March 22, 2012

Some Basics

A few posts into the new blog and yet we still haven't identified the problems we're facing. Well, time to address that now.

The problems we face as a Christian game developer are manifold. And might I add, as a Christian game development company whose founders are mostly inner-city African-Americans, the issues we face mount even more. But, here's the condensed list of things we want to tackle:

  1. Knowledge of God
  2. Respect for others
  3. Access to opportunity and growth
If you think about it, most if not all of society's problems can be boiled down to those three issues. If I'm missing something, let me know. But for now, let me expand a bit on these.

Knowledge of God

We live in a time when many people in the West profess to know God. Many would call themselves Christians. To be honest, I question that. Many of the things we say we believe about God either are mere head-knowledge that doesn't translate to our daily lives ("I believe in God"), or are superstitions and colloquial phrases that sounded good at the time ("God helps those who help themselves"), or are really just our way of distinguishing ourselves from Muslims. And in either case, many of us see God as someone to run to for shelter from Hell and (maybe) life's problems.

But God has so much more to do with your life than just keep you out of eternal fire. God wants to be part of your life, not just there for your death. And He wants us to know Him! And He is best represented by His Son, Jesus. 

Our desire at Renewal Corporation is to use our games as a visual and interactive way to show how God works and how He thinks. We want to make the Bible's lessons become real for you. If you're in doubt, I'll tell you from experience how relevant and true it is, and how it transcends circumstances. You'll truly feel like you benefited from reading and understanding it.

Respect for others

Let's be real. We know how to be jerks to each other, and we can truly be very inconsiderate. There's no end to the list of little things we do to each other in addition to the big things.

Personally, I believe that the way we envision God dictates the way we treat people. What I mean is, the way we believe God acts is the best way, and if we see God as behaving in a certain manner, we emulate that. So if we see God as bossy and controlling, we emulate that and become bossy and controlling. Whatever we look at in life, whether that's God or some other figure we admire, we look at their traits and emulate those in our own lives. And they have ramifications on our treatment of people.

So, as you'll see in our games, situations will come up that demonstrate how we treat each other, both as good examples and bad examples, and you'll be able to see yourself from another angle.

Another angle where this is applicable is within the company. One reason why I want to start this company is to be fairer to our employees, and seek everyone's benefit, not just the owners' or the stockholders' or the customers'. I believe we fundamentally must look at employees as more than just cogs in a wheel. Just as we show in our games, we also practice in real life as we make the games. In doing so, it's also my hope that we reexamine our business assumptions and practices and see why we do what we do. Part of my reason for going to a Christian school was to strip off some of the world's assumptions on business and begin looking at things from an enlightened perspective. I wanted to be sure there were no godless views that slipped under my nose. And I'm hoping we can do the same for you and the game industry.

Access to opportunity and growth

Maybe it's just me, but looking back, I admittedly feel like my opportunities were isolated growing up. Not even always because there was no access to be seen or heard of back then, but also because sometimes I isolated myself. I was always hesitant to do anything in addition to schoolwork because I didn't want to get distracted and harm my already mediocre grades.

But from what I see and hear around my community, opportunity is hard to come by, as is strong education and jobs. It's one thing to tell someone to go to school and get good grades, but to what end? To work someone's job? What if I don't want to work for someone else? How can you help me prepare to be independent and do my own work? And what if my subjects don't teach me what I want to really learn? What if my subjects in school are only geared towards getting a job, but not creating one?

These are the kinds of opportunities I'm referring to. Yeah, it's a hint at a liberal arts education, which we really need to stop talking down. But it's also trying to get us out of the mindset (or rather, the box) of there only being one way to get ahead in life. I want to reshape the conversation, particularly in the Black community, and expand our minds towards the possibility of owning our own business instead of always having to work for someone else. That, I think, is much more holistic than just acquiring skills and hoping to land a job in this tough economy.

Using our games, we'll expand that conversation a bit, but also directly pour into our players with new insights and skills they can grow from. No, that doesn't necessarily mean they'll be doing heart surgery in games, but it does mean that as a player, they will not only be entertained, but also personally enriched. Beyond that, our efforts in the community will also be tangible. "Renewal" will be felt not only in our players' hearts, but also in the industry, and in the communities we dwell in.

So those are the basics.

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