm not going to make any claims to "organized" however but I will do my best haha. First, a couple of my background thoughts on my answer:

I too have been sort of interacting with this question in the realm of books albeit in a less educated way than .  I remember it coming to the forefront of the discussion in the scifi community a few years back when Orson Scott Card said something that a lot of people didn't like.  Honestly, I've forgotten what it was, but I remember a lot of people were questioning whether they could still continue to enjoy his stuff in light of his personal views.  Similarly, I follow the blogs/websites of several authors who I enjoy immensely, but over the past few years have come to realize that our political views are pretty far apart.  This is a bit different than the examples in the original post, as they aren't doing anything that I feel is morally repugnant, but it has made me less inclined to read every post they make or watch every interview.  I still enjoy their books just as much, in both examples. 

On the other hand, I also feel like this whole "court of public opinion" thing has been used too much and too harshly in recent years.  I don't think it is right for heads of companies to be forced to resign or fired because they donated to the "wrong" political group or cause.  And yesterday I found out that a baby sleep consultant whose blog my sister and I follow is getting all kinds of negative PR because people found out she donated to the Trump campaign.  I read one comment where someone basically said something like "I called her and she helped me, she seemed like such a nice person, but now I know I was wrong about her."  All this because the lady donated to a political campaign she disagreed with.  This makes me angry and I think this is wrong. 

Then I started thinking about moral standards.  The problem with humanity trying to enforce moral standards is that everyone's can differ.  What some people believe might be right, others might believe is wrong.  As a Christian, I believe that the moral standard comes from God.  He has told us what is right and wrong, and it isn't my responsibility to decide.  Indeed, I cannot, because I don't make the rules of the universe.  The Bible also tells us that humanity is sinful as a whole (i.e. not going to follow God's standards) and that the only way we can follow these standards is though the work of Jesus and the Holy Spirit.  The Bible also tells me that I'm to encourage my fellow Christians to follow God's laws and, if necessary and I have a relationship with them, to call them out if they're not (Mat. 18:15-16).  I'm not responsible for pointing out when non-believers aren't following God's laws.  Of course, there is also civil law, which is something we're all supposed to follow, enforced by the police, etc.  The solution then, isn't to lead some public outcry or crusade, but instead seek to convert them, then their standards should become self-enforcing haha.  I jest, but that really is the only ultimate solution for trying to repair another human's behavior. 

In summary, because the world is a fallen world, I'm not surprised when non-Christians don't follow God's law.  This isn't to say I'm not saddened or angered by it, but why should I be expecting them to hold to a standard they don't believe in?  (Also, I'm not trying to say that Christians don't mess up, of course we do, the path of improvement is sometimes slow.  And then their fellow believers have the responsibility to try to correct them when that happens.)  I should instead be telling them about how Jesus died for the things that they do wrong and would like to restore them to righteousness if they would only trust in his way. 

So all that to say:

1.1 - I think maybe, depends on the situation.  Certainly if criminal things are happening then yes.  If someone is hurting someone else then yes.  But if some things that are just bad behavior then probably not.  But if I ever were the first person to find out about such behavior, then I would confront them in person and not blast it to the internet.  If I were to find out via the internet, I would not feel that it was my responsibility to inform any of the rest of the world who might not know about such behavior. 

1.2 and 1.3 - No, it is not our responsibility.  If you feel that it is the right thing for you to do then that's fine.  Certainly Christians have boycotted businesses that they feel are not promoting positive ideals.  But I wouldn't say that we have a moral obligation to do so. 

2 - For me I think yes.  If I were to limit myself to only those things that come from moral people (and again, who gets to define who is a moral person or not) then I would have very few options in terms of entertainment.

3. This one I think is a no because of Phil. 4:8 which reads: "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."  However, I would say that this is different from reading widely to learn about other worldviews as you stated in your example.  I think there is a difference between trying to educate oneself on different perspectives and enjoying "morally repugnant ideology" in game form.  I also agree with that there can be games that deal with tough subjects in a respectful way, but if its pushing the bad ideology then its not something I want to spend my time in. 

