Semi-Autonomous GameCell: Alternate Culture Night

by M. Joshua

In which, our GameCell got together, we ran out of gamer Bibles, and almost-everything was led our GameCell participants (not me).

snack-time

We ran out of Gamer Bibles. New guy, Yoshi (Zach), got our last Jesus For The Win Gamer Bible.. And dude had such a great time that he’s already planning on being here next time we meet.

Our regular GameCell dudes led the discussion and play time this past week. And it went amazingly.

Almost everybody showed up at least fifteen minutes early because I wanted our discussion and game-time leaders to be early for setup and prayer. But everybody came with them! So we prayed together. Then I started with a baseline: “What’s your name and favorite game from the last year?” Everybody answered.  Then I handed the question-asking over to our discussion leader, Tyler!

Tyler asked, “What videogame’s culture would you hate to live in?

We got all kinds of answers. But my the obvious stand-outs were things like Dead Space’s horrifying religious-cult and monster-filled space future. And Five Nights At Freddy’s restaurant, Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza. Or Wolfenstein: The New Order’s alternate world where the Nazis won WW2.

tim_garrett_vince

Then Tyler asked, “What’s one thing about your culture (here and now) that you can’t stand?”

Racism. Prejudice. Alex Carter brought up Swatting and the volatile things some gamers have done to other people. He brought up GamerGate. I brought up hopelessness in our town of Red Lion in particular. After everybody shared, Tyler added a scripture:

These six things the Lord hates,
Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:
A proud look,
A lying tongue,
Hands that shed innocent blood,
A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that are swift in running to evil,
A false witness who speaks lies,
And one who sows discord among brethren.
(Proverbs 6:16-19, NKJV)

Tim Hilbert asked what each one of those things meant. And so Tyler went back through and everybody worked together to make sense of what it meant. In the end, we had a surprising abundance of agreement. “Yeah, people who do those things suck,” somebody said. Our group seemed to both be shocked that there are things God hates and at the same time agree that all of those things are enemies of a healthy culture.

Tyler asked the third question: “What’s one thing about your culture that you want to see more of?

Answers ranged all over the place, but the most common themes were love, acceptance, and a problem-solving reality. Eventually, it became clear that this was leading (at least a little bit) into the last question:

What do you think  God’s culture is like?

alex_tim_alex

Right out of the gate, Alex Carter went straight for perfection; the idea that God’s culture is just plain old perfect (and only in Heaven). Many of our dudes thought Alex’s answer was also perfect. But new guy, Yoshi, had something else in mind that blew me away: what if God’s culture is about the long-burn process of transitioning from a destructive culture into a healthy one? In short, God’s culture is about the changing process and not about the microwave  “ding-it’s-done?” I’m putting what Yoshi said in my own words. But it was just so good, it’s stuck with me.

Tyler wrapped everything up on the subject and just did a swimming job as the conversation leader. I only expected him to ask the questions, but he added his own flair that only drew out far more conversation than I could have. Garret made sure to point out that it was “our best GameCell discussion ever.” I agree.

greg_yoshi_tyler

Great work, Tyler!

Next? Game time with Garrett and Greg (our curator for the evening). We transitioned to the basement. Tim and Vince went to get snacks. Garrett gave everybody an overview of what the games were about and hooked interested players up with controllers. I helped him a tiny bit. As did Greg, who insisted on making awkward dinosaur faces in all of our photos.

basement

Yoshi, our new guy, picked Brawlhalla Open Beta  (A- 4-player couch deathmatch)

Brawlhalla

Brawlhalla was super easy for everybody to pick up as it’s the most blatant Smash Bros rip-off to date. There’s far more recovery options. And some of the hitboxes are a tad off. But everybody took to this item-heavy brawler of a knock-your-opponents-off-the-platform. Yoshi loved it. And it set a solid fun tone for the evening: all multiplayer, all light-hearted fun. It never got too intense.

It had been forever since Tim Hilbert was able to come. So we gave him Honorary New Guy status. Tim picked Meltdown (A- 4-player couch co-op)

Meltdown

Meltdown grabbed everybody’s attention right away. Bullets flied, swords slashed. Tim led the charge as the four stout mercs took the isometric field against a robot horde. While levels looked a little samey, the challenge compensated for the abundance of players at a tight pace. Vince dug right in as it played kinda similar to NES classics like Commando, Jackal, and Contra. After beating three levels and letting everybody try, we were ready for another game. But first? Snack break.

Tim Hilbert and Vince hooked everybody up with bottled root beer, cream soda, and chips. Then we took pictures. For some reason, they insisted on picking me up:

snackfat

Garrett picked ROCKETS ROCKETS ROCKETS (A- 4-player couch deathmatch)

ROCKETS

We blasted off in our rockets, shot each other with smaller rockets, and tried to not lose all of our rocket shields. To say it was a blast would be an understatement – not to mention, a terrible pun. Admittedly, the game had some refining to do as its Steam Early Access. Ironically, the game updated a day later and added a ton of refinements. We’ll keep in in the rotation.

Speaking of rotation, Alex Carter asked if we could play some of the GameCell classic, Samurai Gunn (S+ 4-player couch deathmatch)

Samurai Gunn

We busted it out to discover what all was added in the new update. In short, tighter swordplay, widescreen support, new levels, and sheer happiness. Our crew ate it up. It’s like you take one of the greatest multiplayer games and just make it better. We slashed each other to pieces and enjoyed the cherry blossoms instead of blood – just because it was prettier.

The crowd thinned. Tim Russell and Tyler went home. As did Vince. Tim Hilbert asked to play some Towerfall. (S+ 4-player couch deathmatch)

Towerfall

We made time for it. As it’s also one of our GameCell classics. After a couple rounds of pinning each other to the wall with arrows and Tim shrieking like a billy goat, we all gave each other hugs and closed down for the night.

Garrett did an amazing job of guiding the game selection process and I am looking forward to when he can do it again. Before leaving, Greg told me that he’d love to ask the questions for our discussion next time. And I’m generally just super excited about how much these guys love taking responsibility and running with it!

Next Time?

We’re talking about 21st Century Sacrifice! And we’re playing this: