Summit breakout talk:
Gaming for God


“God meets us where we are, including in our free time and our hobbies,” said Victoria Garcia-Nicoud, campus minister for Catholic Campus Ministry at William & Mary, at a Summit breakout session, Saturday, Feb. 10. The subject of the talk was “Leveling Up Our Leisure.” She made a presentation to go with her talk, complete with video game-themed graphics.

About 80 college students packed into a room at the Greater Richmond Convention Center on Feb. 10, some standing and some sitting on the floor, to hear Garcia-Nicoud excitedly talk about how playing video games can be a time of reflection.

She explained that even when we are playing video games, “God is ever-present in our lives and is always trying to communicate with us.”

She pointed to specific games to show examples of how gamers can grow closer to God. In the “Legend of Zelda” games, Garcia-Nicoud compared the character Link to Jesus, talking about heroic virtue and the good choices gamers can make.

The popular campus minister also used the game “Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic” as an example. She explained that in this game, players choose to be a Sith or a Jedi, and that it is easier to choose the Dark Side if one wants to do better in the game.

Garcia-Nicoud pointed out that “in life, it is easier to choose the dark side, to choose sin – but your reward at the end will be much greater if you choose good.”

She said that the story of this game is that the worst character, the villain, is still redeemable. And Jesus gives us every opportunity to turn away from sin – no matter what, she added.

Emily Belmont, a student from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), said she was curious about the topic, and ended up loving the talk. Belmont said she enjoys story analysis in books and movies and appreciated Garcia-Nicoud’s analysis of games.

“So many games can have that morality component … and it can be a space where you can test things out without real consequences.”

Olivia Montes, another student from VCU, said this talk caught her eye because “it just seemed kind of outrageous and I wanted to see what was in store.”

“A lot of media nowadays is not really centered around a Christian or Catholic message,” Montes added. “Now whatever I play … is definitely going to be thought about through a more Christian lens.”


Read the full report from DYC and Summit.


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