For those who do not know, “Choices: Stories You Play” is an app that lets you create your own book where you can manipulate the characters to take certain paths and make decisions throughout the story. Stories range from romance, love, fantasy, horror, and many others. It is similar to “Choose-Your-Own-Adventure.”
I will admit I have not played Choices myself, but I have seen games like it. The App Store gives the recommended age as 17+ years old due to some adult situations. With that in mind, I will respond as if a Christian adult were asking these questions.
In the past, Christians have discussed whether romance novels were a temptation to avoid. As technology advances, we rightly wonder about whether apps like Choices should be avoided. Almost anything in life can become a temptation. However, I don’t believe these apps are inherently bad. Imagination is a good thing when used appropriately. By imagining ourselves in certain situations, we can, with a clear head, determine what path we want to take if the situation arises.
While I don’t see this game as inherently a problematic temptation, I believe one principle we see in Romans is an important guide in this area. Paul is explaining that some think eating meat sacrificed to idols is wrong, while others do not. We read, “The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstained, abstains in honor of the Lord and give thanks to God” (Romans 14:6, ESV). If a person plays a game like Choices with holy intention—taking every thought captive—it is permissible. If a person’s conscience is convicted that it is wrong, they should abstain, and that abstinence honors God. As Paul writes, “Each one must be fully convinced in his own mind” (Romans 14:6, ESV). Someone may play Choices as a way to pass time, while someone else may be indulging an unhealthy emotional and spiritual habit. The reader must look at his or her desire for playing such games or reading such books. Are characters fulfilling your emotional needs to the exclusion of real people in your life?
Games like Choices tell us something about ourselves, good or bad. Are we choosing paths in the game that we wouldn’t choose in real life? What is our motivation for choosing a certain path? Are we trying to use the characters to gratify our own desires? We are told in scripture to take every thought captive in obedience to Christ (2 Cor 5:10). Analyze why you are making certain decisions and learn about yourself in the process. To what extent would these choices honor God in the game, or in real life?