Video games are surging in popularity. There are over a billion gamers in the world, and the gaming industry is eclipsing the impact of social media, Hollywood, and live sports. It’s the new digital frontier, especially for evangelization. But why are so many young people drawn to video games? What longings do these games fulfill? And how should Christians engage this increasingly important realm? Brandon and Fr. Blake, avid gamers and guides, take you on a tour of this exciting landscape.

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23 comments

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  • I’ve been looking forward to this episode since I saw the title pop up on Youtube a month ago lol. Here’s some random thoughts:

    1. I really do think this is a pretty overlooked topic in general, mainly for demographic reasons (people who tend to be really into video games also tend to not be very religious). I remember earlier this year trying to find anything on Catholicism in video games and not having much luck until I found Fr. Blake’s article in the WoFI Journal back in April.

    2. I actually did a double take when I saw that Playstation statue up on Fr. Blake’s shelf this episode. I had to go back and check what was there before in previous episodes to make sure I wasn’t crazy lol.

    3. Now that you mention it, I think my first experience with Gregorian Chat was also from video games, but it was Ocarina of Time’s Temple of Time song instead:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6Hf1-lQElE

    They’re actually pretty common now that I think about it, especially if the developers want a place feel kind of mysterious. I think my favorite is this one from Nier:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3zle1ZfxQc

    If you can’t tell I’m really into game soundtracks as well lol

    Anyways, thanks for the great episode!

  • I have never liked video games perhaps because of my ineptness and age but more so because I have tried a few mindless ones and also “building” blocks type and I had to stop all f them because of the addiction I personally felt. This worries me for our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

  • So enjoy your podcasts. I learn so much from you both.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=uhJGbXQg5Co

    ND Architecture students in Italy for their junior year. Check out the song being sung at 6:20. My daughter, a member of the class, heard me listening to your podcast this morning and shared the video and recalled when the prof asked the student “what were you singing … it was beautiful”. The student replied, “it’s from a video game”.

    Not a gamer, but I could definitely listen to that sound … all day.

  • Great podcast Fr Blake! Glad you are doing well. I noticed you said that we need to go back to making the church beautiful and going back to Gregorian chant and all that. I have started going to the TLM and I believe going back to our roots will bring back a great migration back to church. The true beauty of the mass will bring people back.

  • Fantastic podcast Brandon and Fr. Blake!

    The connections between MMO (Community), RPG (Identity) and FPS (Mission) is yet another great book idea…

    I grew up playing strategy games (Checkers, Chess, Risk, Battleship, Axis & Allies, Stratego, etc.). Today, this turn-based empire building category of games is called 4X (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, eXterminate).

    Perhaps 4X games meet a need to subdue and have dominion (Genesis 1:28)?

    • Thank you for this wonderful commentary Brandon and Fr. Blake! Not being a gamer myself, but the mother a 19-year old avid gamer, this was very enlightening and helped me to understand what really motivates young men, in particular, to engage in these games, as well as some positive attributes. Thank you so much for the conversation starter you suggested. I took many notes, but do you have a transcription of this podcast? I don’t want to miss any of the rich dialogue and valuable insights! This was a very timely topic, and I’m so grateful to both of you for your podcasts. God bless you!

  • It would be cool if Bishop Barron, or someone with his level of knowledge, had a twitch channel where they could do Q/As (kind of like the Reddit AMA he has done before).

  • Very interesting point about the gnostic aspect of RPG’s, Brandon. I relate to that, as oftentimes video games or things like this can become a sort of “escape” from the real world. Sometimes it’s easy to retreat into this world where I am in control, when in the real world I feel very much out of control. Looking forward to your next episode! Thank you guys so much for this podcast!

  • I’m not a gamer, but I would relate a lot of these things to why I enjoyed fantasy (especially Harry Potter) so much as a child – the yearning for adventure and the yearning to have a purpose in life. To be honest, it’s nice to know that those desires weren’t in vain. But it’s also so beautiful to realize all these years later that the greatest adventure is our life with Christ. I still am captivated by fantasy and I love that good fantasy is an allegory for our battle with sin and evil in our own lives. May God bless you both!

  • I loved every episode but this is the best so far! I was looking forward to it since you announced it, and now I need to listen to it again and take notes. I don’t play video games and I tried (successfully so far) to give meaningful alternatives to my kids (10 and 12 yo), so that they may find community, identity and mission in real life, but it’s getting harder every day. I grew up in Italy where community and socialization are still strong today, in spite of the new technologies, but since I moved to Florida, 5 years ago, I have experienced a strong cultural shock from this point of view. I truly hope our Church will help us in giving this new generation what they actually need to become adults.

    • Great points of reflection Serena! Thank you for sharing. I have several close friends who live in Italy and I travel there regularly to see them. The culture is quite different. This is because it is a traditionally Catholic culture built around the values of community whereas the American culture prioritizes productivity and economy. Very different worldviews. My friends from Milan and Treviso say it is always hard for them when they come to the US for the same reasons you mentioned.

      • Thanks for your reply Fr. Blake, how interesting that you go regularly to Italy! My husband is from Milan too, it’s a small world so we could find out we have friends in common 😉

  • Dear Brandon,

    Thank you so much for this podcast! I wholeheartedly agree with your and Fr. Blake’s perspective on video games.

    Just one point: it’s not Venerable Carlos Actusi but Venerable Carlos Acutis — I know this because he’s become one of my patron saints since a couple of months ago.

    God bless you both!

    Best,
    Jeremiah

  • I have some adult children (20’s and 30’s) who meet to play Dungeons and Dragons. It seems that this is very similar. From what I understand, they have their identity that they develop and a whole plan for what their character wants to accomplish. This sounds very similar to what you’ve described for some of these virtual games. Any comments on Dungeons & Dragons?

    • You got it right Anne. Similar to the video game experience, D&D is a form of identity formation and adventure.

  • What an excellent episode! My mom recommended after I was telling her my hesitation to allow our son to play video games….we discovered a history curriculum that is game based and we think he could really enjoy this form of learning! You’ve given me a new perspective on the possibility that beauty and goodness exist within video games. Blessings!

    • Hi Jamie, could you please tell me the name of this game based history curriculum? It might be interesting for my kids too. Thanks

  • I liked the suggestion to ask gamers why they play. To really listen to their ideas and goals in order to have a better understanding. Thank you for all the podcasts!!

  • My next door neighbor is a Millennial. 35ish and he is a hard Core gamer. He spends all of his free time “gaming”. On those rare occasions I see him outside, he likes to talk about Options trading. The thing I have NEVER heard him talk about is women!

    I am 69 and I can’t imagine being a single 35 year old man and NOT talk about women! I can’t imagine being a 69 year old married man and not talk about women!

    Obviously, “Gaming” is from the Devil himself!

  • Definitely one of my Go To Podcast these days! Your insights about Videogames opened my eyes about the deeper longing of my son when he plays videogames. Is there a guideline of what videogames to let my 10 year old kid? Is there a book/article or study that shows the effects of violence in videogames to kids? He is being invited to play Fortnite but I find the characters of the women there very immodest and the violent theme of the game not age appropriate. I would love to hear your insights. Thank you in advance!

  • Animal Crossing New Horizons is the latest hot game. Nintendo consoles have been sold out due to the high demand of the game. It is RPG and one creates their own island world with
    10 animal villagers. I would like to know if you have any insights on the game. I have been
    playing the game since April. I am 61 and this has been a family game as I can play with my son and his family remotely.

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