Tag Archives: tetsuya mizuguchi

‘Child of Eden’: A Fairy Tale Flight for the Post-Human

Reposted from PopMatters Multimedia Reviews.

Child of Eden, the latest from former Sega developer Tetsuya Mizuguchi (Rez, Lumines), can be most superficially described as a rail shooter in which music and color play a central role. There is a vague storyline about rescuing a damsel in distress, but relegating Lumi to the mere role of a damsel seems to write off the bulk of what the game is doing here, as she is more the embodiment of an idea–or even a god in the machine–rather than a macguffin on which the plot turns. Put simply, what storyline presents itself through scatterings of text about the resurrection of Lumi from within Eden’s corrupted archives is secondary to the grander narrative Child of Eden tells about the ascendency of life itself.

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Praying at the Altar of Darwin: A “Finding ‘Eden’” B-Side

“The same spiritual fulfillment that people find in religion can be found in science, by coming to know if you will the mind of God.” -Carolyn Porco

There came a point where I just had to stop engaging with Rick Dakan about things. It wasn’t that I didn’t value his opinion, or him as a colleague, but in the end he was right: Child of Eden was deeply subjective for me. I don’t find that to its discredit–if anything, that makes it more valuable in my eyes. But it becomes something over which it’s difficult to have a satisfying debate. I saw things in Eden no one else would see for the same reason I can look at The Passion of the Christ and see torture porn instead of a testament to faith.

For the record, I do think The Passion of the Christ is thinly-veiled pornography, or as Christopher Hitchens puts it, “an exercise in sadomasochistic homoeroticism” (God is Not Great, Hatchet Book Group, 2007, pg 111). But I recognize it’s not for me, that its iconography has a significantly different impact for evangelical Christians. I might have judgments about a religion where faith is expressed by watching a representation of its central figure beaten and tortured to death with the best of Hollywood’s gore effects, but that’s neither here nor there at present. What is “here” is that watching that movie with my biological father eradicated any remaining traces of my belief in the Christian God.

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Finding ‘Eden’: Can Games Be Spiritual Experiences?

Reposted from PopMatters Moving Pixels.

“Do you think a game can be a religion?” a friend asked me recently. The question came as part of a conversation we have had about fandoms and content worlds for more than a year now, and it emerged without consideration to works such as Jason Rohrer’s Chain World or the Left Behind games. Valuable foregrounding points though these titles are, they weren’t on my friend’s mind. Final Fantasy VII was.

We agreed in fairly short order that, as religions and fandoms both tend to organize themselves around stories and looking to characters as models for behavior, a case could indeed be made for games as religion. But what a discourse such as ours should really be exploring is whether games, denotatively, can function spiritually for the player. That is, whether there is some systemic quality to games that can generate a deep-seated emotional experience, quite apart from the creation of elaborate narratives and rules for conduct which are more accurately the hallmarks of organized faith. Can games reach us emotionally on a level that we might term a “spiritual experience”?

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