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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Game of Life (09/11/08)

TITLE: Life Isn't A Video Game
By Donna Powers


“Kyle Steven Green, put down that Gameboy right now and take out the trash!”

Kyle sighed. The game was just getting good, but he knew when she used all three of his names he’d better pay attention. He threw the Gameboy down on the couch and walked out to the trashcan. Mom was peeling potatoes and didn’t even glance his way, but she knew somehow to tell him, “and don’t roll your eyes at me, young man. You know the rules about doing your chores before playing your games.”

”Sorry, Mom. I forgot, that’s all.”

“It’s not the first time you ‘forgot’, Kyle,” she reminded him. “You know you have to do your chores as soon as you get home, and make sure your homework is done, too. You’ll have plenty of time for the games later. After all, life isn’t a video game.”

Kyle apologized again and hefted the trash bag. He trudged slowly down to the dumpster. He knew Mom was right and he didn’t mean to forget his chores, but video games were the most fun he had. Moving to this new town hadn’t been easy and he missed his dad a lot, since the divorce. He still missed his old friends and the kids here didn’t seem to want to include him in their groups. His room just didn’t feel like home yet. He kind of liked his new church, and even enjoyed going to youth group, but that was only once a week. If it weren’t for video games, his life would be a real bummer.

What was that Mom had said? “Life isn’t a video game”? True, but wouldn’t it be awesome if it was?

He’d be as carefree as Mario and Luigi: jumping up and down the street in search of prizes and fun. He’d always find an adventure around every corner. There’d be no school or chores in his video game world. He’d never have to listen to his parents and he could stay up as late as he liked. He’d shoot webs up buildings and climb them like Spiderman. He’d fly like Superman, race hot cars or go on cool quests with Zelda. He’d shoot down every enemy and solve every puzzle. He’d gobble up endless treats, like Pac Man. He’d find and catch all the good Pokemon characters.

Kyle reached the dumpster and lobbed the bag over its edge. It made a satisfying “plop”, and he began his way back to the house. Yeah, he’d really love it if his real life could be a video game. Even fighting villains would be easy, because it would all be a game.

But, wait… if he were alive in the video game world, then wouldn’t the villains be alive, too? Wouldn’t Donkey Kong be a scary gorilla instead of a cartoon? Wouldn’t the kryptonite really hurt him, instead of just changing the strength of the character on his screen? Wouldn’t the beasts of Zelda’s forest be looking to eat him, for real?

And, what about God? In real life, he could trust God to take care of him and Mom and learn from the Bible about what choices to make. He had accepted Jesus into his life at camp last summer, and he was glad to know he’d be going to heaven. Would there be any heaven in his game? And he had to wonder…if he were in a video game, who would be at the controls? If he was part of a game, would he be at the mercy of someone with a bad plan or just some bored kid who might enjoy killing off his character? Without the power to make choices or to trust God to lead him, his life would be at the mercy of whoever happened to pick up the game.

Kyle shook his head as he went back into the house. He looked longingly at his Gameboy, but headed for his books. He guessed he could live with the fact that life isn’t a video game, and if he got his homework done now, he’d have time for some games later without Mom yelling at him. And, for Kyle, that was as good as life was going to get, tonight.

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Member Comments
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darlene pistocchi09/19/08
What a great article. Really captures the essence of kids being so enchanted by video games. Great description and great dialogue. Kyle learns a valuable lesson. Good moral. Very well done.
Sunny Loomis 09/22/08
Well told story. Kids are enchanted by video games.Maybe that's why they don't respect much. Good lessons here.