On Friday, our GameCell got together for the last time of the year. It was a smaller core crew. We talked about what was working, what wasn’t and what we want next year to look like. Then we played some of the best games of the year.
What’s your favorite game we’ve played in GameCell this Year?
Tim said his was Screencheat. Tyler said his was Speedrunners. Alex Carter and Vince said Lethal League. Greg and Seth agreed. Everybody was excited when they discovered Lethal League was on the playlist for the evening.
What’s your greatest highlight of GameCell this year besides Games?
One guy after another emphasized how much he loved the value of connecting with one another and the fun of learning about one another. It was like a resounding chorus of appreciation and reflecting on laughter-induced memories.
GameCell is ultimately about maturity – what’s maturity to you?
First instincts went straight for comparisons to immaturity and how so many things that say they’re mature are actually anything but (look at “M” ratings on games). Then we redirected: “What’s a positive definition of maturity?” Answers ranged from “being able to filter the world around you” to “seeing others as more important than yourself. Then we looked at a few scriptures.
Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. - John 15:5
In this one, maturity is bearing fruit. Vince pointed out that “mature” in Spanish is maduro, which describes when you can pull fruit from a tree.
Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. - Colossians 4:12
Here, Epaphras exemplifies maturity by “wrestling in prayer” for others.
Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts. - 2 Tim 2:22
Paul tells Timothy to run away from immature lusts and run hard after love, faithfulness, and peace. (Pursue maturity)
May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. -Romans 15:5
In short, God will help to mature you as you walk with him.
Then we discussed: which one of these do you relate to the most?
What do you want to improve with GameCell in 2015?
Alex Carter said he wanted more time. One hour of talking and two hour of games just makes him want more. We discussed other activities for relationship building like our house church on Saturday nights. We made sure everybody was invited to that.
Tim said food. He wanted more snacks and a consistency of sustenance. We emphasized how we’ve recently dedicated a focused budget on snacks and how we had lots of stuff for tonight. And we also talked about how our house church on Saturdays starts with dinner. After our time together, we had plenty of chips left over even though the cookies were all gone. So we might be doing better at this.
Tyler said focus. He and the rest of us struggle to keep conversations and time together super focused especially since a larger crew means that we don’t have as much of a locked-in focus on what we’re talking about. We discussed how having our new-found core group emphasizes that our veterans can be a huge agent for focus in conversations and play. Still, it leaves room for a greater emphasis on themes and clarifying our itinerary each night.
Game time started like a game show – with lots of choices and teamwork:
We turned to a game of “What Does Everybody Want To Play?” It started with our first question: PS3 or Steam? Four for Steam, none for PS3. Next question: Pick from a small curated selection (like normal) or “GameCell Tonight”, or the unfettered “GameCell Basement List.” Again it was unanimous: GameCell Tonight. The list was as follows:
- Lethal League
- Mercenary Kings
- Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
- Never Alone
After describing a few of the games and having everybody pick what we played, the first choice was Never Alone. Then the moment that mattered: who plays? You could only pick somebody besides yourself. Whoever got the most votes played. Vince was selected. Since Never Alone is a co-op game, he got to pick who played with him. He chose Greg. Vince became Nuna. Greg became the Fox.
Never Alone – B+ (Two Player Co-op)
Vince ran from a hungry polar bear as a little girl. Before long, he was cornered. Greg to the rescue! Greg jumped in as a little fox and tried to fight the polar bear. He died. Then he tried again but ran from the bear. Success! The two worked together as we watched and solved a number of simple puzzles and platforming challenges. We watched three of the cultural insight videos since Never Alone invites players into the world and culture of the Inupiat people. It was a very pleasant experience for the most part, but some of the segments were frustrating as they required that both players figured out how to not-die.
We switched games. The group picked Shadow of Mordor. And it was close between Tim, Alex, and Seth. Alex got the extra vote.
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor – B+ (Single Player Watch)
This is Lord of the Rings. The game starts like one of the movies. We watched as we learned about our hero, Tyrion, and the demise of his family. The game trained us how to play in the midst of that back-story. Alex took to it like a champ. He was slaying orcs in no time. Just as he was learning about his Wraith powers, the open world laid itself before him. We got our first glimpse of the nemesis system and how each orc captain had his own hierarchy and personality. Right around the time that Alex unlocked his first new ability, we were at our half-hour mark. It’s a good thing because when the story stopped, it became less interesting as non-players. It’s a great game for the first half hour in a group, but beyond that, it becomes more of a private affair.
Time to switch. The group picked Fotonica. I got picked first. Then we passed the controller after two runs each.
Fotonica – A+ (Single Player Pass-N-Play)
Hold any button to run. Let go to jump. Sounds easy, right? The game gets really really fast and then it turns psychedelic. Difficult gaps become logistics challenges to keep your speed up and press the button at just the right times. Almost all of of us failed the first level before Alex got the controller and blew the level out of the park. Then we saw the game’s artwork really come alive in the second level. All of this was a little too intense for Vince. And it definitely turned-up the adrenaline level for the rest of us even when we were just watching. The closest thing you can compare it to is the first-person speed and momentum of A Story About My Uncle mixed with the auto-running nature of Temple Run.
10:00pm loomed on the horizon. Tim, Tyler, and Vince had to head out. But we had to end the year on what has become our favorite game of the year: Lethal League.
Lethal League – A+ (Four Player Multiplayer)
Alex, Greg, Seth, and I discovered a new character unlocked in a recent update, Dice. We figured out his new special attack and started to really understand the nuances of some of the other characters’ harder-to-understand special attacks. We only had time for three rounds. But they were glorious. Alex Carter came in first at the end as his favorite character, Sonata. But things were close. And I think they’ll continue to be close as we return to this amazing four-player arena game of smashing a deathball into one another.
It’s been a great year, GameCell. Love you guys.