Reference: Walk Into the Cave (Twine Game)

A little while back, I made a small devotional Twine game with the intent of it being adapted into VR. I called it, Walk Into the Cave.

Alternatively, I also made a weirder Twine game called A Hard Night. Only try that if you like strange stuff.

Leaving This Site, Found Better One

Love Subverts has served me well over the past six years. I’ve written about my life, music, and games journalism. I’ve even chronicled nearly three years of GameCell meetups. But it’s led to a transition: I focus on video game trailers now. I blog about that process at mjoshua.com/blog.

mjoshuablog

If you’ve enjoyed this website and wish to continue keeping up with my endeavors, update your news feed to follow that site instead of this one. Thanks so much!

March

zeek

Zeekiel Joseph Cauller was born on March 8, 2016. His favorite things include eating, sleeping, and bouncing up and down. I had assumed that upon his arrival, I’d be a lot less productive, and despite taking off two weeks after he was born, it looks like I still have a lot to show for it.

I produced one trailer while one I produced in February went live. I wrote four articles about game trailers, and the virtues found in three particularly-memorable video games, and I appeared on three podcasts. Not too shabby for a month mostly “taken off.”

Be sure to check out a significant set of updates at my main website, mjoshua.com.

Trailers:

  1. Starbreak Steam Trailer
  2. Ecotone Early Access Trailer

Articles:

  1. Best indie game trailers of Q1, 2016
  2. Putting Naivete to rest in 1979 Revolution
  3. The power of suffering in The Flame in the Flood
  4. Finding grace in Devil Daggers

Podcasts

  1. Nic Biondi, Hardlander and Community
  2. Tim Cleary, Aetherlight and Worldbuilding
  3. Kert Gartner, Game Trailers and The Universe’s Vastness

Netflix Dump: Fuller House, Dope and Nurse Jackie

We watched a ton of Netflix while we were waiting for Zeek to be born. I’d like to think we found some stuff worth recommending. 

Fuller House is a hand to hold onto.

fuller

Fuller House sticks to its commitment to be an illustration of love, grace, and hope in the midst of family breakdown. We probably didn’t even remember that the original show was about picking up life after the death of a spouse, but this reboot follows suit. DJ’s husband dies and she’s figuring out how to raise three boys – with the help of her sister and best friend.

The show gets awkward. Like lots odd musical numbers and awkward kissing galore. But it all comes together to hit at the same lost-innocence-nostalgic longing that the original show was always about.

It makes perfect sense that they changed literally nothing about the original theme song other than that Carly Rae Jespen performs it:

“Whatever happened to predictability, the milk man, the paperboy, and evening TV. Everywhere you look, there’s a heart – there’s a heart – a hand to hold onto… Everywhere you look.”

‘Dope’ is Jesus’ Parable of the Shrewd Manager

dope

Don’t watch Dope if you’re not super-open to painfully honest coming of age stories with everything R-rated, but know that this film delivers a modern story about a poor tech-savvy black kid who repurposes the horrors of LA gang-related drug culture into a redemptive path to higher education. It feels wrong often, and is morally confusing, but it made me feel like we should praise this guy for being so shrewd with the cards he’s been dealt. I felt just like Jesus parable of the shrewd manager in Luke 16, and how the manager was obviously behaving in morally questionable work, but used that to build relationships that last. Jesus ultimately said that the manager was still “of the world,” but that we still have a lot to learn from those who are streetwise. Dope should be seen by all who want to see true street smarts as executed by characters who subvert what it means to “be black.”

Nurse Jackie is Addicted to Helping People

nurse

Pill addiction seems to keep Nurse Jackie running in her fight for the good of her patients, but it took seven seasons for me to catch her real downfall: the all-consuming addiction to helping people. Jackie serves as the show’s central hero and villain, leaving you wondering which role will win in the end. It reads like a cautionary tale on the pursuit of helping others: reminding that love for others is not the end unto itself, and that if you pursue helping others as the ultimate destination that you could easily end up doing anything to justify that cause.

I personally struggle a lot with people-pleasing—after all, loving people is one of Jesus’ top two commands—but Nurse Jackie reminds me that helping people in and of itself can become a nasty addiction.

