Being someone who has grown up on video games, it has become apparent in my life that I have taken certain truths from these games and have applied them first hand. As I grew older, I came to start reading the Bible, and found that the contents of this Holy Book provided me with life lessons for not only my physical well-being, but also for my spiritual. It was through reading the Bible that I discovered that I needed a Savior, and I could not save myself from the grave that I dug through my sins against God. As a born-again Christian, I have taken the Bible from being a mere book to recognizing it as the very Word of God. As such, all true and helpful advice must correlate with what the Scriptures say, and that includes those truths and lessons that I have taken away from video games.
Video games may not seem like they have any spiritual significance at all, but the truth remains that there are some great life lessons to be learned from some of the most famous video game franchises ever created. That is why, for the next five of blog posts, I will be posting the “5 Life Lessons” series which will spotlight some of your favorite video game characters and some insightful, Biblical lessons, which I have learned from them. We are getting started this week with one of my favorite video game franchises; Mega Man.
Lesson #1: It doesn’t matter how you start, it‘s about how you improve.
Any true “blue” gamer (see what I did there) will tell you that the best Mega Man games are both the second and third installments of the series (most will say Mega Man 2 is the best, by far). The later games were good as well, but no one will ever say that the very first Mega Man game was any good, because it really was not. Mega Man came out in 1987 featuring cheesy box art and buggy game play. The first Mega Man was known to glitch quite regularly, and it was incredibly difficult; almost to the point where it wasn’t even fun. It was Mega Man 2, which came out one year later, that saved the franchise.
The Mega Man games slowly got better, and always seemed to improve on their game play. This has led to new installments and Mega Man titles, including Mega Man X, Mega Man Legends, and the Battle Network series. Mega Man could have died out, but it kept making improvements and necessary changes.
The Bible says in Romans 8:28: And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Though this might be a stretch, I believe that these “things that work together for good” include self-improvement for those who are dedicated to the cause of Christ. Staying on the right path, and staying true to our roots in Christ will lead to a better life for ourselves and even those who are fortunate enough to emulate our behavior.
Lesson #2: Violence leads to more violence
A friend of mine recently pointed out a problem with the Mega Man games. You see, for years, between 200X and 20XX, Mega Man has been fighting the insidious Dr. Wily and his robot armies to secure a better future for the world. The problem is that Mega Man fights for peace by using the exact same force that he is fighting against, the force of violence. He fights for “truth and justice” all the while using high powered weaponry to destroy his foes, many of which are incredibly outmatched by his power. This is what many people call the “cycle of violence.”
Will this cycle ever stop? If you look at the world and the fallen nature of it, you will come to see that the answer is a huge and obvious NO. However, there is a time that is coming when the cycle will finally stop, and that is when Jesus Christ returns, tosses the Enemy and his followers into the pit, and finishes establishing his Kingdom. No matter what your end-times view is, you can agree that violence will only end when Christ returns, but until then, violence will always lead to more violence.
Lesson #3: Some mistakes hurt more than others
I have never understood how Mega Man can endure being hit by a missile the size of a minivan, but if he simply scrapes a small spiked object, he explodes. The spiked obstacles of the Mega Man games have led many gamers to contemplate the immediate obliteration of their gaming consoles, and that frustration is warranted; those spikes are everywhere. I would imagine that anyone who has ever played a Mega Man game has felt the sting of the “spikes of death.”
Life is riddled with “spikes of death”; small, almost insignificant choices which can lead to incredible pain. The big, minivan sized missile mistakes, like murder and adultery, are easy to spot, and are therefore avoided by most people. It is the truly destructive choices which are most often those that do not present themselves as being dangerous at all. Something as small as a lie can grow into a massive scandal that can tear a family to pieces. The Bible says it best in James 1:14-15: but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. Desires seem like small things, but if they are not brought under control, they can become deadly.
Lesson #4: It is hard to succeed without help
Have you ever tried to complete a Mega Man game without using any of the power-ups and skills that your earn throughout the game? In some of the earlier Mega Man titles, it is impossible to complete the game without using certain weapons that you received after defeating one of the eight Robot Masters, while in others it can be done, but it is about as easy as hammering nails into a wooden board using an apple. I can’t tell you how many times my robot butt has been saved by Beat the Bird.
The Bible is riddled with passages of Scripture that speak on the benefits of using tools and relationships to succeed in this life. From the example of David relying on his friend Jonathan during his run from Saul, to the passages referring to the Armor of God in Ephesians 6, it is pretty obvious that a Christian needs help in order to succeed in this life. In fact, if it was not for the help of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, none of us would be able to succeed at all, and would all inevitably fail.
Lesson #5: Our power comes from the Light
I am pretty excited about this observation because it is a connection that I do not think many people have made when playing these games. Mega Man is the creation of a man named Dr. Light, who has dedicated his skills and knowledge to creating robots that can help mankind. Dr. Wily, one of Dr. Light’s former protégées, has taken the good doctor’s creations and turned them into weapons that he can use to take control of the world with. To fight this evil, Dr. Light created Mega Man, and gave him the incredible power of the Mega Buster arm cannon to combat Wily and his robot army. Mega Man would be nothing without Light.
I think you can see where the connection is going to come in at this point. As Christians, we know that our only source of power comes from the Word of the Lord. In the beginning of the gospel bearing his name, John writes about the existence of the Word of God. He states that this word is “the light of men.” John goes on to explain that this Word became flesh and dwelt among men. This is, of course, referring to Jesus Christ, and it is through Him that Christians not only receive their name, but also their identity, purpose, and very lives. Much like Mega Man is nothing without Dr. Light, we are nothing without THE Light!
If you have been reading this and are reminded of some life lessons that you have personally learned from video games, then go ahead and let me know what they are and what game that they are from by responding via Facebook or directly on this blog. I am all about feedback, so feel free to let me know how this blog can be useful to you and even your ministry.