Finding writers that understand what a site like GameChurch.com is about is difficult but also incredibly important. Every time someone asks to write for us, I share with them a list of three things that GameChurch.com is and three things it isn’t. I thought it might be a good time to share with you a little bit about what GameChurch.com is about.
GameChurch.com is NOT:
1. A Consumer Guide
We don’t exist to tell people whether they should buy particular games or not. Our reviews should give gamers an idea of what those games are as products of our culture rather than as mere consumer products. We want to weigh in on the ultimate value of games. What does the game mean? What is the game saying about us as we play it? What thoughts about life and the world around us are spawned by playing the game? Is the game meaningful in any significant way beyond being either entertaining or boring?
No one needs GameChurch.com to inform their videogame purchases–there are hundreds of sites that already do that very well. We want to tell our audience whether a particular game will add value to their life in any way and whether it is a meaningful experience on any level. In general, our writing is either going to focus on special games that do add value to our life, particular and meaningful moments in games, or those rare games that need to be called out because they detract from our humanity.
We want to add something to the conversation surrounding videogames that can’t be found elsewhere.
2. A Site for Christians
We want our articles to be accessible to both non-christians and Christians, to gamers and non-gamers. Our goal is to create great games writing that will reach out to the millions of diverse people who play games and even the people who are skeptical of them.
We aren’t interested in reviews aimed at telling Christian parents whether they should buy particular games for their kids. Nor are we interested in devotionals for Christian gamers. Our regular writers are Christians, though we do publish articles by anyone, as long as those pieces fall in line with our site goals.
We want the Christians who write for us to write as Christians but not selectively to Christians. We are not interested in the six ways the Triforce is like the Trinity or the nine ways Link is a Christ-figure. We want to write compelling videogame articles that make our readers think about life, death, ethics, purpose.
We are very much interested in games that tackle theological, ethical, and religious subject matter. We are not, however, interested in forcing Jesus into every article that we publish. This is a delicate balance, and we realize that–that is why we have editors who are dedicated to helping our writers strike that balance.
3. A Fan Site
We do not exist merely to express excitement about upcoming games or to gush over our favorite games. We want to be a place that explores what games mean, what they say about us as human beings, and what they say about the world we live in. We want to express excitement about games when those games really deserve it.
We want to avoid game specific jargon–we want the site to accessible to all kinds of people–not just “hardcore gamers” (this is a term that anyone who appreciates games would do well to remove from their vocabulary).
1. Hopeful for the medium of videogames.
We think videogames are a unique and exciting new medium. We believe that games have the potential to tell powerful stories and to involve us in those stories in unique ways. We believe games can and often do speak to the human experience.
We believe that everyone who has ever made a game is made in the image of God, and that games possess tremendous potential for good. We think games can teach us empathy and enrich our lives in meaningful ways.
We realize that there are lots of games that are little more than entertaining diversions. We think there is value even in those games. Mere diversions can be welcome and needed at times.
We realize that some people have an unhealthy and even potentially addictive relationship to videogames–we do not condone such a relationship but neither do we believe that such things change the fact that games have tremendous potential to be a positive force in our lives and in the world.
2. Critical of the medium of videogames.
We want to speak honestly about the state of the medium and about particular games–in terms of their quality but more importantly in terms of their implications and messages. We are not interested in being morality police but we are interested in taking a honest look at their value. This means being clear about what makes a game a meaningful or worthwhile experience. It also means being clear about the limited value or unfortunate messages of particular games.
Because videogames are such a young medium, there is a lot of immaturity on display. We want to take note of that when necessary. We will go out of our way to highlight the wonderful, beautiful, truthful, and resonant experiences that the medium offers, but we refuse to casually overlook the many times games demean people made in God’s image.
3. Thoughtful about the medium of videogames.
We don’t want to write about just any old gaming news. We want to report on how life, ethics, faith, philosophy, and religion intersect with videogames. If we are focusing on such intersections in our reviews, news, and features, our articles will be accessible and appealing to a very large and broad audience. 72% of American households play videogames, 42-47% of gamers are women, and 29% of gamers are over the age of 50. We don’t write write merely to “hardcore” gamers (whatever that means). It won’t be long before everyone is, essentially, a gamer. We want to write articles that are compelling to all kinds of people.
We want thoughtfulness to be a key theme in everything that is written on the site–thoughtfulness about our audience, thoughtfulness about the state of the medium, and thoughtfulness about world around us.
If think you can produce the kind of unique game criticism we are looking for, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with a pitch for a piece you’d like to write. Please keep in mind that GameChurch is currently unable to pay for pieces.