Revisited – Christ, the Coliseum, and Violence

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This is one of the first pieces I ever wrote for another site (back in 2013). Still love this scenario. The Assassin’s Creed series is often the Adventures in Odyssey equivalent of the Imagination Station

I left Christ in the Roman Coliseum; I left him to die.

Carefully scaling the Coliseum walls, I slowly made my way towards my first targets: three would-be snipers. Quietly, in succession, I stealthily stabbed each in the back. Not one of the snipers knew of my existence. I am the wind, the shadows, the reaper of death. I am justice incarnate.

My second target: saving the actor playing Jesus Christ in a play. The irony of a Passion Play in the Roman Coliseum does not escape me. Who knows how many Christians fought for their very lives within these walls? Some believers even torn to shreds by lions for the amusement of Nero and the people. I shudder in disgust and then slip on the disguise of a Roman soldier. Christ awaits my saving grace.

Events quickly unfold in a way I could not foretell. The actor playing Christ has been drugged! I effortlessly scoop him up as Borgia men flood in from all sides of the Coliseum. My mission: get Christ to a doctor. Holding him, I can clearly see his crown of thorns and the fake blood smeared on him. I know his only hope is a cure beyond the battle ensuing around me. Suddenly, the world grinds to a stop.

– Reality Confronted –

If you haven’t guessed, my PS3 locked up as I was escorting the drugged actor to a doctor. I was frustrated. A day has since gone by and I have yet to try again. My wife reminds me that it took Christ three days to resurrect, so why not give the game a rest? My conscience is restless. Nine hours of Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood has left me with questions. I find myself questioning the digital bodies I have left de-rezzed; I find myself questioning what I am learning about life, beyond the fact that assassinations from the air look awesome. Perspective is everything.

I know that at the end of the day I will return and continue my “historical” Roman adventure. But I want to keep in mind that violence is reality based. Violence is also something that is worshiped within American cinema and culture. I believe that the reason on-screen violence resonates with people so much is due to the fact that it is usually carried out in the pursuit of justice. The Bible says this though:

Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. – Romans 12:19 (NIV)

and this:

Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him! – Isaiah 30:18 (NLT)

I realize that Ezio’s actions in Brotherhood are simply a part of a fantasy world. I also realize that God is an avenger and a dealer of justice. Though I know that the worlds of fantasy and reality can sometimes blend, I want to be mindful of who and what I am allowing to shape my soul. So God help me.

Building The Perfect PlayStation 3 Library

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PlayStation 3 Logo

Just as Jor-El knew that Krypton’s days were numbered, I too can see the end of PlayStation 3 games being available for purchase. Below you will find a list of all the PlayStation 3 games I have owned/played. Are there any games missing from this list, that you would recommend, that I should hunt down and acquire? The perfect PS3 library must be built.

  • Assassin’s Creed
  • Assassin’s Creed II
  • Assassin’s Creed II: Brotherhood
  • Assassin’s Creed II: Revelations
  • Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum
  • Bit.Trip Runner 2
  • Burnout Paradise
  • Dragon Age Origins
  • Dragon Age 2
  • Ducktales Remastered
  • Enslaved: Odyssey to the West
  • Final Fantasy VII
  • Flower
  • Guacamelee
  • Journey
  • Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light
  • Lego Lord of the Rings
  • Lego Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Little Big Planet
  • Mass Effect Trilogy
  • Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
  • PixelJunk Eden
  • PixelJunk Monsters
  • PixelJunk Racers
  • Quantum Conundrum
  • Rayman Origins
  • Red Dead Redemption
  • Risk Factions
  • Shadow of the Colossus HD
  • Skylanders Giants
  • Skylanders SWAP Force
  • Skyrim
  • Thomas Was Alone
  • Uncharted Trilogy
  • Wheel of Fortune

Christ, the Coliseum, and Violence

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(Bryan Note: This essay was originally published over at TheologyGaming.)

I left Christ in the Roman Coliseum; I left him to die.

acbrotherhood

Carefully scaling the Coliseum walls, I slowly made my way towards my first target: three would-be snipers. Quietly, in succession, I stealthily stabbed each in the back. Not one of the snipers knew of my existence. I am the wind, the shadows, the reaper of death. I am justice incarnate.

My second target: saving the actor playing Jesus Christ in a play. The irony of a Passion Play in the Roman Coliseum does not escape me. Who knows how many Christians fought for their very lives within these walls? Some believers even torn to shreds by lions for the amusement of Nero and the people. I shudder in disgust and then slip on the disguise of a Roman soldier. Christ awaits my saving grace.

Events quickly unfold in a way I could not foretell. The actor playing Christ has been drugged! I effortlessly scoop him up as Borgia men flood in from all sides of the Coliseum. My mission: get Christ to a doctor. Holding him, I can clearly see his crown of thorns and the fake blood smeared on him. I know his only hope is a cure beyond the battle ensuing around me. Suddenly, the world grinds to a stop.

– Reality Confronted –

If you haven’t guessed, my PS3 locked up as I was escorting the drugged actor to a doctor. I was frustrated. A day has since gone by and I have yet to try again. My wife reminds me that it took Christ three days to resurrect, so why not give the game a rest? My conscience is restless. Nine hours of Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood has left me with questions. I find myself questioning the digital bodies I have left de-rezzed; I find myself questioning what I am learning about life, beyond the fact that assassinations from the air look awesome. Perspective is everything.

