Over the years I’ve gathered rings, stormed the beaches of Normandy, conquered the world, and raided tombs. I’ve liberated nations, fought off alien invasions, and battled orcs. I’ve played my share of video games in these endeavors. There are a few of the games pictured above that I have been playing since before my students were born. One of the great things about these games is that each brings a new adventure and a new challenge. Today, I thought I would point out some life observations illustrated by some of these games.
Here are a few ways that life and video games are very different:
- There are no saves in life. One of the biggest things we have to remember in life is there are no do-overs. You can’t save and come back and do something over again if you mess it up. You don’t get to come back to a moment you missed. We either seize the moment and get it done, or we don’t.
- There is no pause. This one is very similar to the first, but with a slightly different implication. We don’t get to pause life. You can (and sometimes need to) get away from something or someone for a season, but life doesn’t stop just because you’ve poked your head in the sand. Time keeps flowing and life keeps happening. Avoiding life isn’t like pausing a game, you don’t get to pick up where you left off.
- Life is rarely so simple. Video games have come a long way since I first played Sonic the Hedgehog on my Sega Genesis. The stories are often more intricate than movies, major actors often provide the voices and look of the characters, and games often connect one to the other much like a TV series from seasons to season. But even in this complexity, video games are so much simpler than life. Decisions you make in life have real-life and sometimes even eternal consequences.
- The real world is so much bigger. I play a few games that are HUGE! The map (the world you play in) is absolutely enormous. One of the games I play has multiple continents that each could take weeks (or months) to explore and years to play through all of the content. Even still the real world is SO much bigger. It’s not just bigger in the sense of physical size, but it is bigger in diversity. The physical traits of our world can be radically different from place to place. Then there are all the people, each with their own story.
There are some ways that video games and life are similar though and here are a few of them:
- Even in real life, sometimes all you can do is watch. One of the most frustrating parts of video games to me is when the game takes away control from you and you can do nothing but look around and watch what happens. Video games sometimes have a fight you cannot win, you start the fight, but then the game takes control and essentially forces you to lose regardless of the choices you made or the buttons you bang on. Sometimes life is the same way. You don’t always have the ability to change the outcome, all you can do is be faithful in the decisions you get to make.
- Every life will eventually end. Just as each game will eventually end, so will every life. There comes a time when we all will play our last level to use a video game analogy. We have to make the most of the time we have and play (live) like this may be it.
- There is a programmer even in real life. This one really falls into both categories, because God is so much better than a video game programmer. The decisions you can make in a video game are all ultimately determined by the game’s programmers. Life is so much more complex with so many more decisions, but ultimately those decisions all are given to us by the author of life (God). What believers have to remember is that our decisions matter, but ultimately, God is in control of the ending. He works through even our bad decisions to work out the ending. Let me repeat it though, our decisions do matter.
Life is not a video game. But, there are somethings that we can learn from them. Don’t forget to live life. Whether you’re waiting, fighting, planning, or building, live life for the glory of God.
The photos in the collage come from the following games: Sonic the Hedgehog, World of WarCraft, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Call of Duty (Franchise), Splinter Cell, 007 GoldenEye, Assassins Creed (Franchise), Tomb Raider (Franchise), Halo (Franchise), Age of Empires (Franchise). If you have questions about the specific content of these games or another, feel free to message me.