Confession: I am confused about how nonresistance plays itself out in games.
I used to scold Someone I knew for enjoying computer games of conquest and domination (Civilization, Age of Empires) until Someone took me to task for enjoying board games like Battleship. And what about chess? said Someone.
Excuse me? I said. What about chess? Chess is the epitome of innocence and antiquity.
Oh, said Someone. So it’s all about the graphics? If the king bleeds and the pawns cry, then you object.
Now I’m royally confused.
I feel certain of several things—that games are practice for real life. And that they shape us more than we’d like to admit, that they train us by repetition.
But this further confuses the issue. What about competition, a key component in every game but the Ungame, which drives me nuts? Competition can be healthy, says I, but simultaneously I see it as the ultimate evil, the Me First mentality poisoning modern culture, as propaganda and television give daily proof.
If Jesus taught us to love our enemies and put others first, what does this mean about our games? Does it affect what we play, or merely how we play it, or what? Is it better if I shoot the horses from under the soldiers instead of shooting the soldiers? If I play Sorry with you and am really Sorry when I bump off your piece, is that better than if I play Sorry with you and laugh?
I see you rolling your eyes. What kind of radical is this?
Well, Shari asks herself these things, and in the meantime has a cupboard full of games: Taboo and Pictionary and Uno, Othello and Phase 10 and Chutes and Ladders, Acquire and Scotland Yard and Chess. I play them all, though Ryan and I are forced to renew our wedding vows each time we play Acquire, and my sister and I refuse to play Pictionary with our parents because we can’t afford the counseling their marriage requires afterward.
(As with all of my jokes, this is mostly nonsense.)
And anyway, I will just hazard a guess that, ridiculous as it sounds, graphics do have something to do with gaming ethics after all… Think about it. If I told you to aim a gun at a square of cardboard and pull the trigger, you’d do it. If I cut the cardboard into the silhouette of a human, you’d find it harder, right? If I painted the silhouette to look like a portrait, suddenly you’d be facing some serious resistance. And if I add animation, the cardboard image crumpling, grimacing, bleeding, very few of you would you be able pull the trigger.
Don’t you think we train our souls what to be okay with?
Of course I don’t play games of first-person-shooter. But for me, Battleship had to go. Chess remains.
What do you think? Push on me.
PS–My husband is boss for the month. Wretchedness! But here’s my sweet consolation prize.