I thank each and every one of you who has responded thus far. But, as reminded me yesterday, I asked for your viewpoints without giving ya'll mine. So, I will do so here, now. But, before I give you my answer, I do want to give just a little bit of background.

I am a person who read a LOT growing up. In fact I averaged over well over 200 full length books a year until 2016, which was the year that my son was born. Something I always found very interesting, and even important, in books was to determine the worldview of the author. For me, analyzing the plot, the rising crescendo, the denouement, the whole fabric of the book is and was fascinating. I loved looking at the little literary devices that the author chose to use. But, for me, the most interesting part of reading was trying to determine what the worldview of the author was when he/she wrote the book. Reading does broaden one's horizon, in some very potentially helpful ways. And, it can change the way one thinks. I however have found that if one can identify the worldview, that does tend to armor you a bit against bad worldviews. I think most of us can do this to some point. For example, in my post I mentioned Mein Kampf which is Hitler's famous book wherein he lays out his views on all sorts of stuff. I will further mention The Communist Mannifesto the worldview in this book is super obvious. And, I think that most people with the bare modicum of logical thinking and historical knowledge won't have a problem reading it, they won't be swayed by it. They are aware of the worldview, usually before they even go and read it.

Why do I spend this time talking about books in a post about games? It is because I find many similarities between books and games. I do find that games are often, not always, expressions of a small part of the designers worldview. I think that it is a much more limited medium, but, in great games, there is often some sort of authorial intent behind the game. Again, this is a more limited medium than books, but, it is interesting to think of the authorial biases going into the design. If nothing else, even in the simplest games, there is interesting ideas of what the designer thinks of fun.


Why do I spend this time on this preamble? It is to explain why I really cannot seperate the art from the artist. I honestly don't believe that there is such a thing as a neutral medium. Any medium in which one communicates to another, be it books, or speech, or visual arts, or films, or etc.... is inherently subject to the biases and views of the communicator. Even if they are just "writing books for the money" the books that they write do give interesting messages about what they believe the masses want. The same goes for movies, or pictures, or, ..... Games.


So, if I cannot, or at the least find it very difficult to, seperate the art from the artist, what is my responsiblity in choosing where to spend my time and money when it comes to games?

  • I agree with that being informed is important. I think it is ok to call out bad stuff. I think it is even important to call out bad stuff. But, far more people pass judgment without understanding, or desiring to understand the context.
  • I will, almost necessarily, at a minimum, engage with people I disagree with in any medium I consume. This includes games. Of course, some games, were designed by people who's actions or worldviews whose views are actually repellent. I will  not find, I doubt that you will, find a game, or any other medium, whose creator(s) line up with your worldview.
  • G.K. Chesterton reminded us that "Art, like morality, consists of drawing the line somewhere." I do think that it is ok to draw lines and say that "everything on that side of the line, is something I won't touch." I don't think it is a problem to see cultural appropriation in Tascini's game, for example, and decide that you won't devote time or money to them. I, for example, have decided not to play games by Harry Wu A.K.A. John Bohrer because of the generally despicably way he has treated everybody in the game design industry who has worked with him. It is almost as if he really does see himself as adopting the worldview portrayed in one of his 18xx games.
  • Actively reject the bad. For instance, if you are playing a game by Eklund and you see racism, or you see praises for colonialism, reject it. Reject it personally, if you are playing with someone, point out the problem and dialog with it.
  • I think it disengenious to have huge problems with games that glorify colonial conquest, for example. But, then love a good fantastical or sci-fi 4x game. I recognize that there are some differences, in that in the colonial conquest one, real people were, and continue to be affected. That being said. Both games are representing and fostering the same worldview. I believe that you have a equal responsibilty to call out the problematic issues with the scifi game as with the historical game.


