I enjoy finding ministries that are bringing light in a dark place. Family Friendly Gaming writes reviews for families looking for games that won’t influence their children or themselves in a negative way. Think of them as a place where you can find games that are safe for kids, parents, or someone who doesn’t want to see gore, sexuality or foul language during gameplay. I was able to ask the owner, Paul Bury, some questions about how they came into fruition, feedback from their work over the years, and how they get so many products to review from companies. I hope you enjoy!
Q: Ok, so how did you start FFG (Family Friendly Gaming)? What’s the background story of your website?
I had done this fanzine called Wyldcard’s WAY. I had the handle of Wyldcard on the Internet when I started hanging out online back in 1995. The “WAY” part of the name came from early Christians and followers of the way. We were getting advertisers and needed to move into a full-fledged magazine. At the same time, I was praying for someone in the church to get engaged and involved in video games. I was not aware of Al Menconi Ministries, the CGDC [Christian Game Developers Conference, or CCGR [Christ Centered Gamer] at that point. I tried to get Focus on the Family and Family Life to get involved. Neither would. The video game magazines of the time were getting more focused on the macabre and morbid. Plus they were losing professionalism and having all kinds of profanity in their magazines that were in the kids sections of stores. I felt that was wrong and I pleaded with God to send someone to address this. One of the few times I have heard God’s voice in my life was when He told me, “You Go.” I thought of Moses, Jonah, and Gideon, and none of them felt qualified to do what God commanded them to do. Whether they argued, ran away, or asked for signs, the end result was the same. They did it. So I realized that by obeying, I could save myself some pain and misery. I told God I had no clue how to do it, and I trusted He would provide. Guess what? He has every step of the way. I also felt the name as an impression from the Holy Spirit.
Q: What has given you the motivation to continue with the site after so many years?
Obedience to God would be the first thing. Something else that has motivated me is death threats. For me, people that want to stop FFG from existing are showing that Satan is worried about what we do.
Q: Tell me about the FFG magazine. How did that come about, and what has been the feedback from your readers thus far?
The magazine came about the same time as the website. It has gone from physical copy to electronic version based on cost. There are worldly people who don’t like us but our integrity, honesty, and willingness to have an open conversation have won the vast majority of them over. Sometimes it takes a few people some time to comprehend that we apply a Biblical standard to what we do. We get a lot of thanks from Consumer Rights Advocates because we are big on that, and the same goes for supporters of the physical copy movement. Something else that was part of the origins of FFG is Dan “Shoe” Hsu. I was an avid reader of Electronic Gaming Monthly from way back. Like issue #21 or something. Dan took EGM into a darker direction. He had the magazine attack things that are good and wholesome, all the while glorifying the bad. He was a part of video game journalism leaving Christians and families behind, at least from what I saw at the time.
Q: How do you get the games or products to review? Do you have connections with the developers or manufacturers?