 

February Articles

I’m stock-recording podcasts like an eager beaver while getting ready for our son’s arrival—he’s due in just a few days now!

PODCASTS

radiance

We brought back the Radiance Game Dev Podcast, where we talk to game developers about how following Jesus informs their video game design. We’ve recorded a whole four episodes this last month! Amy and Ryan from That Dragon, Cancer provided an incredible episode about how to be a game dev married couple. Before that, Justin Fox talked a ton about how he didn’t expect to spend over four years making his game, ReElise. Evan Todd, creator of Lemma, came on the show and discussed the trap of getting your self-worth from game dev recognition. Then, Dropsy showed up by way of his creator, Jay Tholen. Jay talked about injecting Christ into games. It’s a lot to listen to, so you better get started!

You can also subscribe to the Radiance Game Dev Podcast on iTunes.

pano

Fernando Ramallo came onto the Gamechurch podcast to talk about his spiritual formation and his game, Panoramical. Drew and I talked to him about being a game dev nomad and an endless tinkerer. Also, listen to this episode if you like charming Argentinian accents!

ARTICLES

Over at Gamasutra, I invited developers to discover that their game’s trailer isn’t for them; it’s for judgy teenagers like these:

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Judgy teenagers might not seem like they’re full of useful input, but I discovered that they’re really great for making game trailers. I wrote about how judgy teens can help you figure out how to make trailers that aren’t for you, but are for the players.

firewatch_502

Firewatch captures the beauty of the Wyoming wilderness—and it’s a pretty flipping good videogame, thanks to the amazing way the characters feel like real people. My buddy Bryan and I reviewed the game together on his blog, JohnnyBGamer.com. But that wasn’t the only game that Bryan and I co-reviewed.

We also co-wrote a review about the first episode of King’s Quest. He said:

“I found the introduction to Graham compelling: through his exploits with the dragon and the Telltale-like choices with said dragon — set her free, or walk away. Being able to do all of these things with my son, even better.”

Read the King’s Quest: A Knight To Remember review on Theology Gaming.

moveordie_502

Couch multiplayer games are like catnip to me. I can’t stop getting people over to my house, playing the games, and then writing about them.

Move Or Die got a piece from me on Gamechurch. I said, “There’s one thing that Move or Die does well, and that’s serve as a party game.

Demons With Shotguns is also a thing. It lets friends blast each other to chunky flesh bits. It’s also pretty solid, despite being an Early Access game. I wrote about how it competes with Towerfall pretty well.

~

Listed:

  1. Firewatch Co-Review via Johnny B Gamer
  2. Move or Die And the Sacredness of the Couch via Gamechurch
  3. Your Game’s Trailer Isn’t for You via Gamasutra
  4. Demons with Shotguns — Early Access Preview via Indie Haven
  5. King’s Quest: Episode 1 Co-Review via Theology Gaming
  6. Fernando Ramallo Interview (Panoramical) on Gamechurch Podcast
  7. The Long Build —Justin Fox (ReElise) on Radiance Game Dev Podcast
  8. Game Dev Marriage — Ryan & Amy Green (That Dragon, Cancer) on Radiance Game Dev Podcast
  9. Defining Success & Worth in Game Dev — Evan Todd (Lemma) on Radiance Game Dev Podcast
  10. Christ-like Protagonists with Jay Tholen on Radiance Game Dev Podcast

Gamecell Idea #61: Trashy Friend Night

Everybody has a story about a time a friend let them down. It’s easy to think of. Problem is, that we don’t often examine ourselves and the ways we can become better friends. Jesus knew what it was like to have trashy friends.

crew1

My living room plumped-up as Greg, Jason, Zach, Hively, Carter, Vince, Garrett, Tim H, Dan, and Roberto piled in. That’s eleven of us. First question:

When has a friend really come through for you? 

Tim told a story about the first time he showed up at gamecell after getting his licence. He didn’t realize that he parked in front of a driveway and got his car towed. Vince took him to the tow truck guy. Then Vince paid for Tim’s ticket, which was over a hundred bucks. After Tim finished telling this story, Vince said that Tim was also a great friend because he paid him back, which he didn’t expect at all.