Do I think there is space for morally repungant games in my collection. I think, for me, yes. I cannot answer that question for you. I remember the first time that I toured the holocaust museum in Washington D.C. My overwhelming feeling was that real people, ordinary people, were the perpetrators of this atrocity. Ordinary people, conservative Christians, looked the other way during Hitler's rise to power, and they even enabled him, because he did institute effective economic reform. I was privilaged to speak with a survivor or Auschwitze one time. The stories he told were made even more chilling when I remembered that the horrors he saw and experienced were perpetrated by humans who were "merely doing their job." I do believe that this lesson is important. I don't think we are in some sort of special place in human history. I don't think that we are really at a higher plane than our slave owning ancestors, or our ancestors that enjoyed public executions, or our ancestors who viewed torture as the most expedient ways of arriving at the truth. I believe that when we lose sight of this fact. When we lose sight that we, as humans, are prone to ignore the suffering we are inflicting on others in the pursuit of our own good. For me, if I play a game that I violently disagree with, it does do a valuable service reminding me, that real humans perpetrated the problems I have with the games. We are often reminded that the slave trade was trade in humans. This is a lesson we dare not forget. But, neither dare we forget that this trade in humans was, in fact, perpetrated by humans. And, that, even people who rejected the slave trade, supported it by their tastes for commodities produced by slave trade. So, to the extant that games require me to examine my position, jostle my mind and remind me of a blind spot that I might have, than these games with problematic games can serve as a valuable part of my collection.

That being said, I would hesitate to play a game with problematic issues with, slavery for example, with someone whose life has personally been negatively affected by slavery or the after effects. I however would play it with someone who might be turning a blind eye to the after affects, and engage with them about it afterwards, to try to get them to see if they have some sort of complicity.

On the same topic, I recently read an interesting review of #The Mission: Early Christianity from the Crucifixion to the Crusades at Space-Biff:

It's a solo game, sort of spiritual ;) successor to the Victory Point Games States of Siege games.

Sounds like an interesting game on its own merit, not even counting the fact that it's a Christian game. 

Def looks like an interesting concept. Though I think it may be a solid game, I am always somewhat weary of certain modes of entertainment that apply a veneer of Christianity, mainly because I think it can be more confusing than helpful for those who are not Christian. Never played this game so I'm not sure what my thoughts on it would be!

As a Theology teacher who generally doesn't care for things that are "Christian" just for the sake of being "Christian" I can say this game plays very nicely and would work even with a different theme.  (If that all makes sense).

I think it can undermine the beautiful truths and also the severity of persecution and suffering and turning it into a mere game. If that makes sense haha 

but again I've never played this game, this is more so my general opinion of certain Christian movies and whatnot. 

I think about this idea whenever I try to think about designing a game with a Christian theme or based on something in the Bible. Especially with Old Testament wars and would you represent God's role in that? How do you respectfully do that? Or create any kind of balanced game? If the Bible is God's word, do you really want to make a game that takes a story from it and possibly ends with a different outcome? 


I totally get that. I think thats where I land a little bit. I think that is why I dont particularly like "Jesus Jukes" since it attempts to make light somethings that are indeed not light matters or truths. Which then can lead to being desensitized to weighty truths. I think Christian culture attempts very hard to "christianize" things that dont need to be.

 I hear you and that definitely does make sense. I agree that the gospel should never be taken lightly.  It is the foundation of our new lives in Christ after all! I haven't played this game with those things specifcally in mind, but I feel like this game is respectful of the topic, its sort of like a game version of the book of Acts, and its more than just a veneer.  Though I have only played this game with other believers and we all enjoyed the attention to detail that they do with the theme.  I haven't played it with non-believers and I don't know if its just me, but when you're consuming Christian media with non-believers it gives you kind of a different perspective on how they might see it.  Which I definitely feel like applies to the whole Christian movie thing. 

For anyone looking for Christian games:

I'm no christian at all and the notion "christian games" makes me raise an eyebrow but I've been following #Deliverance and it seems like a solid game.

I am a Christian and Christian games cause me to raise an eyebrow lol

i will say, though deliverance has Christian words and really loose ties, I'd say it's just a fantasy that has nothing to do with Christianity besides it's borrowed and reimagined concepts.

Yeah the concept of Christian games also makes me raise an eyebrow.