I have this preconceived idea of what a nerd looks like. This image is of a guy with tape around the bridge of his eyeglasses to hold them together, his pants a little too short, his belt cinched too high on his waist, and he’s plenty smart. I’m not sure where I got this picture, maybe from the character, Merkel, of a TV show. Even though they laughingly call themselves nerds, some friends of mine have changed my opinion. They are plenty smart. That assessment hasn’t changed, but the rest has. Several have engineering degrees, are graduates from college, are talented artists and sound effect people. They are internet game developers, or simply game developers. Now, their clothing might not be high fashion, but neither are the teams working in Silicon Valley, but then again, they are computer people.
I came across these friends about five years ago when I strongly felt led of the Lord to check out games. I had first traveled to San Francisco to a conference there, but was put off by the attitude of many there who were against Christians. I later found a much smaller conference of Christian Game Developers, and was astonished at their kindness, cooperation, and true spirituality. They loved making games, but wanted to make ones that families would enjoy, and that brought honor to God. (And they accepted an old lady like me.)
There is a reason why I’m giving this background. I’m a part of a group that is opening a community ministry with one focus on making a safe place for young people to hang out. The other directors have been planning music venues as the catalyst. At our last meeting, I brought them a picture and write-up of a game developer I know. “Guys, with all the current interest in gaming and, and especially Pokemon-Go, we need to incorporate gaming into our plans,” I told them.
I passed out a paper showing a picture of a bearded cowboy with a western hat. His website said he was making “a 2D mobile scroller where superhero kids battle evil monsters with their spiritual weapons.” One of our directors, not to be outdone, said she thought he still looked like a nerd with a hat on!
“Come on, get real!” I answered. “We are at a crossroads in the tech field with our youth culture. The secular world entices them with games of violence and corruption. Because they sell, and money is their god.”
Games are here to stay because they are interactive, and most learning is based on being interactive. Game engines are just digital machines, with a skin (the story) over them. That skin can be good or not so good. Those of us who care for our younger generation need to offer alternative entertainment and excellent skins on our game engines. Skins that can mentor kids into good character traits, even teach Bible stories, etc..
My game developer friend still looks like a cowboy to me, and he’s from Texas! And the last time I went to a renowned cardiologist is this area, he was wearing a Hawaiian shirt and scruffy sneakers…you really can’t tell by appearances, can you? Yeah to the Cool Guys!