Why do you think friendships don’t always last? 

Garrett told a story about how he opened his home up to his friend to let him live with him, and how that friend never took care of his share of responsibilities, got involved in a bad scene with drugs involved, and how they no longer were friends. A lot of our guys had stories about friends letting them down. I pointed out how bad choices ruin friendships a lot. Alex mentioned how some of his friends just moved away and they talked less and less. So sometimes, it’s just drifting apart.

How good of a friend do you think you are? 

The weight of the question took a few seconds to sit, then it looked like I dropped a weight on them. “I’m not a good friend at all. I’m kind of a jerk,” one guy said. “Yeah, me too.” said another. Another guy said that he’s a really good friend to the people who are nice to him, but a terror to people who betray him or are unkind. Others shared times they really dropped the ball as a friend.

I told Peter’s story as a Trashy friend to Jesus. 

“Do you guys know who Jesus’ best friend was? Or at least like his two best friends?” Somebody guessed Judas before Hively got the answer right by saying Peter. Then I asked “Do you know what Peter did the night Jesus was arrested before he was crucified?” There were some good guesses, but nobody knew he chopped off a dude’s ear. I asked if they knew what Jesus did with the ear. They rightly guessed that he put it back on. I asked, “Do you know what Peter did as Jesus was dragged away?” That’s when Carter remembered that Peter said he didn’t know Jesus. Then this happened two more times. And this was just hours after Peter said he’d gladly die for Jesus. This defined the term, “ultimate fail.”

We fast-forwarded the story: talked about Thomas putting his hand in Jesus’ side after he resurrected, how nobody really knew what to do with the idea that Jesus resurrected. And then Resurrected Jesus shows up on the shore  by where Peter’s in his fishing boat. Peter strips and swims ashore, desperate to see Jesus. They have fish breakfast and then Jesus asks him, “Do you love me?” Three times. Each time, then Jesus says “Feed my sheep.” I explained to the guys, that Peter led the whole church after that and was known as one of Jesus’ best representatives—but more importantly, a friend.

They asked me what I saw in them.

I accidentally started speaking powerful encouragement over one or two of the guys, so they wanted to know what I saw in each one of them. So I went around the room, asking God’s spirit to draw out their Godly qualities/identities/destinies. I called out Tim Hilbert for being a ridiculously sweet guy with a soft heart and a desire to build up and express goodness and affection. I called out Alex Carter’s loyalty and consistency (another word for faithfulness). I pointed out Jason’s eccentricities and ability to use unusual means for growing friendships. I spoke over all of them. They loved it. And I loved that it was their idea.

I asked Roberto to pray for our crew and our time. He flowed like a pro.

We snacked. Then it was Trashy Friend Game Time.

I planned on having the guys play Speedrunners, since it’s a game of being a trashy friend to one another, but it wasn’t starting on my computer for some reason, so instead we played Towerfall since that was what our crew picked from a list of couch multiplayer games we’ve loved from the past like Lethal League and Samurai Gunn.

towerfall

We had some really great matches. Everybody played. Then we switched to our main event game about Trashy Friends. Our crew voted for Roberto to pick and play the ‘trashy friend’ game. He chose from The Beginner’s Guide, Oxenfree, and Firewatch (all great games about friendship). He chose Firewatch.

I let the crew know that this was a pretty mature game, with a lot of mature subjects that doesn’t pull any punches. I asked them to be respectful in how they handled some of the subject matter. In the first fifteen minutes of the game, they dealt with marital disappointments, dementia, the death of a family dog, and a nude drawing of the game’s main character, Henry, posing as a Victoria’s Secret model. As you can imagine, it was very fun to see our crew’s reactions to these things.

firewatch

Soon the game introduces the second voice in the game, a fellow park ranger named Delilah. She sounds like a real person, which made our crew’s reactions and choices in response to her feel very fun and natural. They soon took to tracking down a couple of teens setting-off fireworks nearby and enjoyed figuring out how to respond to them.

