Ever since I started writing this devotional I have been challenged to not only look back into gaming’s past but also it’s future as well. As I am writing this, the 2019 E3 Expo is only a few days away, and with it comes the promise of new games and hardware, many of which will certainly look towards streaming services as the new frontier in gameplay. Google has already unveiled its new Stadia streaming service which will eliminate console hardware and allow for players to stream games directly onto their mobile devices. Both Microsoft and Nintendo has hinted at creating similar technology that will all but make the physical game console obsolete. We all knew this day was coming, and it appears that the day is closer than anyone could have known.
Times are indeed changing for gamers. The monochrome technology of the 80s and 90s may have catapulted youthful imaginations into new worlds and adventures in the past, but those simple designs will no longer cut it. Developers are now able to take pixels of yore and convert them into fine digital skins and create lifelike sprites that can easily be mistaken for the real thing. Games have advanced so much that the only limitations to what can be created hinges on the imaginations of the developers themselves. There was a time in which these gaming experiences could only be accessed in the comfort of our own homes, but those times are coming to an end. Thanks to streaming services, games will soon be played anywhere a mobile device can receive a signal. Welcome to the future of gaming, and welcome to a brand new headache.
As one who is often on the outside looking into pop-culture, I have found that there is an incredibly dangerous trend associated with the use of mobile devices. The more advanced our phones and mobile devices get with each new generation of technology, the more disconnected we become from those around us. With every new patch to Pokémon Go comes the price of wandering around a neighborhood without engaging with anyone at all. We have the entire world at our figure tips, and yet we don’t even know the person who is in the next room. It is as one pastor said, “we are longing for wisdom while drowning in information.”
The new streaming services will not help this. I rather believe that they will only serve to speed up the disconnect that is already happening in society. What is needed is a revolution of connection; deliberately putting down those things that divide our attention from life and picking up those activities that bring us back down to earth. Instead of streaming a new game with your son, pick up a fishing pole and take him down to the stream. Rather than soaking in the neon glow of a Netflix show, soak in the sun’s rays with your best friend or companion. Don’t worry about the technology, those things will still be there when you get back.
I like looking at my children as a good example of what it means to “stream” the right things into our lives. If I take the tie to spend with my children and build them up in their faith, then I will be investing in something that will go so much further than any streamed content ever will. Though I am a very busy person with both my ministry and gaming journalism endeavors, I still make time for my family because they are the ones that keep me tethered to reality. If this is not important, then why does it say this in the book of Psalms:
3 Children are a heritage from
offspring a reward from him.
4 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are children born in one’s youth?
5 Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
when they contend with their opponents in court.
It is so easy to get lost in all of the technology of this age, but it does not need to come to that. It takes careful balance to enjoy every aspect of life, both the important and the recreational. It is all about “streaming” the right things.