It was a dark and stormy night…
With the arrival of 2020, TRG reaches its 5th year of podcasting. It’s quite a milestone for us and we’re so excited to hit that mark. But we got to thinking: 2019 was a big year for the show and we gained a lot of new Deer Listeners. Where did the show come from exactly? Well, gather around and I’ll tell you the tale of how The Reformed Gamers came to be.
What’s funny about The Reformed Gamers is that the idea for it came out of another podcast I was doing in 2013. The show I was doing at the time was marketed as a Christian geek podcast but we never really brought our faith up the way we do on TRG. While that show was definitely fun, it didn’t last long; it only ran 35 episodes. With a new season of seminary, career changes, and life adjustments, we couldn’t continue doing that show. Thus we decided to close down that show.
But I had been bitten by the podcast bug. My homework time became think-tanks for a new show.
As I continued thinking about the concept of a Christian gaming podcast, I stumbled across a podcast called The Reformed Pubcast, a show where the hosts (Les and Tanner) would talk about the Bible, beer, and play some games on air. Their openness about the Bible immediately caught my attention; this was what I wanted to do on the other show! As I became a regular listener of the Pubcast, often moving it to the top of my podcast queue each week, I found myself wondering if there were any other Christian podcasts out there discussing gaming from a Biblical worldview. So my search began… and ended that day.
I didn’t find any that matched what I was looking for.
Sure, there were podcasts out there that were hosted by Christians and kept the discussions family friendly. There were also a lot of blog posts declaring that video games are unfit for Christians because they’re either “wastes of time” or “childish”. I believe that video games are a gift of God, created by those whom God has given talent in design and art. I wanted conversations that wrestled with topics from a Biblical worldview. For example, if we’re commanded in Scripture to not steal, shouldn’t we abstain from ROMs? If we’re not to lust or set any unclean thing before our eyes, can we play games like Catherine? If we’re not to seek out or celebrate violence, where does the fighting genre fit? Are microtransactions really sinful?
Then it hit me: why don’t I start those conversations? If I was wondering these things, surely other brothers and sisters in Christ out there wondered too.
Right around this time, The Reformed Pubcast began discussing starting a network of shows that would align under the umbrella of reformed theology and some other topic. I recall reaching out to them and asking if they had a show in their family discussing both theology and gaming. They replied back with, “Give it your best shot”.
In January of 2015, The Reformed Gamers released our first episode. The show was originally hosted by myself and Jonathan, who would later leave the show after the birth of his twin sons. This opened up an opportunity for my old seminary roommate, Adam, to hop on the show who had recently gotten back into gaming. Since then, we have released over 150 episodes and gone through several changes. We’ve discussed the Biblical ethics of ROMs, how much gaming is too much, in-depth analysis’ of games like Bioshock, Rise of the Tomb Raider, The Last of Us, Kingdom Hearts, and more.
Over the last 5 years, we’ve gone through several changes. We stopped covering news and focused more on the games we’ve played and the books we’ve read. We opened up avenues to engage with Deer Listeners directly. We even started a Patreon. Words may still be difficult, especially when we remember the ways our community has supported us over the years. We have grown alongside the podcast in these 5 years. And we even have our own Deer Editor now. It’s almost like we’re an official legit podcast now.
But if there’s one thing I’ve learned while doing this podcast, it’s this: God always opens another door. Sometimes, our failures produce the groundwork for something greater. It’s been an incredible 5 years of doing the show and we’re excited for what’s to come. What are some of your favorite memories of the show? Share your favorite moments down in the comments below.