This is our last gamecell. At least for a while. When we get back together after Jess and I adjust to having Zeek, we’ll become something different—probably with a better boy-girl ratio—and with shorter time constraints thanks to being time-pressured by an infant. But for our last hurrah, nobody wanted to leave. You’ think they got super glue on themselves by how they didn’t want to get up or leave their spots. It was bittersweet. Our friendships have grown. Gamecell is theirs now. Since we have to take time off and let it become something new, there’s the fears of change, and the pain of relational distance. Nevertheless, I saw something in their eyes that felt like a simple longing for continuation.

crew2

Until next time.

~

Thinking about a Trashy Friend Night?

Here’s three questions and a Bible story to tell:

1. When has a friend really come through for you?
2. Why do you think friendships don’t always last?
3. How good of a friend do you think you are?

Story: Peter’s failures at Jesus’ end.
Speak: Tell your crew about what you see in them.

You can play any game together that’s fun for a group of friends. If you need more suggestions, just leave me a comment below and let me know if this has been helpful for you at all. And let me know how it goes if you try this out!

Become A Master! — A Gamecell Night

“Wait, you mean I can become like Jesus?” Hively asked. Vince responded, “You’re getting it!”

gckeen

When Jesus said “Come, follow me,’ it was a very rabbinical way of saying, “I believe you have what it takes to become what I am.” I wanted our gamecell to discover Jesus’ invitation to that “become a master” training process, so we talked through the following questions:

What would make you want to become a master at something?

Yoshi said that if it’s something he knows he’s good at, he’d put in the time to get even better at it. Greg said that he’d be all about it if somebody believed in him. Vince nodded and said he’s in that same place, like that he needs a good bit of encouragement sometimes.

Why do you think most Christians suck at being like Jesus?

There was no short list of answers on this one, but most of the guys just gave examples of Christians sucking. They didn’t really have any idea why people suck.

I shared: I don’t think people realize how Jesus invites us to master-training. Like Jesus’ calling to people is that they’re saved from crushing guilt over sin, and the compulsion to commit it, but that’s only an entrance into his gracious vision of the world and the beginning of his training. Simply put, I don’t think Christians go through the training that Jesus calls them to.

Story Time: Jesus picks terrible people to become like him.

Matthew stole money from his neighbors while wearing the clothes of his nation’s occupiers. All of his friends and neighbors hated him, with due cause. Jesus essentially said, “You’ve got what it takes to become like me, come train with me!” Jesus also went up to the blue collar workers who dropped out of High Hebrew School to become fishermen. “Come with me, I’ll make you a fisher of men!” I told our crew, “Think of Jesus like a Master Jedi, looking for padawan learners.” Then I told them, “Did you know that Jesus disciples were your age? He didn’t pick wise old men. He picked scraggly teenagers with as much facial hair as you guys got — if you can even call it facial hair.” They seemed shocked.

Why do you think Jesus chose thieves, traitors, and a-holes to be his disciples?

Yoshi caught up with this the quickest. He said he thought that it’s because they are most ready to take up a new way of life. I elaborated: I think Jesus wanted to show that the simplest and most outcast of us has what it takes. More precisely: he believes in all of us—that we can become like him.

This was the part where Alex Hively seemed to really get things. He’s like, “Wait, you mean I can be like Jesus?” Now I like my gamecell to learn through questions more than straight-up teaching, but I needed to take point and make things as clear as possible, because I don’t think most people have it in their imagination that Jesus actually is inviting us to become just like he was in his earthly ministry.

Hively volunteered to pray. It was only the second time he prayed in our group, and he panicked a little bit because he didn’t know what to say. We told him, “Just be honest and express your thoughts to God.” He expressed some gratitude and that he was intrigued by the discussion, but didn’t really have words for it yet. Then we had snack.

Game Time

Since mastery requires honing and discipline, I figured it would be good to look at the opposite of that: a generalist activity where there’s too many things on the table to ever master anything. So, we played Move or Die.

In Move or Die, the path to victory changes every round. One time you have to grab a hat and hold onto it. Next time you have to wipe paint off a all. Then you’re suddenly doing backflips with sniper rifles that only fire while you’re in the air. There’s no time to get good at anything. Once our crew tried each of the match variations, they were ready to switch games.

