Intertain: Chapter 01

I don’t know if anyone had a tangible clue of what to expect as we sat around a few screens on a hot Saturday afternoon, but as I fired up my laptop and uncovered the program for the day, the purpose of the meeting was unveiled…

This is to be a fun gathering where we strive for:

  1. Mature engagement with interactive media.
  2. Discussion on how gaming and theology intertwine.
  3. Friendship built upon genuine interconnections.

And just like that, Intertain was born.

Robin and Angela started us off by presenting a cheeky personality test designed to ascertain the types of gamers we are.

Jason resonated with being an action gamer, Daniel discovered tendencies akin to an art gamer, and without surprise, I identified with the “trophy whore” tag all too well.

There were a few among us who weren’t particularly into gaming, such as Jennifer, but were nice enough to come and support our debut meeting. In observing the test, she found it interesting that the culture consists of such variety of people, tastes, and approaches.

Theme: UNITY

In celebrating the diversity of this new group, I brought everyone’s attention to the theme of unity. We looked at Psalm 133, which read:

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down on the collar of his robe. It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.

Angela commented on how the psalm painted a nourishing picture, an environment conditioned for growth. Jennifer showed appreciation for the preciousness of the oil being poured out, and that it connected different parts of the body.

What does it mean to be in unity with one another?

I launched World of Goo and let the group decide who should become the first-ever player during Intertain. They chose the young Vicky, who was soon articulating balls of black goo into versatile constructions. She completed “Small Divide” elegantly with a truss bridge, though later on struggled with the verticality of “Ivy Towers”. Kai came to the rescue and, with methodical precision, managed to expand a nifty structure all the way to the exit at the top of the level.

Conquering the gap.

From the experience, Vicky said that unity involves sticking closely together. May highlighted the aspect of interdependence, that we must both rely on others and allow them to lean on us. Angela pointed out that in losing the commitment of one individual, the entire body could be put to risk.

What leads to disunity? What is the end result?

Robin dived into Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor and demonstrated the art of slaying Uruks and infiltrating their command. He drew some attention at a stronghold, but improvised a response and eventually dominated the local captain, turning him against his warchief. Before long, the Uruks were fighting one another, granting Robin the opportunity to overthrow the enemy establishment.

Assertive dominance.

Discussions proceeded into how some may unite for the purpose of selfish gain. In cases where people prioritise money, power, or fame, any harmony would be superficial, and any peace temporary. We contemplated the ultimate effect of internal conflict, as shown in Mark 3:23-25.

Jesus called them over and began to speak in parables: How can Satan drive out Satan?

If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.

How do we maintain unity as God’s people?

“With love!” Vicky proclaimed. No arguments there. Affiliating for the sake of love and prioritising others over ourselves would lead to a unity that endures.

Daniel and Jennifer advised a focus on problem solving in relationships, instead of passive noninterference — wisdom that rose out of their marriage. May affirmed this attitude and reminded us of how God has always been one who actively seeks reconciliation, even to his disadvantage.

We transitioned into the world of Trine 2, our last game of the session. The co-op platformer catered for three adventurers: May, the magical wizard who could conjure up boxes and move items with telekinesis; Kai, the nimble thief who could grapple onto ledges and swing through the air; and Daniel, the bulky knight who hacked through anything and anyone that got in his way. Their progress was slow, but there were glimpses of teamwork. A while later, Jason and Jennifer substituted for the roles of the wizard and the thief. Daniel, however, continued his rampage despite complaining about how unaccustomed he was to using the joystick.

Count to three.

From the setup of the game, we made an association with the Trinity, of how they exemplify perfect unity. Better yet, Jesus prayed that his followers would be able to share in their oneness, as recorded in John 17:20-23.

I pray for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. And may they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one — I in them and you in me — so that they may be brought to complete unity.

Attendance [9]: Angela Sun, Ayk Iano, Daniel Lee, Jason Chao, Jennifer Chu, Kai Chang, May Chien, Robin Zhang, and Vicky Liu.

Giveaway: World of Goo to Jason Chao.