The Lenten season is about the sin that was the reason for the suffering and sacrifice of the Savior. It is about taking the time to reflect on why we all needed such a radical move of redemption, to confess the hold that sin still has on us, and to focus on opening our hands, in confession and submission, and letting go of sin once again. But as we do this, it is important to remember that the knowledge of sin is not a dark and nasty thing but a huge and wonderful blessing. If you are aware of your sin, you are aware of it only because you have been visited by amazing grace. Don’t resist that awareness. Silence your inner lawyer and all the self-defending arguments for your righteousness. Quit relieving your guilt by pointing a finger of blame at someone else. And stop telling yourself in the middle of a sermon that you know someone who really needs to hear it.
Pandemic is a cooperative board game that requires players to take on different roles/coordinate their moves in an effect to treat infections/find cures for four different viruses. At the end of each player turn, cards are drawn which cause the viruses to spread even further. Will solid teamwork win the day?
Years ago, Tab and I had a bad experience with Pandemic. For an entire game, we were told what to do:
“Use your special move to do this.”
“You should move here to stop the yellow virus from spreading.”
Instead of being allowed to wrap our head around the game’s unique mechanics, we were compelled to be good soldiers and follow orders. This experience made Tab and I never want to play Pandemic again… and so we didn’t. We avoided the game like the plague.
Side Note: Our experience, I later found out, was not unique. In the board game world it even has a term: “Quarterbacking”. Quarterbacking occurs in cooperative board games when one player dominates the group by telling everyone else how to play.
Last year, one of my big pushes was to introduce cooperative board gaming to our family. I wanted less of us all working against each other and more of us working together to overcome the board. So we played a bunch of cooperative games such as:
- Castle Panic
- Forbidden Island
- The Mind
- The Game Card Game
For Christmas, I decided to ask for Pandemic. I thought maybe playing the game with just Tab and Wyatt might redeem Pandemic in the Hall house. I was right! We had a great time stumbling across the board, as we tried to figure out exactly how everything worked. By the time the world was imploding with viruses, we lost the game. But even in our defeat, we are all eager to play Pandemic again.
Final Thoughts: Castle Panic is our favorite family cooperative game right now. We love the way it plays. However, Pandemic isn’t too shabby. Funny how one bad experience soured the game for us. I am happy to have brought Pandemic back to the table for another go.
Best Mirror Of Our Faith Journey
Destiny: Taken King
Sin. Repentance. Redemption. Destiny mirrors the faith journey of the Christian. Made in the console shooter creator’s image, this 2014 title launched with solid mechanics and an uneven tale. Broken from a story perspective, mired in sin, Destiny was yet embraced by the gaming populace.The Dark Below and House of Wolves expansions launched the game into an orbit of repentance. Redemption found in the Taken King. Sin, downfall, always but a step away. Developer Bungie continues the journey through the valleys and mountain-top experiences of game development.
As a dad, I struggle with trying to discern what types of videogames are appropriate for my son and I to play. I have to remind myself that he is only six years old. Despite being a competent player, he isn’t one of my friends, someone who can make content decisions for himself. The little guy is my son, so I have to make media choices for him.
Sometime last year, I made a bad decision–more like a ton, but this is just one example. Despite an all knowing parental voice telling me that playing Diablo 3 with my son was not a good idea, I proceeded forward. He loved the game! We found ourselves criss-crossing the map hunting down bad guys. Monsters that would burst, giving birth to electric eel-like monsters. All writhing in pixelated bloody glory. We were having fun. I wasn’t being a good dad.
I ended up having to confess to my son that I had been wrong. Diablo 3 was not a game that him and I needed to be playing together. I apologized. He cried. He wanted to battle monsters with his daddy. I assured him that there were plenty of other games that we could play together. He asked when he might be able to play Diablo 3. I told him that he could play when he was able to understand exactly what is going on in the game.
This was one of those parental failure/redemption moments. I want to encourage other dads and moms out there to consider what types of games they are playing with their children.
- Is the content appropriate?
- Does the game’s worldview run contrary to beliefs one is trying to instill?
- Are you just playing the game because you want to play it, ignoring the voice in your head telling you that you need to stop?
Being a parent that is open, honest, and willing to admit mistakes allows your child to see you as real. That is a win-win in my book. Picking age appropriate media, another win.
Tale as old as time
Song as old as rhyme
Arno and Elise
Les Misérables. The Count of Monte Cristo. Tales of hardship, revenge, and redemption. Classic literature depicts the nation of France as a country fueled by passions. Life is never easy. Royalty forever corrupt.
I started playing Assassin’s Creed Unity last night (3/25/15). The war of the Templars versus the Assassins is in full swing. Lightning swords, hidden blades, and historical tourism are loving rendered in next-gen console glory. The game is the most realized Assassin’s Creed game I have ever played. Much like Assassin’s Creed Black Flag, Unity runs on an engine that allows the game to soar. There is rarely ever any distracting slowdown. The loading times are, for the most part, quick–more so miraculous for how much the game is loading–. Unity is both limber and taunt, ready to take the player on one heck of a roller coaster ride.
Arno Dorian is Unity’s protagonist. He is the French counterpart to Ezio, from Assassin’s Creed Ezio Trilogy. This is the highest compliment I can pay the game, at this point (I am a big Ezio fan). Assassin’s Creed III fell flat in the character department as did Black Flag. All I want is a character I can somewhat like, Arno delivers in spades.
Memory sequences of Arno’s childhood build back story and player empathy. The use of Arno’s father’s pocket watch, as a symbol of something lost, is fantastic. I also enjoyed the prison escape framed against the Storming of the Bastille.
Unity features slight game control tweaks that serve the series well. For instance, Arno now has the ability descend buildings in a quick manner. Sounds like a simple mechanical change but it is often breathtaking and crucial to game flow/movement. Sword fighting seems like a Black Flag upgrade. I can’t tell if I like it or not. First impression: Doesn’t feel tight but reminds me of Batman Arkham Asylum. Go figure.
I am excited to see where the Templar/Assassin romance could be heading. SPOILERS! Can love cool revenge? Can love overcome death? I can’t wait to find out.
(This is the 600th post on my blog. Woo hoo!)