Personal Preferences and Media Consumption

Standard

Back on this date in 2017, I asked the following question on Facebook:

Parents: How much do personal preferences play a role in what media your child consumes?

The general response was that personal parental preferences play a huge role in what media a child consumes. I know that for years, in my home, I have curated and encouraged consumption of specific video games, shows, and movies. Part of that is me being an engaged parent; the other part of that is wanting to show my son what quality media looks and feels like.

Super Mario Odyssey represents quality media.

Over the years, my son has watched a few shows that have driven me nuts. There has been nothing wrong with these shows, content-wise, but the voice acting and plotlines just seemed inane. Something I’ve had to learn, as a parent, is that sometimes my kid is going to like something I do not.

The big bad video game, in my house lately, has been Fortnite. A typical match looks like:

  • Picking a place on the map to start out in
  • Scavenging for weapons
  • Trying not to make a lot of noise and survive
  • Engaging fellow players with the weapons I’ve collected while trying not to become a victim of the virtual Hunger Games.

I have found that I enjoy the satisfaction of staying alive and making it into the final 5 players alive. Knowing that 95 other players have been eliminated and that I’m one of the few remaining is a good feeling. But I dislike how aimless Fortnite otherwise feels. I dislike the lack of direction, objectives, and how I have to make my own fun while surviving at the same time.

Fortnite does not fit my personal gaming preferences. This has taken me awhile to realize/put into words. But I’ve learned that there are times, as a parent, where you need to be quiet and explore the things your kids love. I may dislike Fortnite for many reasons, but I enjoy the time I get to play with my son. I have to focus on that positive, co-op play, and ignore the “we could be playing such-and-such game instead because that game is designed better” thoughts. Play in the moment, right?

Book Review: How’s Your Soul? by Judah Smith

Standard

When our souls are out of alignment with God’s truth, life can become a daily struggle. The “inside you” takes over, with false feelings reactive to present circumstances. In panic, we let external forces dictate what is true.

_240_360_book-2086-cover

Do you ever feel like you are just surviving, struggling to live one day at a time? I know I often do. Judah Smith writes that survival is not enough. Frustration, restlessness, and boredom do not have to be the soundtrack of our lives. Rest and fulfillment can be found in the soul’s true home: God.

Judah Smith’s How’s Your Soul? is challenging:

“It’s easy to love those who love you. That’s what Jesus told his disciples in his famous Sermon the Mount (Matthew 5:43-47). But it takes a divine love, a supernatural love, to love those who do not love us back. Yet that’s the only kind of love that will change the world. And it’s the only kind of love that will bring lasting satisfaction and health for our souls.”

How’s Your Soul? is also one of those books I haven’t wanted to read. Truth bombs hurt! But God has been using this book to work on me. Calling out areas of my life where I’m struggling but didn’t realize it.

“People sign up for helicopter Jesus all the time. I cannot wait to follow Jesus, they think, because he’s my heavenly helicopter. Get me out, Father! Hoist away, Jesus! Beam me up, Scotty! I think I just inserted Star Trek into the Trinity. Sorry about that. Storms hit, and we say, “Jesus, I don’t want to stay here. I don’t like this at all. It’s windy. It’s rainy. The waves are big. Where is my heavenly helicopter?” And Jesus replies, “I’ll be your anchor.” We want out. We want an escape. We want someone to remove us from the storm, but Jesus wants to be our strength and stability in the storm.”

I recommend How’s Your Soul? Especially if you find yourself treading water. Just prepare for a spiritual shake-up, Judah holds nothing back.

I was given a copy of this book for review. All opinions are my own.

Thoughts on The Witness

Standard
Witness-Screenshot-01

Myst Island: Round 2

Jonathan Blow’s The Witness has me intrigued. A Myst game for the modern era.

I tend to forget how hard Myst was. Sure, the game was beautiful in it’s time. But Myst required coordination with other players. Writing down clues, puzzles,and code. The ultimate water cooler game.

Polygon — 8/10

“But The Witness throws endless puzzles at the player while almost never recognizing their accomplishments, which creates something of an antagonistic relationship between player and creator. I fear that will send players running to walkthroughs faster than they would have in a more rewarding environment.” — Justin McElroy [Review]

USgamer — 2/5

“And that’s the overlying problem: The Witness doesn’t care if you’re having fun—for the most part, it relishes in how clever it can be. There’s some joy to discovery, sure, but once that’s over with, you’re just scraping against the few things in your way. I appreciate Blow’s lack of presence in his world, but it’s a blessing as much as a curse. Of course, I understand what he’s doing: The Witness is very much a modern-day update of Myst, and meant to be played as if we were back in 1993. Ultimately, it feels like something designed to be chipped away at over weeks or months—not an experience to cruise through over a handful of afternoons.” — Bob Mackey [Review]

the_witness_feature_b_1920.0

I have read several reviews that liken The Witness to Dark Souls or even the more recent Bloodborne. Games that demand skill, patience, and an almost sharing of secrets. My more recent foray into Bloodborne had me consulting with friends for both strategy and encouragement.

The modern era has us all on our individual technological islands. What if certain types of games force us off of them? Forcing us to bridge the virtual gap, to talk in person, to somehow experience humanity again. Yes, that sounds dramatic. But you understand where I am going. Gaming has become a much more isolated experience, despite the internet. I am all for games that force us to connect with one another. Even if that connection is forged over progress and survival.

Are you playing The Witness? Tell me about your experience in the comments below. 

Five Nights at Freddy’s

Standard

I am not usually one for thriller/survival horror type videogames. I find that there are already enough crazy things going on in the world that raise my blood pressure. However, my friend Josh did a Let’s Play video for a sweet little game titled Five Nights at Freddy’s. Josh does a great job of showcasing the game within the perfect length of time. Be sure to check out his video below and subscribe to his YouTube channel.

The Walking Dead: A World Without God

Standard

I’ve been trying to figure out why The Walking Dead: Episodes 1 & 2 have gotten under my skin so much. Sure the storyline, characters, and environment are compelling but there has to be more to my fascination with this game. The other day, I finally figured out what has been bugging me, the world of The Walking Dead is a world without God.

The chaos of the virus outbreak has left the world in tatters. Law and order have been completely shoved out the door and the basic instinct of survival has taken over. This survival instinct is solely based on emotion. The problem with emotions is that they are often founded on heat of the moment reactions. Logic is relegated to the corner when emotion is involved. There is no peace in this zombie-filled world of emotional rule.

For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. – 1 Corinthians 14:33a

Sometimes friends “make” you do stupid things.

There came a point in the game where I was presented with a situation where I had the choice about whether to kill someone. Up until this point, the game had made me highly dislike this particular character. To make matters worse, earlier in the game I was conveniently told that anyone who died would quickly become a “walker” (re: zombie). So here I am, dealing with a man who has just collapsed on the ground, seemingly dead. What do I do? My best friend in the game quickly pushes to bash the man’s brains in (which is the only way to kill a zombie). My emotional response that followed was one based on my dislike for the character and the survival response of not wanting to be eaten. I decided to let my friend kill this man. My decision, though based in a game world, has bugged me ever since.

In retrospect, I feel like the game somehow ripped me off; I felt like I had been goaded into an emotional response. It was either going to be him or me. The basic instinct of survival ruled.

Regardless of the game, I am thankful that I live in a real world created by a God who loves order. The Walking Dead is an intense game based on emotional choices. In the end, I know that emotions lie as they vary from day-to-day. I am thankful that God is my compass and not mere emotion.