Off Campus – Theology Gaming Podcast #65: The Worst Games

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Last week, I had the privilege of sitting down with Zach, Ted, and Elijah to talk about some of the worst games ever. Expectations, marketing, and questionable game design elements fueled our discussion. I encourage you to tune in if only to listen to Ted sing a small portion of a Paula Abdul song. Yes, really.

Listen to the podcast here

What are some of the worst games you’ve played?

Surf Report – 4/1/2014

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Surf Report
Welcome to the Tuesday edition of the Surf Report.

.: God:

Sunday morning I listened to a great discussion in small group. The topic was on evangelism and how there are different roles in bringing others to Christ (sowing, watering, reaping, etc.).

.: Life:

Saturday, my father-in-law came over and helped me take down the handicap ramp out front. Looks much better now.

Hall House

Phase I of our front entry project.

.: Gaming:

raiders-of-the-lost-ark
Friday night I had some time to myself. So I fired up the PlayStation 3 and decided to pick Tomb Raider back up. About an hour and a half later, I found that my opinion of the game has not changed. Tomb Raider is a videogame that basks in tension, torture, and somehow female empowerment. The entire time I was playing I kept thinking, “I wish this was an Uncharted game.” I wanted the fun of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark versus the seriousness of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Six missions left until the end of the game. I will persevere.

– LINKS – 

– “But man, if you’re looking for some deep philosophical themes or life-changing experiences, Chrono Trigger (or most any game, for that matter) will not be the place to look at all.” – Adults Playing Chrono Trigger

– Also, I enjoyed The Theology Gaming Podcast #33 – A History of Healing. Great discussion! Would love to hear other topics such as: resurrection, circumcision (as mentioned), baptism, etc.

Date Night Idea: Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light

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About a week ago, my wife surprised me with a date night filled with Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light. We had a blast figuring out puzzles and blowing away spiders and other creepy crawly things. Our fun came to an end, however, when a summer thunderstorm rolled through. With the power flickering and almost killing the game, we decided to call it a night. So we watched the lightening outside instead!

If you have never heard of this game, picture a co-op puzzle-filled adventure through tombs and other exotic locals. The competitive/cooperative nature of Guardian of Light makes it a great choice for a fun date night. $15 is the price of admission via PSN.

Uncharted: Disconnected Violence

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In adventuring through the jungles, deserts, and valleys of the Uncharted series, one quickly  starts to realize that there is a disconnect between the series overall violence and protagonist Nathan Drake. Throughout the trilogy, Drake is portrayed as an easy going adventurer/ tomb raider. As the body count piles on, as you game on, clearing out a room full of “bad guys” becomes mechanical. The violent gun-play seems to unintentionally turn Nathan Drake into a man lusting for blood.

When I first started playing video games, the games themselves were all about getting from one side of the screen to the other. Rescuing princesses and blowing up aliens provided simple contexts in which the gameplay was wrapped around. There was no need to question the morality of the main character due the medium’s simplistic level. Link’s motivations were always to vanquish evil and rescue Zelda; Sonic’s hurricane force used to free furry creatures and stop Dr. Robotnik. As I’ve grown older and the world more complex, video games have followed suit. The simple plumber saves princess storylines have morphed into grand space operas such as the Mass Effect series. Morality and character motivations have suddenly come to the forefront. Welcome to the modern era of video games.

I‘ve realized that I enjoy video games for their stories. I consume a good video game story like I consume the latest literary work. I want to immerse myself  in another world and escape, in a healthy way, for a little while.

The Uncharted violence disconnect is like a nagging fly. Nathan Drake carries out violent actions because the rules his world runs on demands it. Does that make his bloodless escapades right? Shouldn’t gameplay and storyline go hand in hand?

What do you think? Comment away!