When Games Matter: Child of Eden and Sharing the Single Player Experience

When Games Matter is a weekly exploration by Drew Dixon of meaningful moments in games. Operating under the assumption that games do in fact matter, Drew seeks to highlight those moments that have much to say to say about who we are and the world we live in.

“Wow beautiful.”

“That is so cool–its like you are making the music!”

“This must be one of those games that people who are high like to play.”

Each of these words was spoken last night as I played Child of Eden with my wife and my friend Nathan.

Tetsuya Mizuguchi’s Kinect compatible ambient shooter is one of the most beautiful games I have ever played. There isn’t much to it other than holding one hand up and flicking your hand out to fire a lock-on laser and holding the other hand up to fire a rapid-fire gun. The story of the game is relatively unimportant (perhaps it is to some people, but not me) but what keeps me coming back is the gorgeous scenery and the way in which you’re “shooting” changes the landscape of the world for the better.  Its a shooter that feels creative rather than destructive.

Its the kind of game most people probably choose to play by themselves because someone is sure to say, “this game is just too weird.” My wife quickly lost interest and moved on to working on one of her paintings, but Nathan and I were hooked. I found this interesting because I expected the abstract nature of the game would make it difficult to share with a friend. Most of the time Nathan and I play competitive Halo matches shooting people and blowing stuff up with rocket launchers. Last night, however, for about 2 hours, we took turns cultivating an ambient dream world with the lock-on laser and making melodies with the rapid-fire gun.

There were numerous moments when we both marveled at the beauty of Child of Eden: once when a whale morphs into a phoenix with your help and another time when switching between shooting various parts of an enemy contributed beautifully to the game’s musical score. These moments just felt right. Child of Eden’s abstract world feels deeply immersive and beautiful. It was a nice change of pace to take turns cultivating a better game world rather than destroying it.

About Drew Dixon

Drew is an editor at Christ and Pop Culture and editor-in-chief of Gamechurch.com. He is also a pastor, soccer coach, and writer. Drew also regularly writes for Think Christian, Bit Creature, and Paste Magazine. He has also written for Relevant Magazine. Follow him on Twitter @drewdixon82