A sure sign that the video game market is reaching monumental proportions is the arrival of a development studio for Christian themed games.
President and CEO Tom Bean has assembled a team of veterans from the education sector of the industry. Their collective resume includes such elementary school classics as Carmen Sandiego, Reader Rabbit, and Oregon Trail. Digital Praise has already acquired the license and started development on two games based on the Adventures in Odyssey radio theater series.
The company is also optimistic about the market for Christian games, citing the large overall growth in the games industry as evidence that there is plenty of room for their products.
“Digital Praise is founded on the principle that fun, exciting computer games don’t need to be flooded with violence, sex, hate or images of horror,” said Bean.
Honestly, this isn’t a bad idea and I wish the founders luck. If they take the right approach it could even prove to be a success, though past ventures of this sort—and I can remember more than a few in my time—never managed to catch on quite the way their founders had hoped. Part of the problem with past efforts was that they were too preachy or sacrificed fun for the message they were trying to get across.
Contrary to the popular opinion that the reason the Grand Theft Auto series sells as well as it does is because it’s violent and allows you to pick up prostitutes and then beat them to death, the truth is it sells well because it’s fun. Tetris was also fun despite being about nothing more than arranging falling blocks of various colors and it’s still one of the best selling games of all time as a result. By comparison, the First Person Shooters Postal and Postal 2 were largely violence and hate without anything in the way of compelling game play and their sales figures show the problem with that approach. Most of the sales the game did receive were largely due to the controversy they stirred up.
So, yeah, there’s definitely room in the market for games that don’t have tons of bloodshed or sex and which convey a positive message, but if you’re not focused on the fun then whether it’s wholesome or not will make little difference in it’s success.