Last week was the eighth annual Christian Game Developers Conference in Portland, Oregan. I’d love to be able to make it along one year, but sadly it always seems to clash with the summer camp that I’m involved in (not mention that it’s rather a long way from London!). In the mean time I shall just have to settle for hanging out with a few of the regular attendees “virtually” on the Christian Developers Network forum.

The existence of little pockets of enthusiasts like this just goes to show that there’s no shortage of Christian developers out there. There’s certainly no shortage of demand for video games born out of a Christian world-view. But I think the problem is that there’s also no shortage of people burnt in the past by horrifically awful games written by Christians with plenty of good-will and passion but which just aren’t of commercial quality. The tragedy of these games is that they’re often propped up by a market desperate for some attention (and with plenty of money to spend should the right game come along!) whilst being universally derided by the rest of the world (if you can tolerate a LOT of bad language, check out this review for an example of how people view the Christian games market). Ultimately, this just reinforces the perception that it’s impossible to make an explicitly Christian game that is simultaneously a good game, leading more and more budding Christian developers to go down the route of making essentially secular games whose only distinctive is the Christian values that infuse their development process. I have no problem with this approach, and cannot for a minute blame those who have chosen this road – the other path is littered with the flaming wrecks of so many failed efforts that it doesn’t make for very pleasant driving! But I do think that it’s a huge missed opportunity that skirts around the real problem facing our world. To say that all Christian games developers should make Bible-based games is no different from saying that all Christians should be full-time ministers of the Word – obviously absurd! But our world is crying out for somebody to do it, and to do it well.

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