GameCell Gets An Australian Baby Brother


Proud brother moment!

My brother in Christ, Ayk Iano (Ian), started his own game cell group! It’s called Intertain. You can read about their first get-together on his website here.


I met Ian through his great writing and contributions in the Theology Gaming community before it started to grow. His love for Jesus and games was immediately apparent, as was his unique perspective. Ian and his wife, May, live in Sydney. And they’ve both proven to be fantastic friends.

Be sure to go to Ian’s blog and check out his story about Intertain’s first gathering. More to come!

Social Boss Fights in Deus Ex: Human Revolution – Subversive Mechanics

Boss battles are always violent, Right? Except when they aren’t. Meet Deus Ex: Human Revolution’s social boss fights.

You can easily lose these “fights,” but a silver tongue will get information out of somebody who doesn’t want to give it to you. Much of this is helped by an upgradable skill (augmentation) called Emotional Intelligence Enhancement.

You Should Listen To The Radiance Game Dev Podcast!


Ever wanted to make a Christian Videogame?

You need to listen to the Radiance Podcast. Not that I’m biased as the host or anything. I kid. It really is invaluable.

Ever wondered how Christianity should work in a videogame?

You should listen to our fourth episode with the makers of Defender’s Quest.

Ever wondered what role your testimony could play in a videogame?

You should listen to our third episode with Josh Larsen who talks about his game, That Dragon Cancer. Then we explore what Christians can learn from Papers Please.

Ever wondered what kind of journey you can expect in games development?

You should listen to our second episode with Soma Games; where we explore the importance of knowing you’re not alone. And we talk about The Swapper.

Ever wondered what kinds of Christian games the hosts (other than me) are working on?

You should listen to our first episode and learn what Christian game developers can learn from Gone Home.

If any aspect of making videogames is interesting to you?

You should subscribe to our show on iTunes.

Multi-layered Skills in Transistor – Subversive Mechanics

Skills don’t overlap in single-character games. Except Transistor.

Functions are actions in combat, augmentations to other actions in combat, or are passive bonuses to benefit the player. It’s a robust system with over a thousand potential combinations. To add to that, each Function ties directly into the main narrative.

This mechanic got it’s own deep-dive over at Gamasutra. There, the game’s authors explain it better than I ever could.

Bonus XP for Mercy in Deus Ex 3: Human Revolution – Subversive Mechanics

Get within five feet of an enemy to find yourself in this moral quandary:


Do I use my fancy new arm-katanas?

Or do I just use my robot arms to gently make him go to sleep?

While less cool, the merciful option that preserves your enemy’s life nets you a fancy bonus of 20 XP. You miss-out on this Merciful Soul bonus if you take the enemy’s life.

Loving Enemies in Valiant Hearts – Subversive Mechanics

Valiant Hearts takes you through a French perspective of World War One. As French grandpa, Emil, you find an enemy German soldier hanging from a rope as a result of a mine cart accident. What do you do?

As Emil gets the soldier down, the two rely on one another to make further progress, subverting definitions of enemy and ally.

I explored this mechanic in depth on GameChurch and how it would have been better as an optional action than a progress-gate. Nevertheless, the enemy-rescue concept conveys a subversive notion in a culture awash in conquest.

The Teleporter Pad in The Marvellous Miss Take – Subversive Mechanics

Miss Take has no weapons. None. No offense of any kind. Just tools for evasion and distraction. My personal favorite is the teleporter pad.


At first, it might seem similar to Dishonored’s blink teleportation. But there’s a distinct difference in ambition and perspective. Namely, Miss Take is all getaway as it’s a heist game.

Toss the teleporter when you’re in a tight spot between a camera and a guard. Anticipate the two-second delay. Enjoy the exhiliration of almost getting caught, but making a clean getaway: The Marvellous Miss Take’s specialty.

No EXP For Kills in Deus Ex – Subversive Mechanics

You get experience points for killing enemies in role playing games. It’s a given. Except in the original Deus Ex.


Killing an enemy only produces a dead body.


This downplay of enemy termination subtly encourages other kinds of solutions; such as hacking a security system, using your tools to create an alternate route, or just keeping your head down as you avoid confrontation. Of course, you can go on a murderous rampage. But you may wonder why that seems to reward you a little less than the other options.

“I Forgot About You – Because I Stopped Talking To You”

I suck at calling my parents. We’re on really great terms. We just don’t talk. It’s mostly my fault. I’m not all that great at follow up. Or sharing the things I’m processing with others – especially when I feel like we have diverging interests/priorities. It’s got me thinking.

How do people grow distant?

I think you just talk less. Gradually. Over time. Before you know it, it’s weeks since you’ve talked. Then months. Your relationship descends into the lack of a relationship. It might still be there. But not any more there than the unread books on your shelf.

Maybe it’s the same with God?

Like you just stop talking. I don’t think people just stop believing in God. I think they stop talking to Him. Gradually. Over time. I’m noticing that exact flaw in my relationship with him. And again, it’s my fault.

I don’t wanna stop talking to God.

So I’m opening up. I’ve taken to unloading all my thoughts on God. Especially about videogames. What I’ve played, what I think about it. What I think he thinks about it. What I sense his spirit saying. How that makes me feel.

That wild and chaotic verbal spillage can turn into intercession for the world around me. But it’s really just talking.

Maybe God just wants us to talk to him?

Papers Please’s Sharpshootin’ – Subversive Mechanics

Papers Please is as far from a first-person shooter as one can get. Almost all of the mechanics are about reviewing passports, documents, and finding details gone amiss. So when you suddenly get a key and are told to only use it in emergency, you don’t expect this to happen:

Papers Please Sharpshooter

The whole thing is over before you know it. Especially if you aren’t watching what’s going on. But if you pay attention to detail, you might get enough money to keep your family alive.


None of this would be subversive or compelling if it wasn’t mostly about paperwork. But by pulling out the unexpected, you’re forced to adapt.