LeadingSmart

Practical Stuff for Church Leaders

Video Games Are Cheaper Than Couples Therapy

At least, that's the title of a recent news article on MSNBC.com. It was a great article written by Winda Benedetti about her marriage struggles and how gaming together is actually helpful for their marriage. There were a few quotes I really enjoyed:

"As everyone knows, there’s nothing like gunning down post-apocalypticpsychopaths and bloodthirsty alien creatures to bring a couple together."

"When I surprised Richie with the news that “Borderlands” was going to be delivered in a matter of hours and then told him that I was looking forward to playing it with him, the look on his face went from kid-on-Christmas-morning excitement to you-just-backed-your-SUV-over-my-kitten disappointment."

"Rather than bickering about who gets to empty the dirty diaper bin, we now spend our evenings discussing how to take down homicidal humanoids with names like Nine Toes and Bonehead and Sledge. Rather than debate who it was who was supposed to have returned the “Winnie the Pooh” movie that's now two weeks overdue, we chat about whether a submachine gun, a sniper rifle or maybe a rocket launcher is the best weapon for completing the mission we’ve just accepted from some nefarious-looking character."

As much as I enjoyed the article, I even more enjoyed the commentary provided by Jack Magruder (who forwarded me the article). His words were insightful and humorous and, well, classic Jack:

  • I found it interesting that she finds two-player first-person shooters to be just as wise an investment for “standard wear and tear” marital ills as two hours of counseling at a family therapist.  And honestly, I kind of agree with her--so long as the issues aren’t “big ones” (i.e. affairs, etc).  Even though the environment isn’t “real”, it can nudge some real-world issues that cause other things to rise to the surface.
  • This all goes back into my original pre-supposition that our world is changing… significantly.  The fact that your spouse covered your butt with her plasma-based pulse-rifle when you didn’t see that cannibalistic mutated store-clerk coming around the corner might actually have REAL world benefits of building trust and communication.  Who’d a thunk that virtual-world game-play could build real-world community and relational progress like that? But it can (not a guarantee, but “can”).  I think that we need to recognize that the bonds formed in virtual environments can, in fact, be just as powerful or more so than “real” ones.

His final sentence makes a pretty good case for online church, don't you think? Agree or disagree with Jack?