Revelations: When Games Are Life

Jordan Ekeroth offers up seven excellent articles about games.

Written by Jordan Ekeroth / Published on October 19, 2012

Welcome to Revelations, kiddos. I’m gonna throw seven great links at you this week. You’re really going to like this stuff.

1. A Non-gamer Gaming? Gasp!

The big stir this week came in the form of an article published by Financial Times on the subject of videogames. It’s author, 53 year-old columnist Lucy Kellaway, was invited to participate in the judging of several games for the “GameCity” prize. The intention of this particular prize is to “start a cultural conversation about video games.”

The article caught quite a bit of flack from the “gaming” community for the fact that it featured opinions on videogames from a person who, in their eyes, was clearly not qualified to comment on the subject. What do you think?

2. What Mattie thought.

If you’ve never heard of her, Mattie Brice is an emerging voice in games journalism who is known for her thoughtful commentary as well as her important voice, coming from the point of view of a transgendered, minority woman. All that to say, she had a very challenging response to the detractors of the Finanical Times article, (tongue-in-)cheekily entitled: “Take us seriously, but please, none of that high-brow shit.

“The gaming community, or let’s say the ones with voices- popular developers, media, and maybe celebrities if we have those- have a cake eating problem. We want to be taken seriously as an artform but don’t often value critical analysis. Game criticism and academia are held in disdain and shoved in corners, dubbed inapplicable. Recycling the same themes, mechanics, and ideologies of game design passes through reviews and feature articles without scrutiny.”

3. God and Videogames

Over at Push Select Magazine, a new column is being started by Kyle Derkson on the similarities between videogames and metaphysics. All that’s up so far is an introduction to the topic, but let’s file this under “things to keep an eye on.”

“Is it really so easy for us to create such a strict dichotomy between what we imagine to be possible from reality? Certainly from a Christian perspective, we are committed to the existence of a God whose very being lies outside the parameters of a merely material construction.”

4. “Playtime Proverbs”

On the other hand, file this gem under LOVE LOVE LOVE. Aaron Gotzon, writing for the Ontological Geek, had a revelation recently that the lesson he learned playing the game Bastion actually inspired him to live better. This got him thinking about the potential of games, like other forms of art, to actually change people’s lives for the better. In this provocative post, Gotzon muses about the idea of treating videogames like a “holy” source of inspiration, capable of informing and expanding our horizons.

“Next time you sit down to play a game, take a few moments before getting past the start screen. Ask yourself, as absurd as it may seem, what you’d like to learn from it if you could. How to treat others and yourself better. What you’d like to be able to Get Past, and Deal With. Choose to play the game, intent on learning from it. Pray, if that’s your thing. Ask to be shown the Next Step. After all, as I understand the Bible, evidently God has a lot of pretty insane ways of getting people’s attention. Storms, shrubs, stones, sacraments, spirits, and sheepskin, just to name off some “s’s.” Why not shooters, strategy games, and simulations?”

5. Games to inspire you

In that spirit, let me present to you Paste Magazine’s “10 Most Exciting Games from IndieCade 2012” as compiled by our own Luke Larsen. The list is a lovely hodgepodge of some of the most exciting and thoughtful videogames to come out lately. The best part, as you’ll find, is that some of them are already available. FOR FREE.

6. Dishonoring Reviews

I’m playing Dishonored, you might be playing Dishonored; if my Twitter feed is any indication, practically everyone is playing it (/hyperbole). And why shouldn’t they? It is, after all, the first big hit of “blockbuster season.”

Maybe you haven’t played it, and you’re wondering whether it is worth your time. Of course, you’ll want to know what others think of it. You’ll check Metacritic and read reviews, you’ll try to get some respectable opinions. But not all opinions are created equal, and not all reviews know what they’re talking about.

I’ve mentioned before that our own Drew Dixon has embarked upon a mission to “review the reviews,” as it were. His project this week was Dishonored. For Bit Creature he’s put together a nice article on the reviews that missed the point. Here at Gamechurch he’s compiled some reviews that hit the nail on the head. Both are great reads. Think of him like a human Metacritic (that is, if we lived in a world where criticism was based on ideas, not just numbers).

7. Games Are Not Separate From “Real Life.”

This is an excellent follow up to the aforementioned “Playtime Proverbs.” If we were to begin looking at videogames as valid components of life and not simply as places to escape to or methods to numb ourselves, we might find the need to bring real life virtues to bear-not just on our in-game choices- but in our very attitudes as players.

Scott Juster did some thinking and writing along these lines, drawing some interesting conclusions about the sort of “Patience” that is sometimes needed to play.

Well, here you go, seven links for seven days. If this isn’t enough to quench your thirst for the next week… well maybe you just need some patience! As for me, I’ll be patiently stalking an unsuspecting guard in Dishonored. And patiently doing homework. Yeah, eventually I’d better start some homework.

After just one more level.

About the Author:

Jordan Ekeroth has the crippling inability to say anything more than what he thinks he means. Follow him on Twitter: @JordanEkeroth