halosBy Craig Detweiler, ed. | WJK Books | softcover | 256 pages | $19.95

Craig Detweiler taps game designers, reviewers and players for a Christian interpretation on video games in Halos & Avatars: Playing Video Games With God. Avoiding the simplistic trap of branding games as evil, the compilation examines the benefits, spiritual and otherwise, that gamers derive from this modern incarnation of leisure activity.

Detweiler groups the various authors' commentaries into three sections dealing in general with video-game story, play and role issues. Because of the multiple authors, the viewpoint is not entirely consistent from chapter to chapter, and similar points arise repeatedly. For example, several authors feel that some secular titles such as Bioshock offer a spiritual takeaway superior to that of what they consider to be superficially Christian games such as Left Behind: Eternal Forces.

Interspersing the chapters are sidebars with blatantly honest profiles of individual teenage gamers—most confessing they would achieve better grades without games. An appendix offers coping hints for game-weary parents. For Christians unsure of what to make of video games, Halos & Avatars offers some intriguing perspectives.

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