I know that at the end of the day I will return and continue my “historical” Roman adventure. But I want to keep in mind that violence is reality based. Violence is also something that is worshiped within American cinema and culture. I believe that the reason on-screen violence resonates with people so much is due to the fact that it is usually carried out in the pursuit of justice. The Bible says this though:

Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. – Romans 12:19 (NIV)

and this:

Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him! – Isaiah 30:18 (NLT)

I realize that Ezio’s actions in Brotherhood are simply a part of a fantasy world. I also realize that God is an avenger and a dealer of justice. Though I know that the worlds of fantasy and reality can sometimes blend, I want to be mindful of who and what I am allowing to shape my soul. So God help me.

Off Campus: Bryan is over at Theology Gaming today. Come visit!

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Theology Gaming

“After all, to the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure” ~ J.K. Rowling

Every story has to have an inciting incident. A moment that propels the protagonist to respond with action. No matter the greatness of the action however, forward motion is key.  Click here to read more

Surf Report – 5/6/2013

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Surf Report

Welcome to the Monday edition of the Surf Report.

.: God :

Ever since I can remember, my wife has told me that her dream was/is to be a stay-at-home mom. I knew this before I married her. This spring, after 8 years of teaching–I don’t know if she’ll ever know how proud I am of her–, we started praying over whether she should continue teaching or not. A few months later, the deadline for her contract renewal came up. We had to make a decision. Oddly, we both felt like she needed to stay home with our son. Now, what is odd about this is that we both crave comfort; we both crave the security that her job provides. Well, we ended up deciding that she won’t be teaching next year. This means big changes for the Hall household.

Last night, my pastor mentioned the above “balance beam” sermon by Francis Chan. Even though I have peace over the decision my wife and I made, I still feel like I have been desperately clinging to the balance beam of life. Not wanting to let go of the safety and comfort the balance beam provides. Sure, I’ll let go and tell God that he can have my stress, fear, and worry. Almost immediately though, I grab back onto the beam.

Following Christ is all about stepping out of our comfort zones. I know this. I don’t want to live a life of sheltered/calculated risk. I want to go and do what God is calling me to do…even if that means moving forward and letting go.

I don’t want to go where the majority goes…

.: Life :

See above.

.: Gaming :

I went out and bought 3 games on Saturday:

  • Trauma Center: Trauma Team (Wii)
  • Dragon Age 2 (PS3)
  • Metroid: Other M (Wii)

Trauma Center: Trauma Team – My wife and I fired up the Wii and immediately dove into surgery–once we figured out how to set up the controls for co-op–. Overall the game looks and plays like a Trauma Center game, no surprise there. I’ll keep ya’ll posted on this one.

Dragon Age 2

Dragon Age 2 – I am not the biggest fan of Dragon Age Origins. Origins is one of those games that I really want to like but just can’t seem to get into. Dragon Age 2, on the other hand, has been pretty awesome so far. I love the fluid magic system (I’m playing as a mage) and the character interaction. DA2 plays more like an action game with RPG elements versus DA1, which was an RPG with action elements. The $10 price tag makes the game even more awesome.

Metroid: Other M – Universally hated by reviewers due to it’s portrayal of series protagonist, Samus Aran. Metroid: Other M, features tight gameplay mixed with cutscenes that depict Samus as a girl with daddy issues. The disconnect between the Samus portrayed in the cutscenes versus the Samus I’m playing in the game is jarring. We’ll see if I keep going. My Wii’s disc drive was making some pretty crazy sounds while I was playing. If the Wii fails, this will be the second time I’ve had to send it in for repairs. Lame.

wavesplinter

That’s it for this weeks Surf Report. Make sure to comment below and have a good week!

Stargazing

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Sundays are always long days for some reason. This past Sunday was no different from any other, except I took my son on an adventure.

The sun had long set when I asked my 3 year old if he wanted to go outside. He had been sitting on the couch playing Learning with the PooYoos on the PS3. He quickly said yes and scrambled to get his shoes on. Wanting to know what we were going to be doing, I told him that we were going on an adventure. So we grabbed our flashlights and headed out into the dark backyard.

Trees transformed into monsters; shadows danced along with the flashlights. We walked around the backyard on our adventure, checking out different nooks and crannies. It was then that I had an idea, so I ran back inside the house and grabbed the iPad.

*Photo by HubbleColor {Zolt}, Creative Commons

Coming back outside, I set a chair out in the middle of the yard and we sat and stared at the sky. I showed him where different planets were thanks to the Star Walk app. The entire time you could almost see the gears in his brain working overtime. He kept asking questions, wanting to know if we could breathe on Mars. He asked me if there were robots on Mars. I told him yes. He grew very concerned when I told him that we had left a robot or two on Mars due to their batteries dying. Later on, when we went back into the house, he asked his Mom how we could get batteries to the robots. Apparently robots are cooler than planets. I should know that.

Assassin’s Creed III: Shifting Emotional Gears

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Note: The following contains spoilers regarding Assassin’s Creed III. Turn back now if you have yet to play this game. You will thank me. I promise.

Three hours into my Assassin’s Creed III play-through, I finally came across the emotional meat needed to sustain my gaming appetite. Up until this point, I had been playing through what I now know was a three sequence long prologue. Using Haytham Kenway as the player’s gateway into the world of ACIII was genius if not jarring. After months of seeing the protagonist Connor’s face splashed across multiple web sites and magazines, my initial reaction to Haytham was a resounding, “huh”. Why am I not playing as the awesome looking assassin on the front cover of the game? Who is “Haytham Kenway”? Time certainly did reveal that all along I was playing as both Connor’s father and as a much hated Templar–plot twist!–.

I was excited to finally play as Connor last night. His story seems to be fueled by revenge, much like Ezio’s story in ACII. How this The Patriot meets Pocahontas/The Last of the Mohicans mash-up plays out remains to be seen. I will be back.