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

16. Kentucky Route Zero: “Playing Becomes a Kind of Rest” #CaPC25 December 31, 2013

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 player instantly connects with. By guiding Kentucky Route Zero’s protagonist (with mere clicks on the screen – this is a simplified version of an old-style adventure game), we find ourselves making the same discoveries about ourselves as he is. We come to terms with our our misguided dreams, our wasted opportunities, and the unavoidable fact of our troubled existence. And yet…

“And yet,” sums up the undercurrent of Kentucky Route Zero. While the game pushes the oppressive and exhausting nature of worldly work to the surface, it simultaneously hints at a better way: rest. It foreshadows eternal rest and truthful holistic beauty, and as a result, playing the game becomes a kind of rest in and of itself. Play is characterized not merely by control, but by wonder, awe, and eventual acceptance.

Kentucky Route Zero is relatively inexpensive, a low time investment, and takes place over several acts (two of which are available now). Take a break from striving and let this game take you to a place of peaceful waiting and discovery.

 Next #15: The Great Gatsby

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