Being Christian and a gamer has never been harder, nor has it ever been easier than it is now.  Game publishers have been releasing games that are more and more offensive to just about anyone.  In 2007, Rockstar Games released Manhunt 2, a game so offensive that it was banned in most of the United Kingdom.  The level of gore in that game was intolerable to anyone of sensibility, Christian or not.  And yet, at the same time, Christian guilds and servers are popping up on every online game from World of Warcraft to Counter-Strike: Source, etc.  If you want to find Christians to play games with, it's never been easier.

So where does this leave the Christian gamer?

A Christian gamer must educate him/herself as much as possible before deciding what they will and won't play.  Parents of young gamers must do this for them because it's far too easy for young gamers to get their hands on inappropriate material.  There aren't many (if any) games out there that portray Christianity in a factual, let alone positive light.  Most demonize the church either as a historical institution full of hexes and superstition or an antiquated entity.  On top of that, the chances of any publisher releasing a "Christian game" that's up to the standards of the average gamer are slim to none.  The last decent attempt was The Bible Game which, while Bible-themed, received less than enthusiastic applause upon release.  Turns out that unless the mini games in your Bible-based Party Game have some connection to the Bible (any connection at all), Christian gamers will sniff you out and not buy your product.  In the end (though not an excuse) it's probably difficult for a publisher to sell the idea of a real Christian game to investors... and while anything is possible, I wouldn't hold my breath.

Christian gamer, it's up to you.

So why is it easier to be a Christian gamer now than in the past?  Two reasons.  First and foremost, there is more awareness and with awareness comes information.  It's never been easier to find information on how a game may be offensive.  While I'm not about to shamelessly plug my reviews in TheFish Games, I would like to point out that TheFish is a valuable resource for discerning Christian gamers.  Check out the reviews to get an idea about what might or might not offend you in a particular game.  The second reason is community.  More and more, Christian communities are popping up on most popular games.  Even if the game isn't online, there's a Christian somewhere playing the game who is ready to talk about it with you.  Check out TheFish Community area where Video Game discussions are happening right now.

That's all there is to it, in the end it's up to you.  You have to decide if a game is offensive to your faith after educating yourself as much as possible.  In the end, there are shining stars in the game industry.  I have to say, it's a real relief to jump on a Christian server while playing an online game.  If nothing else, it's a much needed break from the profanity-laden, racist and pornographic characteristics of other servers.  Gameplay wise, you can typically find people being much nicer (even while giving another player grief), working together and giving advice.  It's a positive environment where people enjoy playing whatever game they're into in a like-minded environment of respect.

I'm going to continue exploring this topic while delivering opinion on games and the game industry.  As always, comments and questions are appreciated.  Let the games begin.