Playing Video Games with God
Includes Behind-the-Scenes Interviews about Myst, Riven, and Halo
Craig Detweiler, editor
Craig Detweiler’s collection of up-to-the-minute essays on video games’ theological themes (and yes, they do exist) is an engaging and provocative book for gamers, parents, pastors, media scholars, and theologians—virtually anyone who has dared to consider the ramifications of modern society’s obsession with video games and online media.
Top contributors address timely topics such as video games as the new storytelling medium; the theological implications of violent or apocalyptic video games like Halo 3, Grand Theft Auto IV, and Resident Evil; the impact of avatars, “second lives,” and social networks on our spiritual lives; the competitive aspects of gaming and the nature of play in Madden NFL and Guitar Hero; the active future of gaming (and faith) accompanying the Wii; medical ethics and theology in controversial games such as BioShock; and the rise of Islamogaming, analyzing how games can function as tools of identity formation and social protest for minority religions. Additional material includes interviews with current game designers, including Rand Miller, cocreator of Myst and Riven, and a helpful chapter from the Fuller Youth Institute on how parents and pastors can effectively talk to teens about gaming.
Together, these essays take on an exploding genre in popular culture and interpret it through a refreshing and enlightening theological lens.
Praise for Halos and Avatars: Playing Video Games with God
“Detweiler and company add gaming to the growing field of religion and media studies. This groundbreaking book includes spirituality, ethics, and theology in an analytic toolkit designed for parents and players as well as scholars and seekers.”
—Diane Winston, Knight Chair in Media and Religion at the USC Annenberg School for Communication
“Every parent, every gamer, every pastor needs to get Craig Detweiler’s superb collection of essays ASAP. Your ability to connect to a digital culture depends on it.”
—Leonard Sweet, Professor of Evangelism at Drew Theological School in Madison, New Jersey; and Visiting Distinguished Professor at George Fox University in Portland, Oregon
“Detweiler moves beyond the tired debate of whether video games are good or evil, probing a deeper, more interesting question: Where is God in the world of games?”
—David Thomas, author of “Video Game Reviews,” distributed by King Features Syndicate. He teaches critical video game theory at the University of Colorado, Denver.
“As humanity becomes increasingly enmeshed with the interactive and the digital, we will need our spirit guides. Read this book to develop a balanced and informed sense of the way that the Spirit and the Game are starting to interact.”
—Edward Castronova, Associate Professor and Director of the Synthetic Worlds Initiative at Indiana University, and cofounder of www.terranova.blogs.com