I like video games. No, scratch that…I LOVE video games! Ever since my friend Ike brought one to school and convinced me to skip classes and go to my house and play Mario with him, I’ve been hooked. Over the years I have been an avid follower of the gamer culture, and I have invested a lot of money in my games. I say ‘invest’ because I understand the role of digital entertainment in my own personal process. Video games help me develop my problem solving capabilities because the sort of games I play have cool puzzles and tests which you must pass before you can advance to the next level; they help me improve my goal setting process because for me few things are more rewarding than playing a difficult game on the hardest level all the way to the end and seeing the end credits roll and the CONGRATULATIONS! Message light up the television screen. Another thing computer games do for me is improve my hand eye co-ordination and my mental reflexes in actual combat scenarios, so that when I’m sparring an opponent I think faster and react better. But I guess that as a married man the greatest benefit of my gaming habit is that it keeps me occupied and out of trouble when my wife is away from home on trainings or attending meetings. I love my games; Street fighter, Halo, Mario, Tomb Raider, Winning Eleven, ISS pro…I own them all and I play them enthusiastically because they help me relax after work.
My favorite video game of all is the god of War series. In this game you play as Kratos; a Spartan warrior who must embark on a long journey armed with twin blades mounted on chains with which he slices and dices his enemies on his quest to destroy his arch foe Ares, the god of war. I love this game in particular because of the high level of blood and violence, and the realism of the graphics as well as the fact that I can relate with the flaws of the hero. Kratos is a tortured soul who seeks to avenge the betrayal of Ares and redeem himself for his unspeakable crimes against the innocent. He has no allies and is driven solely by his rage and his desire to exact vengeance. But I digress.
The good thing about video games is that even when you die in the game, you can come back to life and just continue from where you stopped, or you can save your progress and continue playing at a later time. Unfortunately, real life is quite the opposite. You cannot afford to be reckless with your life, or attempt to put life on “pause” because “something came up”. You cannot select who you want to be or switch characters halfway through. There are no “continues” and “extra lives” or “cheat codes” with which to go through this world. We don’t get “free bonuses” and “unlimited” anything because we stumbled on a hidden box containing upgrades to help us make the game of life easier. Finally, you cannot select a difficulty level that makes your challenges simple, or skip the really hard levels because they’re “not fun”. Unlike video games, in life you have to play as you are; you have to play through every single level with no unlimited ammunition or infinite continues because if you die…that’s it. We must live and grow through our experiences and be mindful that whatever decision we take today will most certainly affect our tomorrow. I’m not saying this to depress you, rather I want to remind us that we have one shot at life, and the best thing to do with that shot is to appreciate it by serving The One who programmed the game and gave us an opportunity to play. God expects us to use what He has given us to serve Him by doing His work. Sometimes it may seem like ours is on the hardest difficulty, but if we recall, the bible tells us in Hebrews 4:15 that Jesus lived in the same world as we did and was tempted just as we are. That’s right; Jesus had no cheat codes either.
So try to enjoy the life you have, and don’t spend your time wishing for shortcuts through your challenges. If we accept the gift of life and do the best we can with it we can be sure that no matter where the game may end for us, those end credits will roll and when we enter the kingdom we will see the boldly written message CONGRATULATIONS, YOU HAVE COMPLETED THE GAME!
You can access more of my written and video content on www.ifeanyiubawords.com Merry Christmas!