Gamecell Idea #61: Trashy Friend Night

by M. Joshua

Everybody has a story about a time a friend let them down. It’s easy to think of. Problem is, that we don’t often examine ourselves and the ways we can become better friends. Jesus knew what it was like to have trashy friends.


My living room plumped-up as Greg, Jason, Zach, Hively, Carter, Vince, Garrett, Tim H, Dan, and Roberto piled in. That’s eleven of us. First question:

When has a friend really come through for you? 

Tim told a story about the first time he showed up at gamecell after getting his licence. He didn’t realize that he parked in front of a driveway and got his car towed. Vince took him to the tow truck guy. Then Vince paid for Tim’s ticket, which was over a hundred bucks. After Tim finished telling this story, Vince said that Tim was also a great friend because he paid him back, which he didn’t expect at all.

Why do you think friendships don’t always last? 

Garrett told a story about how he opened his home up to his friend to let him live with him, and how that friend never took care of his share of responsibilities, got involved in a bad scene with drugs involved, and how they no longer were friends. A lot of our guys had stories about friends letting them down. I pointed out how bad choices ruin friendships a lot. Alex mentioned how some of his friends just moved away and they talked less and less. So sometimes, it’s just drifting apart.

How good of a friend do you think you are? 

The weight of the question took a few seconds to sit, then it looked like I dropped a weight on them. “I’m not a good friend at all. I’m kind of a jerk,” one guy said. “Yeah, me too.” said another. Another guy said that he’s a really good friend to the people who are nice to him, but a terror to people who betray him or are unkind. Others shared times they really dropped the ball as a friend.

I told Peter’s story as a Trashy friend to Jesus. 

“Do you guys know who Jesus’ best friend was? Or at least like his two best friends?” Somebody guessed Judas before Hively got the answer right by saying Peter. Then I asked “Do you know what Peter did the night Jesus was arrested before he was crucified?” There were some good guesses, but nobody knew he chopped off a dude’s ear. I asked if they knew what Jesus did with the ear. They rightly guessed that he put it back on. I asked, “Do you know what Peter did as Jesus was dragged away?” That’s when Carter remembered that Peter said he didn’t know Jesus. Then this happened two more times. And this was just hours after Peter said he’d gladly die for Jesus. This defined the term, “ultimate fail.”

We fast-forwarded the story: talked about Thomas putting his hand in Jesus’ side after he resurrected, how nobody really knew what to do with the idea that Jesus resurrected. And then Resurrected Jesus shows up on the shore  by where Peter’s in his fishing boat. Peter strips and swims ashore, desperate to see Jesus. They have fish breakfast and then Jesus asks him, “Do you love me?” Three times. Each time, then Jesus says “Feed my sheep.” I explained to the guys, that Peter led the whole church after that and was known as one of Jesus’ best representatives—but more importantly, a friend.

They asked me what I saw in them.

I accidentally started speaking powerful encouragement over one or two of the guys, so they wanted to know what I saw in each one of them. So I went around the room, asking God’s spirit to draw out their Godly qualities/identities/destinies. I called out Tim Hilbert for being a ridiculously sweet guy with a soft heart and a desire to build up and express goodness and affection. I called out Alex Carter’s loyalty and consistency (another word for faithfulness). I pointed out Jason’s eccentricities and ability to use unusual means for growing friendships. I spoke over all of them. They loved it. And I loved that it was their idea.

I asked Roberto to pray for our crew and our time. He flowed like a pro.

We snacked. Then it was Trashy Friend Game Time.

I planned on having the guys play Speedrunners, since it’s a game of being a trashy friend to one another, but it wasn’t starting on my computer for some reason, so instead we played Towerfall since that was what our crew picked from a list of couch multiplayer games we’ve loved from the past like Lethal League and Samurai Gunn.


We had some really great matches. Everybody played. Then we switched to our main event game about Trashy Friends. Our crew voted for Roberto to pick and play the ‘trashy friend’ game. He chose from The Beginner’s Guide, Oxenfree, and Firewatch (all great games about friendship). He chose Firewatch.

I let the crew know that this was a pretty mature game, with a lot of mature subjects that doesn’t pull any punches. I asked them to be respectful in how they handled some of the subject matter. In the first fifteen minutes of the game, they dealt with marital disappointments, dementia, the death of a family dog, and a nude drawing of the game’s main character, Henry, posing as a Victoria’s Secret model. As you can imagine, it was very fun to see our crew’s reactions to these things.


Soon the game introduces the second voice in the game, a fellow park ranger named Delilah. She sounds like a real person, which made our crew’s reactions and choices in response to her feel very fun and natural. They soon took to tracking down a couple of teens setting-off fireworks nearby and enjoyed figuring out how to respond to them.

This is our last gamecell. At least for a while. When we get back together after Jess and I adjust to having Zeek, we’ll become something different—probably with a better boy-girl ratio—and with shorter time constraints thanks to being time-pressured by an infant. But for our last hurrah, nobody wanted to leave. You’ think they got super glue on themselves by how they didn’t want to get up or leave their spots. It was bittersweet. Our friendships have grown. Gamecell is theirs now. Since we have to take time off and let it become something new, there’s the fears of change, and the pain of relational distance. Nevertheless, I saw something in their eyes that felt like a simple longing for continuation.


Until next time.


Thinking about a Trashy Friend Night?

Here’s three questions and a Bible story to tell:

1. When has a friend really come through for you?
2. Why do you think friendships don’t always last?
3. How good of a friend do you think you are?

Story: Peter’s failures at Jesus’ end.
Speak: Tell your crew about what you see in them.

You can play any game together that’s fun for a group of friends. If you need more suggestions, just leave me a comment below and let me know if this has been helpful for you at all. And let me know how it goes if you try this out!