Video games are known for giving players tools to kill enemies. But Jesus says to love your enemies. And if you look at human history while Christian influence has been around, it’s stupid how rarely we see people actually love their enemies. But that’s what we wanted to explore this night: how does one love their enemies and what games equip you to deal with enemies in redemptive ways?
Tyler, Carter, Hively, Greg, Yoshi, Wayne, and I spread out amids a less stuffy living room than usual. Alex Carter stepped into the Discussion Master role and launched into the first question:
Who’s your favorite video game enemy? And why?
Tyler picked Nero from Devil May Cry since he’s the hero’s brother with malevolent ambitions. I talked about Daud from Dishonored because you can step into his shoes. Wayne picked the other drivers in Rocket League. Yoshi got the next card and he asked:
Who’s your favorite real world enemy?
Greg said ISIS. Wayne half-jokingly said Obama. Tyler asked if he could be a little abstract and explained that he felt like he was his own enemy. Wayne said He was on the same page. His honest answer was himself.
Tyler got the Text Master card with John 13:34. I interrupted: “I forgot to share the theme Enemy Night.” And then I asked what they thought about when they think of Jesus and his approach to enemies. But I guess it was a bit of a rhetorical question because I launched into the scene at the Cross where Jesus is praying forgiveness over the people who are publicly murdering him. Then Tyler read John 13:34
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
I called out how it’s easy to avoid people you don’t like. But sometimes the hardest people to love are the ones who aren’t different from you. Everybody responded to this in short, but then Yoshi got our last question card and asked:
3. How do you love people that you don’t like (enemies)?
Yoshi said that not-hating them is a good star. He said he no longer holds anything against his ex-girlfriend. Hively said that he has a hard time forgiving his ex-girlfriends. We all talked about how hard it can be to forgive, and how trust isn’t something instantaneous when you forgive somebody. I talked about this thing I learned in marriage counseling called “falling forward:” being the first person to try to make amends when you don’t want to talk to each other. It’s the opposite of what you want to do, but it heals things even if just a little bit. Wayne mentioned little offers to help with things like yard work and carrying heavy things for neighbors who he was at odds with.
Alex nominated Yoshi to pray for our group and our time. First time I’ve seen him do it and dude handled it like a pro. He even got everybody to hold hands!
The Games all dealt with enemies — or valuing enemies in some way. Each game came with a question should it be picked.
- Capsule Force – How do you feel about your enemies in this game?
- Lemma – Do you think the developer’s Christian background informs the game design?
- Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes – Why do you think Snake starts with a tranquilizer?
- Enslaved – What do you think happens to Monkey & Trip’s enslaved relationship?
- Volume – Why do you think this game doesn’t give you tools to eliminate your enemies?
- Pac Man Championship Edition – What makes the Ghost enemies so memorable?
- lazr – What do you think this game reveals about your enemies?
- Grow Home – Who or what do you think your greatest enemy is in this game?
- Blues & Bullets – What makes not-killing your arch-enemy more interesting?
We played Capsule Force first since I thought it would be best if we started with a multiplayer game everybody could get in on. It went pretty well, but the game is so fast that it’s hard for everybody to get up to speed on how to play. The idea is fun and simple enough: teams of two try to advance in football-like progression toward the other team’s goal by jumping on a tram platform. Then each team has arm-cannons that they can blast each other with and a bubble shield for blocking/pushing people off the trams. I loved it. Our crew thought it was good, but not as good as Samurai Gunn or Lethal League.
The crew picked Yoshi to get dibs on what we played next. He picked Lemma because he wanted to play something with a lot of momentum and first-person parkour. Since the game’s story is pretty bare-bones (as it’s made by one guy) the only thing in the game to hold viewers attention was the crazy dangerous “can he make it” jumps. Yoshi loved it. Our crew seemed to dig it too.
Yoshi picked Wayne to pick the next game. Wayne picked “the game with the ugly guy,” which happened to be Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes. It’s a slightly strange game for a pastor to pick, but he picked Tyler to play it because of the complex controls. This went exceptionally well, though Tyler was frequently spotted and ended up shooting a lot more American soldiers than he anticipated. In the end, our crew learned the value of sticking to the shadows, being low, and using tranquilizer rounds instead of lethal force.
Our crew had a great time while reflecting on the value of others, especially enemies.