Last night I was playing an online video game that allows you to create and be your own superhero. As I was flying around the virtual city defeating bad guys and saving those in need, I began to think about why these games are so popular. Does it have something to do with the fact that for a few moments you can pretend to save the world?
It called to mind a recent blog post I read by a Catholic priest, Father Robert Barron, who proposes that superheroes are in some ways portraying a Christ-like nature. He wrote, “These superheroes are hybrid combinations of the extraordinary and the ordinary…we have someone who, in his lowliness, is able completely to identify and sympathize with our suffering and, in his transcendence, is able to do something about it.”
I think that appeal is also present in certain video games that allow you to do things that are extraordinary. Sure, video games and movies are no way close to real life. Decisions in video games, for example, are generally black and white matters, with the goal clearly stated – defeat the bad, defend the good.
But I do like to think that each one of us has the ability to do things that are good, and in many ways extraordinary in our everyday life. For example, listening to a friend in need, taking someone who is having a bad day out for a cup of coffee, or helping a colleague with work just might make you a bit of a hero in someone’s life.
What do you think? Please share!