“Ask a Priest: Is It OK to Develop a Horror Game?”

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Q: I have a question about whether or not it is a sin to develop a horror game. I develop that because of my hobby, and I love the dark atmosphere in the game. Although my game wants to express a good message to the community, is it still a sin to develop a horror game? – Tom

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: I’m guessing that you mean some kind of video game.

This is a decision that only you can make. Only you know the factors that are involved.

Some key factors to consider are:

What is the “good message” you want to express and what are the means you are using?

Will the game appeal to baser instincts (such as sex and gore) or will it depict the struggle between good and evil in such a way as to promote a sense of hope, endurance or courage in the face of fear? The game need not be a video version of the Catechism, but it can be a powerful tool for teaching solid moral values.

To follow on that point about baser instincts: Will the game depict the bodies of men and women as mere objects of pleasure or as targets of violence? And how will the players of the game likely perceive them?

And then there is the specific theme you have in mind for this game. Depicting Satanism and the occult, for instance, is problematic since it can arouse dangerous curiosity. Players could unwittingly associate demonic activity with fun and games – which it certainly isn’t.

Perhaps it might be good to step back and look at the big picture of your life.

Whenever we find ourselves asking, “Is this a sin?”, that might be a moment to pause and ask whether we are spending our time wisely. Our conscience might be nudging us to avoid something seedy.

Maybe the better question to ask is, “How does God want me to use my talents for his glory and to help other people reach heaven?”

That is a much different kind of question — and that is the kind of question that will point you in a good direction.

And remember, the history of art and literature tends to show that it is beauty rather than horror that is more effective at lifting hearts heavenward.

Perhaps some of this is worth taking to prayer. It might also be worth doing a vocation statement for yourself.


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One Comment
  1. Father M’s question: “Does God want me to use my talents for his glory and to help other people reach heaven?”

    A recent idea came to mind:

    An ADULT member of CHRIST’S CHURCH, is to be as a GPS (G-od P-owered S-acramental) to those other humans who ‘are a bit lost’ on the earthly journey.

    We are the ‘instruments’ of Christ, used to ASSIST our Savior’s work . . . as Father said if ‘horror’ is making ‘evil’ seem interesting . . . and exciting . . . then THINK AGAIN.

    This ‘ease of imaginative’ using apps is in itself TOO EASY to separate humanity from one’s good soul. if HORROR is one’s thing, consider putting in the time to write a horror story… which brings youth to READ…using their God given intellect. Work the story (beginning, middle, end) to the happy conclusion that FEAR is not FAITH and that ‘that which goes bump in the dark night’ takes from an EVER PRESENT HEAVEN . . . FEAR NOT says the Lord… I am with you always . . . unless ‘WE’ MOVE FROM HIM.

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