This time, all our serious questions came from the guys, not me.
First, we broke the ice with “What games have affected you on a deep emotional level?” Our four new guys (Johnny, Seth, Greg, and Jason) shared; as did our six veterans (Matt, Tyler, Anthony, Nick, Hively, and Carter). Vince and I passed out index cards and asked them to share any questions that had been weighing on them – anything they wanted to ask older guys who had life experience. We tossed the cards folded into a bowl and dug them out:
- How do you deal with difficult co-worker situations?
- Do you believe people should live-out their dreams? Even if it’s difficult? Should they push their way to the top?
- Did anyone know that separation of church and state isn’t in the constitution (like we were taught in school)?
- My girlfriend is Russian and her parents hate Americans, especially her dad. What do I do?
- Why am I alive when my life has no meaning or purpose?
We took our time answering these questions. But there was one that we took some extra time with:
Why am I alive when my life has no meaning or purpose?
Firstly, to anybody who steps in my house, I want to tell you that you’re loved. Loved my me, Jess, Vince. And I know this might not carry quite the same weight for some but it’s truer than you can imagine: God loves you. I don’t know how to draw that out and make that real for anybody here, but I do have to tell you that his love goes beyond any disorientation or depression or anything. I get it, though. I wanted to end my life when I was fifteen. And telling me “God loves you” didn’t fully change that.
Maybe a picture will help?
Not that picture. This picture:
The Bible starts by telling us that we’re “Made in God’s Image.” Like we’re his. He sees so much of himself when he looks at us. When I was a kid and came up with drawings of violent-blob-dudes that beat the crap out of each other, you know what my dad said? “This is awesome! I’m so proud of you!” I know some of you didn’t have great dads. But this is the kind of picture God is trying to instill with us when he says “I made you in my image.” He’s excited by anything you do. Anything you create. And he wants to share in your joy.
How about another picture? Imagine this:
You are a seed. A huge, glowing, powerful seed. Full of potential. Full of life. But right now all you can see is that you’re a seed. You have no idea what kind of tree you’ll become. You might become a tall tree with normal fruit that most people like. Or you might become a wide tree with wild fruit that a smaller group of people like, but they’ll be radical in their excitement. Or you could become the kind of tree that nobody has ever seen before.
The simple matter right now, however, is that you’re presently a seed.
Most of you guys aren’t quite into your 20s yet. And that’s a whole decade of your life where your tree-like nature starts to flourish. You discover – at least a little bit – of what God’s got in-store for you.
It starts with this: “I love you. I’m with you. We’re gonna make it.” I’m confident that’s what God’s saying to you. So much so, that I feel the same way and want to know that Vince and I, we’re with you. We love you. We’re gonna make it, together.
And we’re gonna find out what kind of tree you’re gonna become.
We didn’t get to all of the questions. We still have yet to answer these:
- I’ve recently lost hope in life, and I just don’t know. How do I get it back?
- What if I come from a religious family, but I am doubting God?
- Who has Steam? Is it worth getting?
I plan on getting to these questions sometime this week. I might shoot short video clips trying to give a truthful response.
Game time. Seth went first. His pick?
This War of Mine (A)
This War Of Mine doesn’t have a release date. But it does have this deep press demo that I have to write about. It’s a very different kind of war game. Instead of being a soldier, you lead a group of homeless wartime civilians who are squatting in a bombed-out building. There’s only one option in the game: survive.
As Seth played, we discussed the scavenging mechanics, and how the game was inspired by letters from survivors of the Kosovo war of the late 90s. Seth had to make some very hard decisions like, “do we make a bed, or do we make a crude stove?” Or in other words, “Do we sleep, or do we cook our food?” This decision can be made easier if you don’t have enough food to cook (which was Seth’s group’s case).
Our GameCell crew provided Seth with lots of suggestions on what to do and how to try to get by. But ultimately, he lost one of his survivors on the first night. The remaining survivors got a status ailment that said “sad.” But I think it put those of us watching right there with them.
(Group rating: A* single-player (others watch) *This game is not finished.)
Gang Beasts (A+)
Greg picked Gang Beasts. The next forty-five minutes was a chorus of awkward groans of “Guhh,” “Buhh,” and “Eyaahh!” Meanwhile, four colorful play-dough-men proceeded to grab and push each other into harm. The result? Sustained laughter.
Controls are awkward. Sounds are barely finished. Levels are plain. The game glitched-out multiple times. And yet this may be the best multiplayer experience we’ve had this year.
It’s hilarious. Even when you lose.
Gang Beasts is like if Goat Simulator wanted to do Super Smash Bros. And everybody got into it. We passed controllers.
Everybody jumped in when we could give them a turn. It was a little tricky because I accidentally set the levels to alternate. Which, in this early state, doesn’t give enough time to hand-off controllers to new players. But I’m sure all of this will get worked out in the future updates. So fun.
(Group rating: A+ 4P-multiplayer *Game is in very early Early Access)
“PUNCH ME IN THE FACE!” Jason said to Johnny on several occasions. To be honest, it was more, “punch me in the spectral bubble so I can help you beat-up Mexican skeletons.” But in the heat of the moment, these details can get lost.
A luchador and a luchadora take the screen and proceed to run, jump, and adventure through a wild Mexican cartoon world where they progressively unlock new abilities. They get all of these abilities from a goat-wizard, of course. Comedy carries this to a smaller degree. The brawling mechanics started to suck Johnny and Jason right-in at about the twenty-minute mark. I’m sure they could have kept going for hours. But some of the onlookers weren’t as into it, feeling the 10:10pm sleepy-time more than the intensity of the game.
The two guys playing loved it. But Alex Hively fell asleep. I love Guacamelee. But I think it’s better when it’s just two players and not in front of a large group.
(Group rating: B- 2P-co-op)
We kept going until 10:30, hoping to see Jason and Johnny get to the alebrije. But as they died for the first time, our hopes of sticking it out were dashed. Time to call it a night. A great night.
Loved having you guys over! So much fun! And great conversations!