It is “Sin Week” at Gamechurch.com. The site is hosting a series of articles on how games often highlight our sinful nature. Is it possible that games, virtual and otherwise, can make us more aware of our own depraved nature? How do they interact with and acknowledge the fallen nature of humanity? These are the types of questions that GC’s contributors set out to answer in Sin Week.
Here is a quick run down:
Christ and Pop Culture’s very own editor-in-chief, Richard Clark, started off the week with <a href=”http://gamechurch.com/cardsagainsthumanity/”>an excellent article on <em>Cards Against Humanity</em></a>–the self described “party game for horrible people.” Rich explains how the game acknowledges the pervasive nature of sin in the world and even offers a way for us to cope with these realities:
<blockquote>Cards Against Humanity is unique in that it is wholly about ideas and their implicit power. . . .
But the questions we answer with those items frame these judgments for us. More often than not, those questions setup opportunities for honest and unabashed reflection on our humanity: “What would grandma find disturbing, yet oddly charming?” “What did the U.S. airdrop to the children of Afghanistan?” “Daddy, why is mommy crying?” These are brutal questions with even more brutal possible answers: “Rehab,” or “Brown People,” or “The Glass Ceiling.”
The game causes us to sit back and think about that for a moment. All of a sudden we’re thinking about the timeless nature of gender discrimination or racism. We’re acknowledging the genuine life-altering pain that comes as a result of drug abuse or broken families. Oh, and we’re laughing a lot too.</blockquote>
The second installment of “Sin Week” comes from yours truly. I share <a href=”http://gamechurch.com/dayz-its-all-gonna-break/”>the most depressing videogame experience of my life</a> which took place in <em>DayZ</em>–a zombie survival mod that achieved near overnight success. You really should read the whole thing to understand why this experience was so powerfully depressing but here is an excerpt:
<blockquote>In all my fastidious calculations to ensure my own survival, I had shut myself off from what makes <em>DayZ</em> such a fascinating experience: other people.
I had been hanging around the outskirts of one of the larger cities in Chernarus when I finally decided it was time to enter the town proper. As I was making my way, very slowly toward the town, I quickly spotted two men. They were crawling around one of the houses at the edge of town—one appeared to be carrying a pistol and the other had a hatchet in hand. I watched them through the scope of my gun. They were edging their way around the house presumably in hopes of gaining entrance.
In every single instance in which I had come face to face with another player, I had died. I wasn’t going to make that mistake again. If I was careful, I could take out Pistol with a headshot and kill Hatchet before he determined my position.
It’s doubtful that they possessed much if any supplies that I needed. It appeared that these two men were just trying to survive, like me. And yet I found myself blaming them for the loss of each of my nine previous characters who had died at the hands of men. I started asking myself questions that would help me justify what I wanted to do to these men.
<em>Why were these two guys together? Only skilled players manage to find their real life friends in DayZ. If they were not real life acquaintances, how did they know they could trust each other? If they had seen me first, I am certain they would have killed me. What if they had stashed rifles in that house and were making their way to retrieve them?</em>
<em>I have to shoot them now—I don’t have a choice.</em></blockquote>
Read the rest of <a href=”http://gamechurch.com/dayz-its-all-gonna-break/”>the article</a> to find out what happened.
Rounding out “Sin Week” is <a href=”http://gamechurch.com/the-wages-of-sin-in-the-walking-dead-a-long-way-home/”>Steven Sukkau’s third installment</a> of his series on the <a href=”http://gamechurch.com/?s=%22the+walking+dead%22″><em>The Walking Dead</em> games</a>. In the article, Steven confronts one of the most disturbing truths about sin: it spreads:
<blockquote> My choice was not between good and evil. Instead I could only decide how to live with someone else’s choice. I felt the consequences of someone else’s wrongdoing. Sin is like an infectious disease. It can spread decay quickly and efficiently, destroy a small community, and rip apart a family. It’s the ultimate betrayal, the greatest danger to a community.</blockquote>
And finally, Jordan Ekeroth’s <a href=”http://gamechurch.com/revelations-exploring-videogame-darkness/”>weekly Revelations column</a> rounds up highlighting the writing of other smart game journalists on the <a href=”http://gamechurch.com/revelations-exploring-videogame-darkness/”>intersection of games and our transgressions</a>. Don’t forget to check it out–there are some great articles listed there.