Where We’ve Been – Other Places

Well, not quite Machu Picchu, but you get the idea.

Well, not quite Machu Picchu, but you get the idea.

Since I’m still in the process of thinking what Saturdays will become, I figured I should make Saturdays a repository for Theology Gaming contributors and friends. Their work that wasn’t displayed here in its full glory will be linked so that you don’t miss anything. And, some other things I found interesting this week!

Let’s get started, shall we?

Written Things!

Zachery Oliver wrote about Noitu Love 2 over at Substance TV in Love the Evolution. Surprise: he liked it! Plus, you read plenty of my content here anyway, so not like you needed more, right?

Ever stumble upon an old game through complete happenstance, find it amazing, and then find out that nobody told you about it? Then, you find out that the game was released nearly five years ago, and yet the “indie” game community completely ignored such an amazing piece of work because it’s “derivative”? Or that it doesn’t try to moralize or make a social/political commentary of any kind?

That was the case for me and Noitu Love 2.

Patrick Gann’s been quite busy writing for Original Sound Version as of late, as OSV continues with their 2012 awards (the OSVOSTOTY, hilariously convoluted). Go read the entries for Best Arranged Album, Best Re-Issued Soundtrack,  Best Other Releases, and Best Fan Arrange. Go Pat! Apparently I’ve not been paying attention to what came out last year in the realm of video games. Now I really, REALLY need that Romancing SaGa rock arrange album! Also, read stories involving food poisoning and Guacamole at MAGFest, brought to you by Gameosaurus.

The classic Super Famicom trilogy, composed entirely by Kenji Ito, now has a rock arrange album from the same man. These are his best self-arranges to date, though he is also benefiting from the help of his performers: Masaru Teramae, Atsushi Enomoto, Yu “masshoi” Yamauchi, Noriyuki Kamikura, and others. Do those names look familiar to you? With the exception of Yamauchi (the drummer), these stellar instrumentalists are current members of Falcom’s “jdk Band.” A most unexpected alliance of musicians, S-E and Falcom… and the result? Well, we gave it the gold, so we think it’s the cream of the crop. If you like melody-driven rock, you’re going to love this one.

M. Joshua Cauller found himself extraordinarily busy writing for GameChurch. His recent contribution to Creation Week, Out of Nothing: The Trouble With Playing As Creator, discusses the problem with creation ex nihilo in the context of video games. Plus, lots of Okami love – hard to go wrong with that! Or read more stuff he wrote at GameChurch here. You should also read Hotline Miami and the Holy Spirit at Josh’s blog Love Subverts.

Today we have Minecraft and Terraria and the upcoming Starforge. These games are all built around the premise of creation, but we’re still just the builders. We’re working with the materials we’re given. We can create just about anything in our imagination, but we can only create with the tools we’re given. We can modify the tools and create mods. But what of full and unlimited creativity? Maybe we can only go so far?

Yann Wong continues to write at his blog Redeemed Gamer. His article The Pragmatic Decisions of XCOM: Enemy Unknown takes a look at the utiltarian decisionmaking that video games require of us – is it right? Wrong? Amoral. Check the comments below for a rather in-depth discussion of said piece (by none other than Mr. Cauller and myself – scintillating!).

I’m a Singaporean.  We know something about pragmatism – it’s pretty much our country’s ideology.  Do whatever it takes to survive. If it works, then it’s right. It’s also what I think is a huge problem with churches in Singapore. The pragmatic church asks “How can I get more people to come to my church?” instead of “How can I build a faithful church community?” The pragmatic church says “If many people come to my church then we are doing something right” instead of asking “What does the Bible say about what church ought to be?” The pragmatic church is more concerned about making people feel comfortable than faithfully discipling believers to be more like Christ.  The pragmatic church values results more than faithful obedience.

Ted Loring continues to write at his blog (he hasn’t had a post at Theology Gaming yet, but that will change soon…). He recently picked up an obscure computer called the Radio Shack TRS-80. Have you heard of it? Neither did I, but it’s interesting to see computer technology out of the late 1970s, surely! Old games give us an interesting window into game design as well. So yeah, go check it out!

I recently discovered treasure at a Goodwill store.  I saw it on a shelf – a complete TRS-80 Color Computer 2 with the box and manuals.  It has never been my intention to collect retro computers – only video game systems.  But when I saw that it had a cartridge slot on the side and it came with about seven game cartridges – I was able to convince myself that it really IS a video game system.  It even came with a joystick.  So I bought it and immediately took it home.

I’ve been reading JohnnyBGamer lately as well. Bryan Hall has a unique voice and I’ve been throwing out comments over the place there. Take a look and you’ll find some fascinating ideas and little snippets.

As for other stuff…

If you haven’t yet, why not listen to our first, incredibly rambly podcast? My friend Joseph Mazzaglia and I wander around for about a half hour’s worth of random topics, from Hotline Miami and Journey to Mario Sunshine and Slender. Yep, we did not go in knowing what we were going to say.

As for things not specifically article related, why not take a look at ReElise? Justin Fox is creating a one-of-a-kind JRPG (made in America, but you get the idea) called ReElise. It’s shaping up to be quite a game, and with a new demo not far away, it’s worth a look if you want a mature Christian (not in that negative sense!) RPG.

Jay Tholen (whose album has been reviewed by both Pat and Zach, in totally different ways) continues to create music and pixel art. Also, maybe he might contribute in the future if I badger him enough (sarcasm is hard to detect through text, they tell me). Check him out at http://jaytholen.net/!


That’s hard than it looks, I got to say, with all the link adding. This should keep you busy for one Saturday. Now go!

About Zachery Oliver

Zachery Oliver, MTS, is the lead writer for Theology Gaming, a blog focused on the integration of games and theological issues. He can be reached at viewtifulzfo at gmail dot com or on Theology Gaming’s Facebook Page.