Gaming and Lent
- Wednesday, February 17, 2010
A thought crossed my mind today? Someone can obviously give up gaming for Lent, but can someone force him/herself to finish a game for Lent? I don't have any data to back this up, but I have a sneaking suspicion that a lot of gamers start games, but rarely finish them before switching to the latest and greatest game since the one they bought last month. The entire industry seems to feed off of this idea, releasing so many titles that it's almost impossible to keep up, forcing gamers to either miss out on titles or jump through them so quickly they never finish one. For me it goes even deeper. We all have our problems, yes, and one of my biggies is instant-gratification... especially when gaming.
I like food, but not preparing it if it takes longer than 10 minutes to make. I love movies, but not if they take "too long" to get started. I enjoy gaming, but not if it's going to take me fifty hours to finish the game. Don't get me wrong, I love the idea of finishing an epic game. Take Fallout 3 for example, I love the idea of finishing the game, but I haven't beat it. In fact, I doubt I'll ever beat the game. It simply takes too much of my time, time that could be spent on Modern Warfare 2 online, finding new and interesting ways to get kills. It has nothing to do with how much I enjoy playing the games, I like them equally as well. It has everything to do with out quickly I can get to the "meat" of the game. Fallout 3 takes time running through the landscape, collecting items and reading the story lines between action sequences and major missions. With Modern Warfare 2, I can jump on, boot up, log in, and bam! I'm playing in less than 60 seconds. The instant-gratification is, well, more instant.
During Lent, we give up things to remember what it is to be without. Whatever we give up are tiny sacrifices compared to what Jesus gave up for us. Instant-gratification at its very core is more than just an attention-deficit issue or whatever else you hear in the media. Instant-gratification is a spiritual conflict as well. God teaches us to work hard and finish the race. Instant-gratification is the forbidden fruit, the fast track to something. Eve fell for it, and so do we, everyday. This is something I struggle with in many ways, but it really does touch almost every facet of my life... including gaming.
If you're anything like me, maybe it will do us good to force ourselves to finish that lingering game this Lent. Instead of moving on to something else that can offer instant-gratification, stay put and force yourself to put the time in. And when your attention span is screaming at you to stop and go do something else, remind yourself that others have spent far more time doing things they didn't want to do. Remember the Apostles spending time in prison. Remember Jesus spending time on the cross. While it's only a video game, it's just one more way in which you can honor God through a small sacrifice this Lenten season.
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