Josh couldn’t wait for GameCell. He showed up half an hour early and just sat on the front stoop.
We started right on time (seven P.M.). I opened with a story and a question.
“Seventeen years ago, my best friend unleashed a rage on me like I’d never seen. During a round of Goldeneye, He screamed at the top of his lungs, “YOU FREAKING F****T!” Sure, I was screencheating. But that sowed a bitter seed between us that lasted for over a year. It took a long time for us to forgive one another.”
“What was your worst game experience – the time you got the most offended?”
Josh Z, Garrett, Tyler, Tim, Joey, Greg, Seth, Alex H, Jason, Joey, Joey’s friend, Devon, and Wayne listened. Then they remembered of stories of their own.
Wayne didn’t think he had any stories. But “big game hunting” had the word “game” in it, so he shared a story about a man interrupting a serene stare-down with a family of deer by walking up on him and paying no attention to any of the warning signs.
The rest of the guys shared a bunch of stories of times that they got upset at cheaters, hackers, and surprisingly few stories of “noob tubers.”
Time for a quick refresher:
“Two meets ago, we talked about how Jesus wants us to follow him: “Do you want to follow Jesus? Why or why not?” Last time: we talked about how God is a radically loving dad who just wants to welcome you home, give you fine clothes, and throw you a banquet!
Tonight? Let’s get to forgiveness.”
What do you think Jesus says about forgiveness?
We heard thoughts from almost all of the guys. Each dude offered a helpful little chunk. The character of Christ’s forgiveness came up through everybody: namely, God’s forgives our sin, how he tackles our shame, and equips us to forgive ourselves. Tyler unknowingly set me up with Jesus’ parable about how we’re to forgive others from Matthew 18:
The kingdom of God is like a king who decided to square accounts with his servants. As he got under way, one servant was brought before him who had run up a debt of a hundred thousand dollars. He couldn’t pay up, so the king ordered the man, along with his wife, children, and goods, to be auctioned off at the slave market.
“The poor wretch threw himself at the king’s feet and begged, ‘Give me a chance and I’ll pay it all back.’ Touched by his plea, the king let him off, erasing the debt.
“The servant was no sooner out of the room when he came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him ten dollars. He seized him by the throat and demanded, ‘Pay up. Now!’
“The poor wretch threw himself down and begged, ‘Give me a chance and I’ll pay it all back.’ But he wouldn’t do it. He had him arrested and put in jail until the debt was paid. When the other servants saw this going on, they were outraged and brought a detailed report to the king.
“The king summoned the man and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave your entire debt when you begged me for mercy. Shouldn’t you be compelled to be merciful to your fellow servant who asked for mercy?’ The king was furious and put the screws to the man until he paid back his entire debt…”
“Do you believe you’re forgiven?”
“Why not forgive everyone? For everything! And yeah, I realize that it seems impossible. But that’s why we’ve got to remember how much we’re forgiven. It makes it a whole lot easier. Maybe it helps to end with a question?”
“Who do you have a hard time forgiving?”
Wayne prayed for our crew. I don’t know if Seth knew Wayne was joking about kneeling as Seth followed Wayne into his silly religious-kneeling pose. We giggled. Wayne sat up and soon spoke freedom from unforgiveness over our dudes. Then he prayed for a fun game time.
Garrett picked Gauntlet and stepped into the shoes of the Valkyrie. Others
As a 2014 reboot of the 1985 classic, Gauntlet actually established a lot of what we love about local multiplayer brawling. End-of-level scoring keeps each player hounding for gold. And when the rooms drown in dregs of the deep, cooperation becomes necessity.
“Don’t shoot the food!” was heard a few times. If somebody shot the food, that meant no health for somebody who probably needs it.
For those playing, the game was pretty solid, minus the fact that four locked-in classes meant not everybody got to play as the character they wanted. To watch? It was kinda boring.
Maybe we’ll only bust this one out in the future if we have small crew of just four people.
Josh Z went straight for Screencheat, the game where everybody is invisible and the only way to win is to peek at their screens. It’s like four-player split-screen Goldeneye, but with better controls, a faster pace, and the requirement of peeking at other player’s screens. Spread-based weapons, and colored maps with lots of landmarks keep the game sharp and focused.
It broke our brains a bit. But as each player got comfortable in the map, we got good at hunting each other down, or camping and watching their movements as they came close. It took a few rounds to figure out how to look at other screens while your own, but the saving grace is that it’s really fun to watch, as your audience can more easily track where each player is and how they are responding to one another.
In addition to colorful worlds, maps, and weapons, the game’s ton takes a cheerier tone with some seriously funny kill notifications:
“YOU GOT KANYE WESTED!”
The joy of Speedrunners is that it uses traditional platforming language as the foundation for four-player racing. Any player that falls behind dies. Last man standing wins a point. Three points to win.
Think sidescrolling Mario Kart with super heroes in ridiculous costumes.
Speedrunners won the evening with it’s sheer party-game effectiveness. Wayne picked it because I made him pick something. The guys talked him into choosing Speedrunners, because I didn’t effectively lead him into a game that didn’t require mechanical skill. It worked fine for them. And Wayne got the controller in hand and pressed a few buttons. Progress.
Stanley Parable A+
Half the guys left. For the half of us that remained, slower and funnier seemed appropriate. Nobody present in our crew played the Stanley Parable when we had a whole night around it last year.
Here’s Jason’s candid response to the Stanley Parable:
The game is a live-action commentary on your decisions as a player. The game doesn’t often go so far as to break the fourth wall, but it flirts with it the whole time. And it really makes players question why they’re doing what they’re doing. And will they obey the “great voice in your head?”
Always a fantastic choice for GameCell. And if anybody is curious about this game, I recommend that you download the standalone demo of the game as it’s probably the best demo of any game (and will spoil absolutely nothing of the main game).
Return of Obra Dinn A-
Before everybody left, I squeaked-in a quick session showing them the ten-minute demo for Return of Obra Dinn. This game is by no means finished, but does some really amazing things with interactive narratives, allowing players to piece together the story based on how they play. Also, the game has a very wild art style. Some might hate it, but I love it.
A wonderful night as always. And in case you were wondering, yes everybody was very forgiving when we played games together!