Why Do We Play?

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A few weeks ago, I asked the Theology Gaming Community:

The TG Community answered:

  • Entertainment
  • Bridge gaps of distance
  • Stories
  • To slow down and enjoy friends
  • To learn new systems/rules
  • To be invited into a piece of art, by the artist, as a collaborator
  • To forget about problems
  • Video games are fun
  • Enjoyment
  • Escapism
  • Fantasy of having increased power/capability
  • Gaming brings people together

Sam went on to say:

Mainly it’s my time to ‘turn off’ from any sort of stresses in real life and just sit back and enjoy something. But there are other huge things I’d miss if I wasn’t gaming. Mainly the excellent communities you become a part of, and I have found, since starting college, it’s a great way to keep in touch with friends who went elsewhere.

Joe emailed me his reply:

Apollo 13 is one of my favorite movies. It’s a classic tale of man versus adversity. Human ingenuity wins out over a catastrophe that almost certainly should have spelled certain death for the three brave crewmen. It’s a great story to watch, but as a viewer I can only be a passive observer of this story. Kerbal Space Program, however, allows me to be the solution as well as the cause of all my Kerbonaut’s problems. What should be a routine trip around the moon turns into an epic series of rescue mission because of my inability to effectively design spacecraft. Running out of fuel, botched engine burns, missing solar panels, and the inability to dock two spacecraft turn Kerbal Space Program into an interactive rescue simulation. The best part of all this? My experience will never be exactly the same as anyone else’s. 
That’s the appeal of gaming to me: personalized entertainment. While most games will offer a similar overall experience to its players, little details and interactions are unique to each person. Nobody has the same struggles as I do in Kerbal Space Program. My approach to clearing Liberty Island in Deus Ex will be different than anyone else I know. Dark Souls fosters camaraderie with fellow players who follow the same story beats, even though not everyone will struggle with the same sections. Though I play the same game as thousands and millions of other people, my own experiences with that game are unique to me. This is what sets gaming apart from every other form of media. It’s fun, it’s dynamic, and it’s accessible. Why wouldn’t I play games?  

For me, gaming is about:

Relationships  The conversations that happen while trying to outscore my wife in King Domino.

Nostalgia – Playing Chess with my son reminds me of all the times I played Chess with my Grandpa. I miss him and those times we had together playing Chess, flying remote control airplanes, and telling stories.

Imagination – As with good books, video games allow me to visit other worlds and step into the shoes of someone else.

Discovery – Digital worlds come with their own individual sets of rules. I love seeing what a game world will allow me to do/not do.

Connection – Nothing like discussing games with fellow enthusiasts, taps into my nerdier side.

Sampling All The Flavors – I love constantly trying new games which allows me to experience the different gaming mechanics they each bring to the screen.

Why do you play?

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Question: Why do you play?

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Working on a community post, so-to-speak, that will feature responses to the question:

Why do you play?

Care to join me? Start writing!

Submissions are due by end of the day Friday (2/9).

Playing Videogames Like a Christian

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To play videogames as a Christian, however, requires being honest and discerning not just about their content, but about their value. The entertainment games provide is just one of the many values intrinsic to interactive media. Let’s play games responsibly, with discernment and moderation, but let’s dig deeper. Let’s tap into the many values of games, and ask the Lord to open our eyes to values we’ve failed to see. In playing games Christianly, we may just become more self aware, more mindful of our neighbor, and more in love with our God.

Thought Drew Dixon did an excellent job on this piece. Read the full article here

Super 8

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While my wife was busy prepping for school last night, I watched J.J. Abram’s Super 8 for the first time. I had a blast!

Behold, the lens flare of doom!

While the movie clearly felt like an older Steven Spielberg movie, the pacing and visuals easily surpassed his earlier works. I have to say that I enjoyed the clever camera shots that hid the “monster” until the appropriate time. I also loved the overarching theme of kids making a movie. Reminded me of all the films I tried to make as a kid with my friends.

I would have been the chunky kid…that eventually thinned out with time. 🙂

There was one particular scene, in the movie, that got to me a bit. Reminded me of how awesome it is to have home movies, especially of those that we love that have passed away.

This past June, on a vacation to see my parents in Southern California, my wife and I happened to spend an evening watching old home videos. In the videos, I saw grandparents who are long deceased moving, talking, and acting with all their memorable mannerisms. It made me cry.

Watching Super 8 reminded me of that night with my wife. Strip away the monster plot and Super 8 is all about a father and son living in the emotional aftermath of losing a wife/mother. What I most enjoyed about the film is that it focused on its simple human story, even when the town was being blown a part by the cliched “evil” military. Movies that are bold enough to be quiet and thoughtful are a rarity. Regardless of what critics or what you might even think, I enjoyed my night with Super 8 on Netflix.