‘Tearaway,’ Tolkien, and the Role of Sub-Creation

Warning: This article contains spoilers about the video game Tearaway.  Tearaway  I don’t think Media Molecule consciously attempted to make Tearaway (a paper-styled platform game for the PlayStation Vita) a commentary on the relationship between God and man.Take the studio’s name, Media Molecule, which suggests its role is to be a piece of the tradition of storytelling that makes up the larger body of media. The end game is contributing to capital-M Media.Or consider Tearaway itself. I … [Read more...]

Eulogy for a Video Game Box Artist

On January 3, 2014, one of my heroes passed away. And I didn’t even know his name.I read about this artist's death on an obscure forum, reported by one of his close friends and colleagues. I nearly passed over the article, but a twinge of curiosity compelled me to scroll through his artwork. My eyes grew wide as image after image evoked long-forgotten memories, revealing the impact this man had made on my life. His artwork ignited my creativity and inspired my love for visual art and art h … [Read more...]

5. Gone Home: “To be Fearful, Alone, and Disenfranchised” #CaPC25

All this week, the writers of Christ and Pop Culture unveil their 25 most loved things of 2013.  Previous #6: Twelve Years a Slave #5: Gone Home (PC/MAC) For a long time, games have had the potential to make us better people. They've carried the promise of instilling empathy in the player. They've offerred the means for creators to instill positive values in those who consume their work. But for a long time, those things weren't realities.This year, we saw the release of several games that … [Read more...]

16. Kentucky Route Zero: “Playing Becomes a Kind of Rest” #CaPC25

All this week, the writers of Christ and Pop Culture unveil their 25 most loved things of 2013.  Previous #17: House of Cards (Netflix)#16. Kentucky Route Zero (PC/MAC) Kentucky Route Zero deals primarily with the history of work, debt and economics and how those realities impact the human soul. It feels both mundane and surreal, slow and transfixing, horrific and beautiful. The game’s protagonist meanders and trudges along with patience, regret, and hope, a cluster of emotions that the pla … [Read more...]

22. Cart Life: “I Wanted to Make a Better Life” #CaPC25

All this week, the writers of Christ and Pop Culture unveil their 25 most loved things of  2013.  Previous #23: Disunity in Christ: Uncovering the Hidden Forces that Keep Us Apart by Christena Cleveland#22: Cart Life (PC) I was too slow serving customers, I gave people incorrect change, and I didn't accurately calculate how long it would take me to get downtown for a court hearing in which my character was to argue for joint custody of her daughter. The list of things I did wrong in Cart Li … [Read more...]

The Human Generation: How the Last Generation of Videogame Consoles Changed Gaming Forever

We’ve come a long way since the generation that offered up Halo and Grand Theft Auto as exemplars of what games could do. No other generation has ever represented such a massive shift in public perception and understanding of what games are about than the generation of the Wii, Xbox 360, and Playstation 3. I could go on and on about this, but here are a few ways games changed that meant something. 1) Real people played together. The generation of the Xbox and Playstation 2 were all about the in … [Read more...]

Are Concussions the Price We Pay for Manly Men?

 Owen Strachan and I appear to have joined a theological team.  Strachan suggested that Christians must support their claims that “Every square inch of the cosmos is Christ’s!” (a quote from theologian Abraham Kuyper) by thinking more biblically about football.But the views of some critics can be summarized as: “Doesn’t matter. Football makes Manliness™.”On Thursday, Strachan introduced on Twitter his article, Our Shaken Faith in Football. “Gender roles controversy?” (Yes, oc … [Read more...]

3 Ways Gone Home will Surprise and Challenge Christians

If you haven't played The Fullbright Company's Gone Home yet, you need to do so. Now. Seriously. It's that important. Go buy it on Steam. I'll wait.It's downloading? Good. Now, read this.It really is a good time to be a gamer, especially if you care about good storytelling. The last few years have seen a number of important titles likeThe Binding of Isaac, Dear Esther, and Bioshock: Infinite that have pushed players and developers alike to broaden their understandings of how games tell … [Read more...]

ELSEWHERE: Does Media Violence Lead to the Real Thing?

In a recent New York Times opinion piece, three psychiatrists ask, "Does Media Violence Lead to the Real Thing?" While acknowledging the question's troubling nature, due to the potential ramifications it has for free speech, they also point out that numerous agencies and organizations do hold that media violence is, indeed, a risk factor for real violence. Obviously, this question won't be going away anytime soon, especially in light of tragedies such as this one. … [Read more...]

How “The Walking Dead” Solved Videogames’ Christ-Figure Problem

Spoiler warning. This article talks about the ending of several video games.  The man they call Master Chief has another name. In the first-person shooter franchise, Halo, the protagonist’s real name is John 117, an apparent reference to John 1:17, the biblical verse that reads, “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” In the Mass Effect series, you can name your character whatever you like, they can be male or female, and you can alter their facial featu … [Read more...]