In which, we assemble the gamecell and explore the value of spiritual curiosity. And play curious games.
Prepping for Curiosity
I finished prepping the playlist just before Tim and Tyler showed up early to help me make everything would run well on Steam Big Screen. Mostly, this meant trying out Michael Brough’s Kompendium for the first time and finding out if it’s playable, makes people throw-up, and has a significant amount of 2-player competitive fun as they both try to figure out how to play each competitive minigame. Think Mario Party on a glitched-out Commodore 64. There. You got it! Unfortunately nobody picked Kompendium to play. But that didn’t stop our evening from being delightfully weird.
Jason sat on the porch for 20 minutes in the cold because he forgot to try the doorbell. When we came back up stairs, he realized it was safe to come in. Greg, and Seth were with him by this point. Then a wild Pat Gann appeared! With doughnuts! And Brian came with hot cheese curls. And Vince came with Strawberries and chocolate-covered almonds! Snacks! Our new guy (and special guest for the evening), Austin, joined us. Richie came in around the time Alex Hively did. And then Dakota Williams made it in just before I started handing out late slips. Alex Carter was over an hour late. So we all made him wear the “late hat.” (No, not really. But he did miss out on the good doughnuts.)
We got everybody acquainted and then launched into the first question:
Who’s your favorite musical artist (or band)?
I was impressed by how everybody seemed to give their whole attention as each dude shared their answer. Unsurprisingly, a lot of answers were for game soundtrack composers. Austin and Seth didn’t have answers of their own so we gave them Tori Amos and Pearl Jam respectively. I was proud of how many questions each guys asked when somebody shared about their favorite. Then I asked a semi-obvious question, “Whats your reaction to others’ musical tastes? Does it make you curious?” Then I explained that one’s curiosity for others might be linked to their curiosity for spiritual things.
From 1 to 5, what’s your current curiosity for God and spiritual things?
I told them they didn’t have to answer out loud. But a number of them wanted to. I got a lot of 4/5s and only one 1/5. Still not sure I understood why he said that number because he also said he was really interested in Jesus and believed in him. Anyway, then we recapped about the last two GameCell get-togethers: how we talked about how God is Father who Loves Us. And How Forgiveness is Central to life.
Then I busted out one of my all-time fave bible verse (Matthew 6:33), where Jesus says:
“Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
A lot of guys seemed to think I was talking about floating in the “heavens.” So I tried to bring it back down to earth.
What I should have said was this: “The Kingdom of God is Jesus’ desired movement on the earth in the here and now. It’s the desires of God in the world around us. It’s God’s dreams for us and what he desires.”
Instead, I stumbled over controlling the attention of fourteen young men and talking about the worlds Eternal Life and “Aeon Zoe,” which didn’t appear to make any sense to them. So I tried to bring it back around with question number three:
How curious are you about games?
“Does that curiosity translate to your curiosity for other things?” I was a little surprised to find that a lot of our guys don’t actively pursue news about games. But I wasn’t at all surprised to discover that most of our dudes preferred to find out about games from YouTube folks like PewDiePie and Markiplier. Then I resolved on a final invitation: “How curious are you about videogames? Maybe you need to be more curious? Get curious. More curious than a cat. It won’t kill you.”
Then Pat Gann prayed us out. And we transitioned from my livingroom to the basement. Where the games were.
The GameCell playlist for the evening:
Talos Principle: Public Test (B+)
Austin got curious about the Talos Principle because its cover shows a humanoid robot petting a kitten. The actual game, however, was much more like Portal set in a place that looks more like Skyrim. It involved Austin figuring out how to use advanced technology to solve traversal puzzles. Then, suddenly, a voice started talking to him. It said, “I made you from dust,” and “My name is ELOHIM.” Further exploration made it even more odd. But it was very clear that this game rewarded curiosity.
It was great for a group. But no game would be perfectly easy to keep the attention of fourteen guys. So I decided to change the pace a bit before getting to another game.
Wanna go on a GameChurch Mission Trip to PAX East?
Without explanation, we watched this video.
Then I asked, “How much does this interest you?” In short, this is an opportunity to go to Boston to tell a bunch of people “Jesus loves you,” and then give them free stuff. This was all news to my dudes. And I really wanted to gauge interest. Two guys said they were into it. So for them? Here’s more information: http://gamechurch.com/missions. And here’s more about PAX East.
Next, we were about to feed Pat Gann’s curiosity about A Bird Story. But he had to go. And he relinquished his game-choosing-power to Seth. Seth picked Towerfall Ascension.
Towerfall Ascension (A+)
I’m pretty sure Towerfall is the crown champion of single-screen multiplayer indie games. It might be a fierce competition between it, Samurai Gunn, and Lethal League.
We went for a good five rounds of Headhunters. I felt a little bad for beating everybody in the end. A little bit.
Most of our guys headed out for the night. Because of life, work, responsibility and such. But those who stuck around really wanted to try FARG.
FARG is a same-screen multiplayer arena game very similar to Towerfall, but with a lot more chaotic color and guns. It’s early. But oh man was it wild and fun! Looking forward to seeing the final game when all the edges and balancing is in place.
We finished the night with Bearzerkers.
Jason and Seth really wanted to play Bearzerkers. So we went over our 10pm closing time a bit and tried out the free alpha. In short, everybody’s an armadillo running from a raging panda. Your goal is to screw over other players by getting ahead of them and walling-them-off into a dead end so the bear eats them and not you. Alex Hively didn’t like getting trapped by the other armadillos.
Great night. Much curiosity!