Retro Night — A GAMECELL RECAP
by M. Joshua
GAMECELL explores games, life, and God. We meet every two weeks in my living room and basement. These recaps exist to spark your imagination for doing something like this in your context.
This week was a little different. Our crew typically plays games off of my laptop, but I had a work conference. So that meant two things: this night wouldn’t have the typical indie game selection, and my awesome assistant Vince would be leading our crew without me. More importantly, this afforded an idea that we had been trying to do for a while:
RETRO NIGHT (an evening around old school Nintendo games and our earliest memories).
Daniel, Seth 1, Brylan, Seth 2, John, Alex Carter, Brandon, Greg, and Yoshi flooded my living room with Vince and Wayne while I was out in Ohio. Vince asked them modified questions from previous GAMECELL meet-ups where we talked about formation and spiritual backgrounds.
Since I wasn’t there, I don’t know what our crew’s responses were. But I figure these questions might be useful for you if you try something similar. For our crew, everything turned towards how God might heal bad memories. And it included a few true stories of redemption (as shared by Wayne and Vince).
These questions are what worked for us:
1. What’s your first memory of video games?
2. What’s your first memory of church?
3. How might God heal your bad memories?
We shared this verse about how God brings to our mind all the things He’s taught us. But you might find a verse more fitting to how God can heal past hurts.
“…the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” - John 14:26
After praying together and having snack, our crew changed rooms and powered-up the NES. If you try a RETRO NIGHT, any old console will do. But your goal should be to play things that get multiple people playing at the same time.
Our crew played:
- Super Mario Bros 3 (2-player)
- Tetris (turns)
- Darkwing Duck (turns)
Other games on the list (that would have been great):
- Super Mario Bros. (original, sans Duck Hunt)
- Blades of Steel
- Yoshi’s Cookie
Like I said, the exact games don’t matter with a retro night as much as the spirit of connection through play. Multiplayer games are generally better. But it can be fun to bust-out some single player ones for a short bit. Though, as awesome as Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy III might be, they’re way too long for GAMECELL. Stick to games you can experience in thirty minute windows.
Our crew had an awesome time together, hearts were addressed, and horizons were expanded — all without me! You can read about why I wasn’t there.
If you’re thinking about starting up a GAMECELL, go for it! All you really need is people, time, and games. And I’m sure you already have at least two of those three things. You don’t need the latest and greatest, just a willingness to get together. Game’s are a deeply relational thing, and talking about God and belief (and even the absence of belief) can build powerful relationships.