Game Over: Video Games and Values

ByAksel Satrom on Apr 09, 2023.

Have you ever been really into a video game? Perhaps you were too into it. While Video games offer an appealing form of escapism, they distract you with fictitious goals. Consequently we must counteract this by reminding ourselves of our own priorities. We can regain focus by using common sense and thinking about what we value.

Image of video game controllers.

When I sat down to play a video game that night, I didn’t expect to be playing into the wee hours of the night. I was enjoying myself, and making tons of progress. When I finally had the common sense to switch off my computer, brain fried, where was the fruit of my labor?

Does this sound familiar to you? What happened was my own goals were being temporarily replaced. I stopped thinking about what was best for me, and was absorbed with collecting the next achievement or winning the next match. Even after the game was switched off, my mind still swam with thoughts about it. I forgot my own priorities and as a result my brain got fried.

Collecting fake video game rewards is similar to, perhaps even worse than, hoarding goods. As written in Matthew 6:19 “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:” What is even more temporal than laying up riches on earth? Laying them up in the cheap digital unreality offered through video games.

Furthermore, it is later stated in verse 21 of the same chapter “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” With this in mind do we really want our hearts to be devoted to video games, or is there something greater where our effort should lie? We often need to remind ourselves what we stand for and what is important. Spending too much time in video games could result in us missing out on blessings in this life and the next.

By focusing on our own goals, we can game without getting gamed ourselves. Using common sense is the first step to recognizing that video games are just silly games. With this mindset we Christians can put into focus what is truly important: fearing God and keeping his commandments.