|Me playing Operation 7|
(and doing quite well actually)
earlier this year
Okay, so what? Well, I know I'm not alone, I read an article last month that said that people spend 927 million hours a MONTH on Facebook games. Ya, that was staggering, even to me. Activision's newest game Call of Duty: Black Ops sold 5.6 million copies in the first 24 hour period, about $360 million dollars US worth. Note that Black Ops is a game rated M and is for adult gamers. That's some serious numbers about games.
Now some would argue that all this gaming is not a good sign. I was challenged today listening to a TED video: Tom Chatfield: 7 ways games reward the brain. He cited the intense passion that many people have towards video games and noted 7 things that contribute to our collective obsession with them. Essentially he was asking how does video games elicit such a strong engagement of it's players?
So my big question is this:
Can we as a church learn something about how to get people engaged in growing as a Christian in a way that is similar, or at least informed by how games engage people?
Without trying to explain everything he spoke about, here's the seven points:
1. experience bars measuring progress
2. multiple long and short-term aims
3. rewards for effort (every effort no matter how small)
|Me playing Runescape August 29, 2006|
5. an element of uncertainty
6. windows of enhanced attention
7. other people
Gamers will often do repetitive and boring tasks over and over again in a game. How does the game get people to do boring virtual things over and over again? How does a game get dozens of people to spend a month building a virtual ship? It appears (I've never played this game) that in EVE Online the Titan class of Capital ship takes that kind of work.
Can I as a pastor learn from any of this? I was listening to another TED video: R.A. Mashelkar: Breakthrough designs for ultra-low-cost products, he gave this quote:
When you wish to achieve results that have not been achieved before, it is an unwise fancy to think that they can be achieved by using methods that have been used before.
So how do I engage people? Are there things that we can do that will engage people more effectively in Christian devotion? Or are video games and the spiritual disciplines too disimiliar for there to be any crossover? What can I do differently in a church that would engage people in a way that is more encompassing?
What do you say?