I took this picture and sent it to everybody before they arrived, “Here’s Max helping me set up for GameCell.” Hint: it’s the first game.
We started right at 7pm on Friday as usual. Richie, Zach, Greg, Garrett, Jason, Alex, Tyler, Brandon, Yoshi, and Vince filled my house.
Richie told us a story about velocibirds (terrifying birds that look like velociraptors). This scared me since I have no idea what kind of bird he’s talking about or where they came from. But he shared the story about choosing to go down the raptor-bird trail or the one without at a nearby park that I never want to go to again.
This was Richie’s answer to , “What kind of choices do you make in real life?” Garrett said that he’s got an unfortunate choice of where to live. It’s a hard decision because of the situation with his family and there’s weight to either decision and feelings get hurt either way.
“What kind of choices do you make in games?”
Vince brought up gun selection and picking weapons in games. Brandon shared about how you have to make upgrade choices sometimes. Alex talked about diplomacy and being given the opportunity to talk your way out of problems at times.
Garrett brought up Infamous’ morality decisions and Greg brought up the same in Mass Effect. Games are full of a ton of different kinds of choices. The power is in your hands. But in real life, it doesn’t seem to present us with as many fun decisions. Often our guys get to make the “fun” choice about which set of parents to stay with.
“What choices seem to be presented in the Christian faith?”
Greg said it seems to be basically about “do you believe, or don’t you believe?” Tyler brought up selfish choices and godly choices. Zach brought up how it seems like it’s just about believing whether or not something is true. I brought up Eden and how God’s first commandment was to multiply, garden, and subdue the earth. In essence, play real-world Minecraft. So I belabored the point,
“Have you ever thought of walking with Jesus as being anything like Minecraft?”
“No.” was almost answered in unison. I drew out how “good works” are this notion of doing all sorts of creative things with the idea of building and enhancing the world around us.
I gave a caveat that this isn’t how God makes us right with him, since he already did that through Jesus. But that good works are like the outpouring of our love for God:
“Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?”
– James 2:20 (NLT)
“How does stuff we do in GameCell result in “good works” in your life?”
Yoshi shared that it’s made him think about the things he does in his life, how he sees the world, and how he handles the challenges in his relationship with his dad. Several of our other guys reflected on how their relationships with their parents weren’t necessarily improved, yet they were excited. They found relationships in our crew where they could get wise and dad-like advice or simply have a safe place to gather and open up. I had a proud moment.
Game time was filled with too many choices. My idea behind this was to show that sometimes less choices is a better thing and that too much power creates a paralysis. This was a dumb idea and just served to overwhelm our crew. From here on out, I’m not going to provide 21 games to pick from on a 4-game night.
Here’s the (too many) games our crew had to pick from:
- Fistful of Gun
- Giana Sisters Twisted Dreams (Multiplayer)
- OlliOli2: Welcome to Olliwood
- Super Mega Baseball
- Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
- The Beginner’s Guide
- Ninja Pizza Girl
- Velocity 2X
- Enslaved: Odyssey to the West
- Her Story
- MGSV: The Phantom Pain (playing with the D-Walker and the Fulton Balliista)
- Shovel Knight (Plague of Shadows)
- Skyshine’s Bedlam
- Titan Souls
Garrett picked Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes.
We disconnected my laptop from the TV and set the laptop aside. We covered Garrett in a “Bomb blanket” and distributed pieces of the bomb-disposal manual. Then Garrett tried to disarm the bomb with our help. This was the result:
Brandon picked Fistful of Gun.
This wild west game uses different controls for each of the four players. As a result, everybody has a different experience whenever they play. It’s novel in a sense. But it was also very hard to follow for those of us who were watching. We had a harder time finding a winner of the battle because the default was a required 3-wins in a row (instead of just 3 total wins). It went on for too long and we had to just declare Brandon the winner. Those playing it seemed to enjoy it. But by then we were ready to switch games.
Zach picked Indivisible.
Zach said he liked fighting games, so I directed him to this free demo from the team that brought us Skullgirls. Our crew loved the artwork and the style of this metroidvania action-RPG and became very invested in the game as Zach got into the first action/turn-based battles. I had to help him a little with some of the platforming challenges, but all in all, I think this game was a hit with most of the folks in the room.
Jason picked Ikaruga.
Most of the crew filtered out by now (10pm). But those who lingered were in for a co-op treat in the form of this crazy bullet-hell game. Nobody in the room seemed to have much experience with shooters like Ikaruga. So it was impressive when Jason and Tyler managed to beat the first boss on only their sixth try. Fortunately their tries were super quick, so a few other guys could get in there and try the game.
Everybody got hugs and we said our goodbyes. We came, we saw, we chose. And I think we chose wisely.
This originally published on the author’s blog.