Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Pocket God

There’s a popular game app for iPhone called Pocket God. I found out about it from a 15-year-old at my church. He told me of seeing it on a friend’s iPhone at school. And it was clear he liked it . . . and was hinting that I should download it on my iPhone so he could play it more often.

The game sounded clever, it wasn’t expensive, and I can be an easy mark, so I downloaded it. It has since become quite the hit among the youth at church. “Mark, can I play Pocket God?”

As I said, the game is quite clever. You get to “play God” with the natives which you can both create at will and dispatch creatively as well. With various omnipotent motions you can bring about any number of disasters, airborne shark attacks, etc. In fact, come to think of it, I think there are many more ways to be an unpleasant capricious god than a kindly gracious one.

Oh, and there’s no way to really “win.” That’s not the point of the game. The player just gets to play God as much as his heart desires.

In spite of itself, I think the game has two lessons for us. First, it reflects that we are more inclined to blame things on God and see Him as the creator of calamity than we are to thank Him for his goodness. The legal term “act of God” (for which Texas Governor Rick Perry is now getting some grief) does not refer to sunshine or gentle rain or morning dew. Likewise the god of Pocket God seems to have many more ways to perform unpleasant “acts of God” than to be gentle and loving.

Second, having seen the pious youth of my church play “Pocket God” . . . it is a good thing God is God and not they. And it might be a good thing we are not God either.


Floridian said...

The game feeds on the part of us that resists the painful humility of admitting, "I'm not God. I am powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and my life is unmanageable." (Step 1) and "Nothing good lives in me, that is in my sinful nature..." (Romans 7:18-25)

Could be a dangerous and unhealthy game.

Mark said...

I doubt it's dangerous. The game is cartoonish and silly for one thing.

It does reveal that WE are dangerous, however. :)