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Yo Nick!

By Nick P.

Maybe I'm one of few preacher/teacher/apologist/writers (Whichever applies to most you know) in this field, with this interest, but I've always been a gamer. I got my first Nintendo when I was 8 and I immeditely entered a world of heroes. The first game that one got with the set was the classic Super Mario Brothers. Mario has since been a staple in the gaming industry and even had books, TV shows, and a movie. (Although I must confess, the movie stunk.)

Looking at this world now from a new perspective, I wonder how much of the gaming industry really caught at what the real world was wanting. Take some storylines for instance.

In the year 200X, a super robot named Megaman was created.  Dr. Light created Megaman to stop the evil desires of Dr. Wily.  However, after his defeat, Dr. Wily created eight of his own robots to counter Megaman.

After this scene, one sees a huge skyscraper and at the top stands this small guy in a totally blue outfit. It's Megaman and the game is Megaman 2. Megaman is the only one that stands in the path of Dr. Wily and his plans to conquer the world through powerful robots. Megaman today has his own TV series, he was a part of the Captain N series, and he has several games on several systems.

Take Mike also. Mike is a young boy who is probably barely a teenager and is a pitcher on his school baseball team. Mike goes to the tropics to visit his uncle and ends up having to stop an alien plan to destroy an alien race. This was the plot of StarTropics that later had a sequel.

A kid who has memorized every action flick out there follows his dog into an old abandoned mansion and ends up triggering a machine that sends him and fido to another world. They find out they are in a virtual world created by a scientist and his friend to stay for a few hours, but something went wrong and it's been a few decades. Now a boy and his dog have to stop a villain bent on destroying them all.

One of my favorites is still Link. Link is a young kid often around 16 in the games he's in on the Nintendo systems. He's a young swordsman smitten by the princess of Hyrule named Zelda that sets out regularly having to save that world from the evil Ganon.

You know, good conquering evil seems to be a theme, but it's more than that. Evil is also conquered by unlikely heroes. It is hardly a story if the good guys are in the majority. Who could write a story about a whole world of good guys and only one villain. It would be an unbelievably quick one. The reason these stories are so exciting, is that it's always a wonder if the hero will defeat the villain. Will the good guys win in the end?

Could it be this theme is so popular because this is our world today? How often do we hear good news on the evening news? It's all usually bad news. Our past century seems to be marked by constant warfare. Our own century had early in its start the worst act of terrorism ever.

In the gaming world, the heroes were always unlikely. Mario mentioned earlier is a plumber. Consider a little guy like Gizmo in the Gremlins series. Kirby in the game series and the TV show is a little pink guy that no one would think of as a hero if they saw him. In Milon's Secret Castle, the main hero is always wearing pajamas.

Still, these are our heroes. Heroes have usually been like this. Who would have thought this Jewish rabbi in Israel would be God in the flesh and save the world? Who would have thought a short balding guy with a lisp would be the greatest preacher of all time and write about 1/3 of the NT? The boy in Secret of Evermore as well is introduced in a coliseum gladiator match he's forced into as "Some kid with a stick."

Today, I think we're meant to be the heroes. We see a world of evil and it's up to us to be the tools God is going to use. He gave the Great Commission to us. Does this sound like the antics of a modern adventurer? It's not just me. Dwight L. Moody spoke in the 1800's of seeing himself as being in an ocean with people drowning and him with a lifeboat and God saying "Save as many as you can." G.K. Chesterton taught us the ways of adventure that are found in fairy tales. C.S Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien both wrote adventurous novels of the Christian life. Paul Tournier (His doctrine is horrible at some points but his psychology is quite good) wrote "The Adventure of Living." John Eldridge has asked men everywhere to be "Wild at Heart."

So how are we going to fight? Interestingly, while weaponry for instance has increased over the years and improved, the basic priniciples are always the same. In karate, one does target the places on the opponent to weaken them or if it must be in some cases, to kill them. One does the same with a sword, the job is just easier. One could say the same with any weapon.

The Zelda series is the same way. Link's enemies always seem to get bigger and uglier, but they're all brought down with the same weapons ultimately. There might be added accessories, but the pattern always follows. The same follows for us. We may live in an age of new ideas and philosophies and beliefs, but the weapon of Scripture is still always there for us. Our minds will have to be in gear as well. This is the ultimate battle after all.

Which brings me also to another point. I've loved the Final Fantasy series for many years and one thing noted by fans of the series is that there may be a main hero, but no one fights alone. The hero is always depending on his friends. A lot of times, he learns from those who have gone before him and may at times face personal crisis, but his friends are always there.

How can we forget our friends? As I grow in the faith, I'm always glad to know that I'm not fighting alone. Sometimes, it can look like a big and bad world out there. In many ways, it is, but the darkness is never fought alone. Now I know some people may say that Jesus is always with us, and he is, but he never told us to be Lone Rangers. We've got friends to stand behind and we need to stand behind them and have them stand behind us. We need to help each other to reach the goal.

And that's ultimately what every game wants. Every gamer wants to reach the goal. They want to reach the end of the game where the evil is defeated and all is made right in the world. That's what I want in reality also. I want to reach Heaven and have everything made right. The games often end with a look at a new and changed world with the people rejoicing that evil has been defeated and good has won overall.

And our story has a much better prize than getting your name on a high scores list.

In Christ,

Email the author at ApologiaNick@wmconnect.com