Hob and the Dangerous Work of Healing

Healing Hob‘s broken world can teach us about the kind of patience and care required to heal our own.

Written by James Arnold / Published on September 26, 2017

The world of Hob is broken. There are stony machines overgrown with moss and vines. Some of the wildlife is aggressive, while others explode on contact. The evidence of battle—failed attempts at saving the world from some unknown evil continually shows their face. The broken swords and fallen husks of warriors past haunt you, even as they look oddly familiar.

"But the solution is never so simple as ‘remove all of the corrosion’ or ‘fight off the bad guys.’"
The only agent capable of fixing anything is the Protagonist. The world of Hob mixes artifice with nature seamlessly; the wild animals and the stone automatons are distinguishable only by their material. Both are necessary. The automatons roam the underbelly of the world, crafting and repairing landscapes before sending them topside. The Protagonist occupies both worlds. He moves and behaves fluidly, like the wild animals, but he also has an over-sized stone arm.

It is through his embodiment of both worlds that he manages to be a force of renewal. The corrosion that haunts the land—dreadful, purple goo with tendrils that strike those too careless to avoid it—has damaged nature, and the automatons are out of their element when they aren’t moving things along in the creative underbelly of the planet. The Protagonist moves naturally through the landscapes above while using his stone arm to navigate the complex factory below.

But the solution is never so simple as “remove all of the corrosion” or “fight off the bad guys.” The world itself needs to be manipulated. It must be shifted by a gentle touch or forceful slam in order to shape it into something livable, into a place that showcases the symbiosis lying underneath.

All that stands in the Protagonist’s way is the sheer brutality of the world he is aiming to recreate.

And in this, we can all relate. The world of Hob isn’t the only one that is broken and corrupt. If you have ever even glanced at a Twitter feed or a news show, you’ve felt the fallenness of the world around us. It may be politics or social issues or family members who are hurtful or any number of other pains. One thing is certain: the corrosion spreads wide and stings hard. It sometimes leaves lasting scars.

The world of Hob can only be healed by the diligent, faithful, often dangerous work of the Protagonist. The brutality of the world manifests itself in dying. A lot. The respawn points are plentiful, fortunately, or the game would be lost on many less patient players.

Our own world can only be healed by the diligent, faithful, often dangerous work of, well, us. People made in the image of God, acting under the command and curse found in Genesis to toil and suffer while we subdue the earth. We must all look at the world around us for solutions to everyday pain, from the mundane to the lethal. Sometimes that will require something small—a hug for a soul in need—and sometimes it will require something large, perhaps even our very lives.

The world of Hob is not so unlike our own.

About the Author:

James Arnold received his MA in Philosophy of Religion at Talbot School of Theology in 2013. He holds a BA in Biblical Studies from Biola University, and is a graduate and perpetual member of the Torrey Honors Institute. James contributes regularly at Mere Orthodoxy and manages and blogs at Evangelical Outpost on a number of subjects, including technology, theology, and hip-hop. You can keep up with him on Twitter @jamesfarnold