“O then, is not this real?”
Over 2,000 years ago, an American prophet Alma pleaded with his community to focus on things of real importance. He testified that though we may not see spiritual things, they are indeed real. While some listened to his counsel, the majority ignored it and went on with their daily lives.
Just as people in Alma’s day got caught up in things that aren’t of real importance, many in our day get caught up in virtual realities, such as those found in video and online games.
Last week, the immensely popular video game Angry Birds reached its billionth download. The makers of Angry Birds (Rovio) are now working on a movie, TV show and theme park based on Angry Birds. Not only that, but within two months they are planning to hit the market with their next big release: “Amazing Alex.”
Amazing Alex is about a young boy, Alex, who loves to build things. The game is based off of the gameplay of “Casey’s Contraptions,” a sort of physics puzzle game. Amazing Alex will challenge its users to accomplish given tasks using such tools as balls, cars, scissors, magnets, buckets and boxing gloves.
To get a feel for what Amazing Alex may be like, you can watch a trailer of Casey’s Contraptions. Because of the success that the Angry Birds has seen, there’s no reason to doubt but that Amazing Alex will become just as popular and addicting for its users. Although new games like this can be fun and exciting, the illusion of productivity they create is not real, and we actually are not really accomplishing anything of value in mastering its new levels and tasks. Let’s follow Alma’s counsel to focus more of our energies on the things in our life that are “real” and that can provide lasting satisfaction.
“Our greatest happiness comes as we tune in to the Lord and to those things which bring a lasting reward, rather than mindlessly tuning in to countless hours of status updates, Internet farming, and catapulting angry birds at concrete walls. I urge each of us to take those things which rob us of precious time and determine to be their master, rather than allowing them through their addictive nature to be the master of us.”
- Ian S. Arden
Personal Notes: I don’t have anything against playing appropriate video games. I do however think that video games can be addictive and deprive people of opportunities. When I was younger I used to play video games a lot. Since I (more or less) stopped playing video games around age 15, I’ve experienced many blessings. I’ve grown in health, strength, musical and intellectual ability. If I hadn’t stopped video gaming, I also wouldn’t have created this website.