Friday, July 22, 2011

A Jesus-Based Approach to Game Design

Wrong! I'm pretty sure Jesus has an Xbox 360.
Over at Kotaku, Owen Good wrote up his experiences at the 2011 Christian Game Developers Conference. Did you know that was a thing? Neither did I.

It's worth a read. It offers a peek into a world that isn't often covered in gaming news, that of the devout Christian game developer. That's not my world*, but I found the piece interesting nonetheless.

The conference was not about designing Christian games, but rather it focused on game designers all over the industry who happen to be Christian. The problems they face being openly faithful, how that can inform their work, and, most importantly, how to make good games.

Cool! I'm all about good games.

Honestly, I don't care what the story of a game is about as long as it's told well and it's fun to play. But as a rule of thumb, if you start on a religious (or political or social) soapbox instead of letting the story take you there, you're going to turn off your audience.

The conference-goers do mention some Christian games, including the controversial Left Behind series. 

I have a morbid fascination with end-of-the-world stories, but you would never catch me playing a Left Behind game for the same reason you wouldn't catch me reading the Left Behind books. I don't have a problem with telling a Christian version of the Apocalypse, but this version is just so smug and superior. I get the creepy feeling that many of the fans are rooting for this to happen, and that's no fun.

In the end, I think my advice for Christian game developers is the same as my advice for other game developers: Make me a good game. I'll pass judgment on that.

*For the record, I worship the bone god Umptysquat. Now go about your business.

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