Our main game for the evening was Punch Club, a training simulator where your main goal is to train-up for a championship (master-level) boxing match. You have to be thoughtful of every action you choose. Do you work, or work out? Do you spend your money on food, travel, or gym access? Everything has a cost and there’s only so many hours in the day, so you have to work with clear intent. Yoshi took the controls, but almost every decision in the game was made as a group. It gelled amazingly well for our crew, and we could have easily spent the whole night with the game. This punched the message home: train hard if you want to be a master!

punch1

We also played Demons With Shotguns, but that didn’t tie directly into the message. I just wanted our crew to enjoy fighting each other as a Nun, Preacher, an Angel, and a Demon. It’s a fun little game for parties.

We had a brilliant night. Our crew got to hear about how Jesus invites them into his mastery through training (discipleship). And they learned that he believes we can become like him. We had a good time playing games about mastery, and had a lot of fun together!

gcmonsters

Consider a Master Night! 

All you really need is a copy of Punch Club (or any other game about training and mastery) and these questions:

  1. What would make you want to become a master at something?
  2. Why do you think most Christians suck at being like Jesus?
    Story Time: Talk about how Jesus picked outcasts to become like him. (Matthew 4:19, 9:9)
  3. Why do you think Jesus chose thieves, traitors, and a-holes to be his disciples?

That’s it! You may have to go into teaching-mode and elaborate on exactly how Jesus has called us to become his disciples; and to train under his mastery to become like him. But I think that it’s a pretty simple thing. The best part is that it’s an extension in his love for us and his radical reconciliation plan! We get to be a part of it! And he believes we can follow his training and become like him!

January Articles

The New Year re-orients us. It shifts our priorities in just a tiny amount that can change where we go. As I looked at my priorities for the year, one big change capture my attention: my son is coming. A lot of my thinking and priorities shift more towards Jess and I having him. That also means I’m trying to think more in terms of business and connections. Some of that means that I’ve taken-up Rich Clark’s reigns on the Gamechurch podcast.

canabalt

Drew and I interviewed Adam Saltsman, the creator of Canabalt, on the Gamechurch podcast. While you may have not heard of Canabalt, you’ve likely played an endless runner (Temple Run, Jetpack Joyride, Tiny Wings, and Despicable Me: Minion Rush).  Before Canabalt, nobody ever made a one-touch game for mobile that captured the tension of running and jumping. Adam shared a ton about his recent project, Overland, and how he was formed by family and community into the indie godfather that he’s now known to be.

That Dragon, Cancer came out this month. It was a big deal to me, since I developed the game’s trailer. My buddy Josh Hinke at Indie Haven interviewed me on the project, my experience with the game, and the general trailer-making process. I’d recommend listening to this Indie Haven podcast episode. Josh is an excellent host who exhibits a ton of clarity, focus, and expert knowledge-bombs. If you haven’t listened to the Indie Haven podcast in a while, now is the perfect time to start.

oxenfree

Oxenfree taps into the idea of traveling with good company. It’s a uniquely powerful game about teenagers venturing together and unearthing a captivating mystery. I wrote about this quality and many more things at gamechurch.com.

And finally, I was invited to speak to Kentucky indie game devs about indie game trailers, and working on That Dragon, Cancer. I gave a half hour talk and answered a ton of great questions. WE recorded the whole thing and you can watch it here:

Articles and podcasts listed:

‘That Dragon, Cancer’ Pancake Party — A GameCell Recap

chef_ready

That Dragon Cancer just released today on Steam and Ouya. It’s the most profound game about faith, suffering, love, and hope. And so I wanted to make sure the group of guys that meet in my house (called gamecell) would have a chance to play it.

Now the developers of the game, Amy and Ryan Green, requested that folks celebrate pancake parties at the game’s launch. Cancer and pancakes might not seem like they go together, but that’s because pancakes were their son Joel’s favorite thing. And the game is really about their son and the things he loved. The titular cancer, is more like the setting than the focus. So since Joel loved pancakes, and since the game is about things our loved ones love, that was our theme for our Pancake Party!

pancakes

We gathered together around pancakes and answered this core question:

What is the one thing or activity that the person you love loves? 

