It is no secret that I am a follower of the blog-o-sphere. I read my wife’s, the Maggi two + Daniel and Keegan’s all regularly. However, despite my best efforts, to this point I could not bring myself to do it. I would start with an idea and the truth is I just don’t think I am all that important. I love Christ, but many smarter than I have paved, repaved and built freeways on that topic that would blow anything I would say away (see desiringgod.org/blog). I would write about the latest gaming news and my opinions, but it takes too much effort and people put in more time than I have (GoNintendo.com is my favorite for that). Lately, though, something in me has begun to change. Something that has always been there is starting to fester. It started when I was working at GameStop in 2001. I made the decision to become a teacher and I began to learn about children and how they function. In Bowling Green they place a large importance on families and supporting them through education. Working at GameStop I would see what families that played together looked like. My own fondest memories of video games are those that involve my Dad, wife and I playing Mario Kart together. I would also see the families that still viewed games the way most families view a Fisher Price toy or the latest action figure craze. Those families would not hesitate to purchase their eight year-olds games that were designed specifically for 18 year olds to keep them happy. It was and is the most infuriating thing about that job.
Recently, I had a one year stint with the PlayStation 3, leaving Nintendo games behind for the first time since I was five. In that year I went through a lot personally and professionally. Gaming was always a constant. I grew a relationship with my brother playing football games. I had a great time creating levels in Little Big Planet and I really enjoyed playing Uncharted (the most movie-like experience I have ever played). However, there was something missing…Kathleen. While she enjoyed the occasional romp into Little Big Planet the PlayStation 3 is not very conducive to playing together, nor is the catalog one that she found tantalizing. During our early days of courtship and eventually our marriage Kathleen and I had always enjoyed playing together; of note Mario Kart, Pikmin 2, and Mario Golf. The PlayStation had nothing that interested her. This led to me finding time to play on my own or cutting into family time to play. Both had consequences, neither of which was worth it. On a few occasions Kathleen would mention in passing missing playing Mario games or wishing we still had the Wii. Then during a sermon on marriage Pastor Nick made a comment that really hit the nail on the head for me. “When in becoming one flesh is there supposed to be me time?” Boom! What am I doing? Why am I taking time from my marriage to play games alone? On that day I traded in the PS3 and all my stuff to get the Wii (again) and since that day my wife and I have once again found ourselves laughing and having a great time playing games together.
That is when this idea started forming and God has cultivated it. I do have something to say. Gaming, which is not bad in and of itself, is unraveling and in a lot of ways affecting family life in a very negative way. It is not the first medium to do so, but it is the one that I know the most about. So please join me as I share with you what I have to say.