Typically, we only hear clergy talk about violent video games in a negative way.
But Brooklyn Rabbi Micah Kelber has an op-ed in Jewish media outlet The Forward this weekend, in which he describes, at length and with a lot of subtlety, how Activision-produced (ATVI) World War II-themed video game ‘Call of Duty: World At War’ helped him confront his life-long fear of Nazi persecution.
The whole thing is worth reading, but a taste of what the Rabbi has to say:
As a Jew, being involved in virtually ending World War II allows you to experience the closest thing possible to killing the sense of victimhood created by the Holocaust. And you do it without actually hurting any real people. In fact, it’s so satisfying that when you get to shoot down the golden eagle on the Reichstag, while sniping headshots at flame-throwing Nazis, you simply don’t want the war to end…
The surprising benefit of the game was that throughout my entire life, since sneaking into the synagogue library with David Yagobian and paging through a book of Nazi medical experiments, I have had nightmares about Nazis. Jewish summer camp didn’t help. In games like “Call of Duty,” you get unlimited lives; you keep playing the game until you are victorious. It’s a safe place. When your character dies, you may have to go back to a checkpoint, but this is simply inconvenient, never tragic or final. You will always have another chance to kill your demons.