Whenever I think about my time playing video games over the years, I have the tendency to get quite nostalgic. For me and my friends, the long hot summer days were spent inside the house as well as outside of it. Sure we would go out to the playground and the baseball diamonds to enjoy our time outside, but when we needed a break, my basement was always cool and the Nintendo 64 was always prepped. For all four years of high school, the game of choice for all of my friends was the legendary 007: GoldenEye. I remember the marathon matches that we would have, using a large plethora of armaments that a real secret agent would never use if he didn’t want to get caught. Occasionally, we would ditch the multi-player mode and play the single player campaign where we attempted to unlock all of the game’s “cheats” by playing the game on the hardest levels. Some enemies made it easier than others.
Now, video game clichés come in many shapes and sizes. No matter how amazing and epic the game may be, chances are that it is going to have at least one, or a dozen, of these little clichés that have been used over and over and over again in various video games. In GoldenEye, there is one particular cliché that makes me happier than a seagull with a french fry, and that is the “enemy standing next to the brightly colored explosive barrel” shtick. This has been used many, many times in FPSs over the years, and I highly doubt that developers are ever going to create enemies with enough brain power to know that standing next to a barrel clearly marked as dangerous is not a good idea during a gun fight; it’s just too much fun for the player. In GoldenEye, the enemy soldiers have the IQ of a inbred gnat, so they seem to meet up in groups around these barrels to have a chat or play a game of cards. All it takes is one well-placed bullet and “BAM,” five soldiers with one shot.
Now I am not a proponent of violence, and if you ask me I will tell you that I cannot stand the newer FPS games because they are more realistic than the over-the-top game play of the earlier games (For example, the very first Doom was funny, this new title is nasty). In the case of GoldenEye, the idea of a stupid guard standing next to an explosive barrel is almost too good of a metaphor for me to pass up. Nobody in their right mind would stand next to something so dangerous during an event like a gun fight, but in many ways, people do it all of the time.
According to the Holy Scriptures, there is a war going on around us. It says in Ephesians 6:10-12:
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
Many Christians paint for themselves this picture of hordes of demons clashing against grand battalions of angels in an epic battle for their souls, but if the truth were to be told, this passage of Scripture is probably the most vivid look at spiritual warfare that you will find in the entire Bible. We are in combat for our souls, and there are spiritual forces out to get us, but I believe many people do not even realize that they are in a battle at all. They are making it very easy for the enemy to snuff them out, hanging out around the proverbial “red barrels” of this life. These barrels are objects that the enemy can use to inflict so much pain upon us; a compromising situation, a computer left open, a lost wallet on the ground, a dishonest friend who just has to be punished, all of these situations are explosive and are meant to take us down. Throngs of people entertain these situations, and the broken trail of their lives show everyone else what happens to those who decide to hang out near dangerous situations, but does that stop others from following their example? Well, watch the news.
We as Christians are called to be an example to the world. In Biblical language, we are to be “salt and light.” Listen to what is says in Matthew 5:13-16:
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
We should be the examples of what to do instead of what not to do. As Christians we should not get caught up in the same traps that everyone else is getting hung up in. The enticing allurement of the “red barrels” of life have drawn many to their destruction, but the real testament will come from the Christians who do not allow for that trap to trick them. If we can learn anything from GoldenEye, it’s to not standing next to explosive barrels, both literally and figuratively.