Salam Alinkum everyone!
There's really not a whole lot of advice for us Muslim Gamers here on the interwebs. We all love Allah and we all love video games, so here's a few ways I found of combining those two things.
1. Say Bismillah
-Before heading off into the virtual world, remember Allah.
2. Why so serious?
-As the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) said “Don’t get angry”. Remember that we play video games for fun. If you find yourself rage-quitting, you’re taking everything too seriously. Relax and enjoy. Download some ‘just for fun’ games off XBLA, Steam, or PSN. One of my favourite PSN games is Flower and my God it’s almost therapeutic. If that’s not your style, then there’s also PAIN where you launch a dude out of a giant slingshot, so that’s therapeutic in its own way. The point is just don’t get worked up; don’t let the shaitan get to you.
3. Level-Up! Alhumdallah!
-Remember that all victories, big, small, and virtual, come from Allah. If you level up, win a tough battle, or solve a difficult puzzle, thank Allah for it. This works in the opposite too: if you’re having difficulty, or if you just keep losing, take a deep breath and say Alhumdallah. As the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) said “Wondrous are the believer’s affairs. For him there is good in all his affairs, and this is so only for the believer. When something pleasing happens to him, he is grateful, and that is good for him; and when something displeasing happens to him, he is patient, and that is good for him”
4. Be the good guy
-Many games like Fallout: New Vegas or InFamous 2 have morality systems where you can choose to side with good or evil. As Muslims we are meant to be the best of mankind, so shouldn’t our virtual selves act the same way? Sometimes I pretend my character is a Muslim, and ask “If I were in this situation, what would I do?” Save the world, kill the bad guy, protect the innocent—standard superhero stuff. Besides, playing the good guy gets the better ending.
5. Avoid the bad stuff
-This should be pretty obvious, but some games, like Grand Theft Auto 4 or Kane and Lynch, really shouldn’t be played by Muslims. Reason being is that you’re playing the villain and doing evil acts. Use your own discretion.
6. Apply your gaming to real-world problems
-Some people say gaming has no real-world benefit. Well, that’s not entirely true. It’s been shown that gamers generally have better fine-motor skills, are better at multi-tasking, better at spacial reasoning (especially if you played Tetris), and have an advantage with problem solving. I played a lot of the old LucasArts Adventure games growing up (like Monkey Island and Sam & Max) and if anything they taught me that every problem has a solution; you just have to think outside the box (hint: it’s the rubber chicken with a pulley in the middle—if you played Monkey Island you’ll get that joke)
7. Don’t neglect your inner child
-Sometimes we get so caught up in HD graphics and gritty realism that we forget that games originated from 8-bit pixels and the only enemies were evil mushrooms, vague spider-shaped things, and bottomless pits. It’s surprisingly refreshing to revisit some of those retro games via Virtual Console, PSN, XBLA, or Steam. However, you can get your modern equivalent of retro gaming goodness in games like Rayman Origins or LittleBigPlanet 2.
8. Don’t be a pirate.
-If the game is on the shelves, buy it. As the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) said “A time will come to mankind when man will not care whether what he gets comes from a lawful or an unlawful source,” and there are many times in the Quran where Allah tells us to spend our money. Piracy is one of the greatest problems in the entertainment industry. One of the most deplorable stories I heard is when a couple years back The Humble Indie Bundle came out, and was a collection of games where gamers could choose how much to pay for it—even if it was only a penny. But people were still pirating it. People refused to even pay a penny to support the Indie-game developers. Don’t be like that. Buy your games.
9. Manage your gaming time
-Enjoy your games, but don’t let them become your life. Make sure you don’t neglect your duties, both Islamically and worldly. If you have homework to do, do it; when it’s time to pray, go pray; if you have a job, be there on time. This really depends on your schedule. I find the best time to play games is at the end of the day, after everything is dome. I usually save my gaming for 10-12, when the day is done and it’s time to wind down.
10. Loading screen? Remember Allah
-Oh loading screens; those lovely static screens with a progress bar at the bottom. Well, instead of just staring blankly, take these precious few seconds (or minutes, if you’re Fallout) to remember Allah and say some Alhumdallah, Subhanallah, Allahu-Akbar, Astaghfirullah, or make a few short du’ah.
11. Play some puzzle games
-Not all games are mindless. Some games really require you to use your noggin’. I think Portal and Portal 2 should be on everyone’s game shelf. There are some very clever puzzle games on XBLA, PSN, and Steam. Limbo is a beautifully haunting platformer with some very good puzzles. And if you really want to wrack your brain, download Braid. If you’re in the mood for something more lighthearted, anything by Telltale Games (Tales from Monkey Island, Sam & Max, Back to the Future) is fun and easy to enjoy—and capable of twisting your grey matter.
Hope you enjoyed it, and take some of this advice to heart
Salam Alainkum everyone!