We would get to that answer in a bit. Before we do that, here’s a silly short video I made about the evening on my phone:

When you say, “we’re eating pancakes,” everybody comes out. Including myself and Vince, there were fifteen of us. Somehow we fit Alex Hively, Jason, Alex Carter, Tim Russell, Tyler, Tim Hilbert, Scottie, Greg, Seth, Garrett, Vince, Dan, Josh, and Mark (the new guy!) into my living room, and then my basement for when we played the game.

Jason and Alex Hively showed up early to be the chef and sous chef for the evening, crafting pancakes with precision.

cooks

With this large of a crew, my plan for loosely focusing on a storytelling theme went right out the window because there wouldn’t be enough of a focus on the one guy talking. So I went back to my default questions to bring everybody onto the same page. “What’s your name and your favorite game? Don’t overthink it?” I said. Our new guy, Mark said Mario 3! I also welcomed Mark as it’s rare that guys bring their dads, but I love it when they do (he’s Daniel and Josh’s dad). Everybody else shared their favorite game.

living1

I asked, “Anybody get to spend a good time with loved ones over Christmas and New Years?” I wanted to set the tone of the evening on stories about loved ones, and I think this worked. Alex Carter shared about how he had a great New Years with his two closest friends, playing videogames and enjoying beer (sidenote: he may be 23, but I’m still not used to the idea of him being old enough to drink). Scottie talked about hanging with us on New Years. And Tim also talked about hanging out with us at our Christmas party. It was kinda funny how much our “loved ones” were our friends. So I turned the conversation to a little more focus:

“Who do you love? The one person you love the most?”

This is a fun question for a group of guys as young as fourteen. Not everybody had an answer, but for those of us who were married, the answer was too easy. The follow-up question got a tiny bit more challenging:

“What do they love?”

living2

Vince talked about how his wife, Heather, loves volleyball. Mark said his wife loves baking. Many of the guys shared things their moms loved. Some shared things their dads loved. Garrett and Seth shared what their grandfathers loved.

Before we got to our final question, I check the kitchen to see how Jason and Alex were doing with the pancakes. They seemed ready.

chef_pancakes

We served up the pancakes. Then while we were eating, I had a final question:

What stories do you have about the things your loved ones love?

grab-pancakes

Garrett shared about how his grandpa loves sleep and how one time they were walking somewhere and sat down for a moment to catch their breath, but his grandpa fell asleep on the curb. Vince shared the story about his wife coaching volleyball and how hard it was when she couldn’t coach anymore. Jason shared about his mom’s love for HGTV and how they have a random window in the dining room that doesn’t go anywhere. Alex Hively shared about his little sister who he loves to watch cartoons and Let’s Plays with.

tylertim

I pulled back the curtains and explained that we were having pancakes because of Joel and because the game we’re playing is about celebrating the loves of those we love. Somebody in the room said, “that’s depressing. I feel terrible.” And I tried to counter by saying, “No, don’t feel terrible, this is a good thing. This is a celebration of life and love.” I spoke over our crew my hope that they would grow in noticing and studying the things that others love, and become good at loving others by celebrating them. Then Vince prayed over our time together before we headed downstairs.

That Dragon Cancer is only two hours long. So it was just the perfect length for our crew to play.

basement1

Unfortunately, when I got to the basement we couldn’t play the game. An update queued. It needed to update in order for us to play and it would take half an hour. I panicked for a moment. Fifteen guys piled into my basement and I couldn’t play anything on Steam because that would keep the update from downloading. I opened up my itchio library (games loosely downloaded and organized by me from itch.io) and found a game that we hadn’t actually played as a group on an official gamecell night, Super Rock Blasters.

Super Rock Blasters saved the night, as it was the perfect local multiplayer game to get everybody a chance to play. It was also a fantastic way to kill half an hour while That Dragon finished updating. Massive thanks to my buddy Christian Plummer for letting me know about SRB and for hooking up our crew with the game many months ago while it was in an earlier form. I highly recommend the game as it’s a fantastic arena deathmatch version of Asteroids. It’s on itchio for $3.

showtime

Then we got to our main event.

