Why Old Testament Adventure Games?

A note of explanation: For the last five years I’ve been working on an Old Testament Adventure game, named Ebenezer: a point & click adventure game in the style of Monkey Island. This post is an attempt to explain some of the convictions and thinking that lies behind the project.

1. Education isn’t the problem

You don’t have to look very hard to notice that we live in a desperately broken world. You also don’t have to look very hard to discover that we’re the cause of it: despite our tremendous potential for good, human beings time and time again demonstrate a remarkable capacity for evil, constantly inflicting hurt on our environment, our fellow man and even those closest to us. It’s not because we don’t know how we should behave, either: even when we want to do what’s right, so often we find ourselves unable to live up even to our own standards, let alone God’s. Education isn’t the problem. The human heart is marred by sin, the product of a creature in rebellion against its Creator. It’s not just that we commit ‘sins’, rather it’s that we are sinful, and so our sin is our world’s greatest problem. Simply telling people how they should behave and expecting them to change will accomplish nothing.

2. Morality is useless

By implication, if education isn’t the problem then morality is useless. ‘Morality’ tells you how you’re supposed to behave and berates you when you fail, beating you with a stick and expecting you to try harder next time. It provides no power to change, and frankly it’s just plain boring.

3. People need brand new hearts

When he met a bunch of people who thought they were ‘good’ and moral, people obsessed with living righteous lives, Jesus told them that they were like people who spent ages washing the outside of their mugs and never noticed that inside they were full of sewage and filth. Cleaning up our outward actions is pointless and hypocritical when inwardly our hearts are like poo pumps constantly gushing forth a stench-ridden stream of foul and unclean thoughts. If you disagree that you’re like this, try going just one week without thinking a single unkind thought about someone, without a single lustful look, without the faintest hint of envy or pride. Try going just one day, even!

The problem isn’t external to us – forcing women to cover their figures with a burqa or removing all of the violence and immorality from our video games won’t stop those thoughts welling up inside us. The problem lies within: our hearts are desperately wicked, and people need brand new hearts if they’re ever going to change.

4. New birth comes through the word of God

The wonderful hope held out by Jesus in the gospel is that he promises to give new hearts to all those who trust in him – it’s as though we were born a second time as whole new people, starting again from scratch. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”, says Paul. How does the Holy Spirit work to bring about that new birth? Again and again in the Bible comes the same answer: new birth comes through the word of God. Of all the ways he could do it, God has chosen to work first and foremost through the Bible, faithfully taught, explained and applied. As people recognise the Bible as the word of God and respond to its message, putting their faith in Jesus for salvation, God works a miracle as great as the miracle of creation to remove their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh, beating to his drum and not their own.

5. There’s nothing boring about the Bible

If the word of God brings about new birth for sinful people, then there’s nothing boring about that! Anybody who has ever found themselves dozing off in a boring sermon or Sunday school class only has their boring teacher to blame – it’s an impressive feat to take something as electric as the word of God and turn it into something dull!

The message of the Bible deserves to be presented in a way that does justice to how incredibly exciting it is – this is the hope of eternal life for sinful human beings! It’s the solution to our broken and decaying world! It doesn’t need anything added to it to make it interesting and engaging and relevant, it simply needs to be explained clearly and faithfully. What could be more relevant than something that meets our deepest needs?

6. Christian video games should teach the Bible

A Christian understanding of the world governed by these principles has led me to pour countless hours over the last five years into making an Old Testament adventure game that first and foremost seeks to teach the Bible. Education isn’t the problem, so the world doesn’t need more games that teach us how to live. Morality is useless, so the world doesn’t need more games encouraging us to pull our socks up. People need brand new hearts, so the world won’t be helped by games without the violence and immorality. New birth comes through the word of God, so Christian video games should teach the Bible. And there’s nothing boring about the Bible, so Christian video games shouldn’t be boring either – they should be the most exciting games on the market, since they have the potential to change your life! As I’ve written previously, I’m convinced that point & click adventure games can do this extremely well, so that’s what I’ve been concentrating on.
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One Response to The Old Testament Adventures Creed

  1. […] the Old Testament Adventures Creed I talked about how useless “morality” is in changing human behaviour. Simply telling me […]

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