When Games Matter: Kinect, Community, Ninjas, and Fruit

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 about who we are and the world we live in.

I arrived at church about 15 minutes before I was to begin teaching Sunday School and was immediately greeted by a middle-aged gentleman:

“I saw your video.”

“What video?”

“Your ninja video.”

“Oh THAT video … I didn’t know that was being passed around … What did you think?”

“It was hilarious!”

Over the course of the day, I had three other similar conversations with people in my church. The night before I had hosted a Student game night at my house and the highlight of the event was undoubtedly Fruit Ninja Kinect. Apparently video of my furious fruit slashing  had been passed around by a student who recorded my ninja-ing on his cell phone.

Fruit Ninja was originally a simple iPhone game where the player swiped fruit that appeared on screen with his finger. I can see how that might be a nice filler of a dull moment or two but I can’t imagine such a game producing memorable moments that friends would remember and share. Fruit Ninja was originally developed on the iPhone but it has been perfected on Xbox 360’s Kinect.

Nearly every student who came that night took a turn or two at chopping digital fruits. We cheered for each other, laughed at each other, and tried to beat each other’s high scores. Fruit Ninja is far from a complex game and yet I found it a brilliant use of Kinect and one that I expect to continue to provide entertainment among me and my friends.

Cultivating community takes many shapes–I never would have thought it would involve furiously chopping digital fruits. I am glad my students and my wider church body got a kick out of it. If I am honest, however, I am also glad that the student who recorded me playing isn’t on Facebook–so if you want to see me slicing fruit, you will have to do it the old fashioned way and drop by and play Fruit Ninja with me.

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