That Dragon, Cancer

I really didn’t know how our crew would handle a game that explored the joys of a young boy’s life as he and his family battled cancer. And since we had fifteen guys gathered around the game, we had about fifteen different responses. Universally, everybody loved the colorful surprises that the game offers. And the more harrowing parts of the game caused some guys to step out of the room. They came back, but it was clear that some of the action game junkies of the crew were uncomfortable.

moon

Our younger guys didn’t understand the audio-driven scenes that didn’t show as many characters as we heard. But over the course of the game, they got a more robust and complete vision of the experience. At one point, Tim Hilbert saw that the “pickups” in a scene were chemotherapy treatments, to which he could only say, “Man, that’s wrong…” Meanwhile, a similar scene had the whole crew laughing.

that-dragon

We passed the controller from one player to the next between the fourteen “levels.” This turned out to be the perfect number since everybody got a chance to play that wanted to.

The best moment in the game came when we saw a whole stack of pancakes in the game. Suddenly our whole crew let out a collective, “Ohhhhhhhh!” It fully connected why we ate pancakes earlier that evening. Vince had the controls for the end of the game, and he wasn’t clear on how to end the scene. Once he figured it out, he had a giant “ah-ha” moment that spoke to the unity of the game’s themes and how he was playing.

hospital-time

We all sat intensely taking-in the credits. We knew it was over, but I don’t think anybody wanted to leave. Unfortunately, we had to clean up and I needed to go to bed. Thankfully the crew helped me deal with the pancakes and batter everywhere. Note to self: next time plan better for cleanup.

~

Considering a Pancake Party of Your Own? 

All you really need is a copy of That Dragon, Cancer, pancakes and something like these questions:

  1. “Who do you love? The one person you love the most?”
  2. “What do they love?”
  3. “What stories do you have about the things your loved ones love?”

If you give this kind of thing a try, I’d love to hear about it. Email or tweet me. And if you’d like to talk, reach me by phone at (717) 201-5278.

December Articles

It’s GOTY SEASON! That means nothing for most normal human beings, but if you write about video games it’s the “most important time of the year.” You’re forced to rank all of your favorite games of the year on a list from one to ten. If you all cared, I could tell you that my personal favorites bounced between Life is Strange and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. But I don’t think that’s a terribly interesting conversation. Instead, I had more fun contributing on conversation that deconstruct the GOTY game conventions and came up with something a little more “spiritual.”

gotyjesus

First off, we put a lot of discussion and deliberation into picking the 2015 Games Jesus Loves for GameChurch. Just look at this list! Richard Clark, Drew Dixon, CT Casberg, and I hashed out this list for over two hours. You can listen to how we came up with these picks in the first or second two-hour podcast on the matter. It’s actually pretty listenable despite its length.

besttheology

At Theology Gaming, we put together our own list that focused on simply awarding games that took care to handle the subjects of faith and belief with exceptional grace and nuance. Most of the games weren’t made by folks who probably identify as Christian. And the list is not complete, despite being super-long. Take a look at the Best Theology Video Games of 2015. Bryan Hall and Zachery Oliver helped with this one a ton.

Indie Haven didn’t get a lot of articles or videos from me this month. But I did manage to wrangle up the contributors for an Our Indie Week article about our favorite things in the first week of December. Oh, and I joined Josh Hinke on the podcast to talk about Hard West. That was fun. More importantly, we did a couple of super awesome lists. My favorite was the Ultimate Couch Mulitiplayer Guide of 2015, but the list for Best Roguelikes of 2015 got the most hits. Folks love their permadeath! We also recently did another Indie Haven podcast dedicated to the best games of the year that nobody else is talking about, but that hasn’t published yet, so stay tuned to the Indie Haven podcast!

Gamasutra got a nice long list of my fav indie game trailers of the year, so if you love a good story in record time, be sure to check that out!

I wasn’t super productive in game writing land in December because I was focused on trailer production for a particularly special game. You can watch that trailer right here:

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