Immersion GameCell

by M. Joshua

thecrew

Joey, Alex (Hively), Nick, Vince and I packed into my living room. Alex (Carter) showed up with some chips for snack. Time for the first question:

What has immersed you in it’s world?

Star Wars. Doctor Who. The Matrix. Deus Ex. DOTA 2’s competitive community.

What does immersion look like to you?

Alex Carter drew a picture of a virtuality headset world that comes from one of his favorite anime: eyes and ears covered, in a special virtualizing chair; plugged-in in every way possible.

Did you know Baptism is another word for Immersion?

Suddenly, James showed up. We brought him up to speed and then I reframed the last question: “Do you know what the biblical word is for ‘immersion?'” He looked at me funny, “Are we really talking about Baptism?”

Well, you know how people sometimes look at Baptism as a once-and-done kind of thing? But what if it’s just a symbol of a deeper immersion? Like a first dip in a deep dive? A life-long deep-dive that doesn’t have an ocean floor but just keeps getting deeper?

Let me try to bring this back down:

What do you think it would it look like to be immersed in God’s Ultimate Reality?

Blank stares.

Okay, so look at it like there’s two endless oceans. One ocean is the immersive world of videogames. The second ocean is God’s Kingdom that he’s inviting you to be a part of. You’re already dipping you’re toes in by being a part of GameCell. When you participate in our church gatherings at Wayne’s house, you’re peeking inside a portal to that Kingdom. But it’s up to you to dive in.

Ready to dive in and get immersed? If not, what’s holding you back?

~

We played a ton of games that seemed to gel super well with out crew. First up, Super Time Force.

Super Time Force Ultra (B-)

stfu

Nick took the helm as we started on a clean save for the benefit of the tutorial mission. Nick got a verifiable crash course in time manipulation and saving his past selves from death for the added benefit of power-ups and compounding power attacks. Still, the tutorial proved a bit frustrating as Time-Paradoxes aren’t exactly easy things to deal with.

James took over for Nick as frustration set in. James are through half of his TIME-OUTS before getting stuck on the first level. To be fair, I think I did the same on my first try. James gave up due to frustration as well. But our crew wanted to see what semi-skilled play looked like, so I showed a run of the first level which still included a lot of mistakes. We all enjoyed watching the final take which showed the run realtime without time manipulation. Fun watch.

(Group rating: B- pass-n-play)

A Story About My Uncle (A+)

uncle

“I can pick? Is that allowed?” Vince asked. “Yeah: You’re a part of this group!” Vince went straight for A Story About My Uncle because I told him it’s like playing as Spider Man. Though, I forgot to tell him Halo skills might be required. He made it trough the Uncle’s house, but when he got his power-suit on and was told to jump from one flying rock to another, he was a little overwhelmed. But everybody in the room was on the edge of their seat when they saw you could jump forty feet straight up.

Joey took the controller to show Vince how to use momentum to jump forward. It suited him so easily that he could sprint and leap eighty feet onto the next floating rock like it was nothing. “WHOAAAA!” Everybody seemed to say in unison. “This is awesome!” A couple guys said.

Then our grapple beam turned on. The excitement turned up a few notches.

We finished the first level and got to the first village. Everybody wanted to know how much the game cost and how they could play it at home.

(Group rating: A+ pass-n-play *with FPS controller competency)

Five Nights at Freddy’s (A)

freddys

James took Five Nights At Freddy’s for a spin. He (surprisingly) lasted through the first night without being evicerated by animatronic sing-along-song farm animal robots. Second night didn’t go as well. So the game’s pretty simple: monitor the security feed for animatronic activity (watch out for the Duck – dude’s a sneaky psychopath), and just keep anybody from disturbing you in the security booth. Problem is that everything’s dark, cameras are crappy, and the sick robots can’t wait to jump out and scare the pee out of you.

James had to stop playing. He passed the controls over to Hively with just enough time for him to get freaked out, overwhelmed, and for a giant freaky bear to jump out of nowhere, shriek at our faces, and scare a little pee out of us.

(Group rating: A pass-n-play *note: this game is scary. Very scary.)

Crawl (A-)

crawl

Crawl is a four-player action-RPG where one player is the hero and everybody else is the enemies. It’s Steam Early Access, so it’s not finished. But the core game is good enough that hooked Vince, James, Hively, and me.

A Level 1 hero starts off in a room against three colored ghosts. The ghosts can only collect vitae (tan orbs), but occult symbols turn the ghosts into monsters in the next room. Here, the ghost-filled monsters fight the hero until one of them gives up their ghost. If a monster-player kills a hero-player, the monster transforms into the hero. If the hero kills a monster, he busts loose some EXP. And leveling-up happens quickly.

What ensues is a power-struggle that looks like James being the hero one minute, me being the hero the next, and then James and the guys being the boss (and his tentacles) the next. In the end, James won: he was the hero who had slain the gross tentacle-brain monster boss and stood triumphant.

(Group rating: A- multiplayer *note: game’s not finished yet.)

It was a great night.