This is another post from the Malus and Mayhem blog. A book chronicling the tale of the production of the unlicensed (shitty) NES game Bible Adventures prompted a response in me that was a bit deeper than what was probably originally intended by the author. That said, although it’s half book review and half self-reflection, it fits the theme of “posts written during bouts of mental duress” for today’s Throwback Thursday.
Originally posted July 5, 2015
So, I’ve been dealing with some real world issues lately–family, friends, circumstances. I haven’t had a lot of time or energy to update or complete some of the threads I’ve lain, but will get to those soon enough.
For today’s post–my first in about a week or two–I think I’m going to pull back the mask a little and talk a bit about what’s been on my mind.
Last night, I read a book entitled Bible Adventures by Gabe Durham and published by Boss Fight Books. It’s a part of a series called Boss Fight Books, and the titles associated seem to be a sort of video game memoir–part review, part history, part personal experience. I bought it as part of this video game history bundle of e-books type of deal, and I couldn’t be happier.
The book itself is endlessly fascinating. It chronicles the work and struggles of the men and women of Color Dreams, an unlicensed video game company from the late 1980s/early 1990s that produced at first more edgy fair (cops shooting drug dealers) and then morphed into a company called Wisdom Tree, which produced games with a Christian bent. The tale of how Color Dreams became Wisdom Tree, and how the atheist/agnostic programmers who made games for both companies found themselves working within the world of video game entertainment is placed against the author’s own story of his spiritual journey up to this point.
A former fundamentalist Christian, Gabe Durham is now closer to a non-practicing Christian with agnostic tendencies. He gives some intense and personal glimpses of his upbringing within the faith, his struggles with doubt as a human being, and his personal experiences with the games made by Wisdom Tree as a young Christian (the aforementioned review aspect of the book).
That’s great. Why does this matter?
It’s all about finding one’s place in the world, my friends–and the fact that I feel like I haven’t yet done that.
Every so often, I go through what would probably best be characterized as existential crises…plural, as I feel like I’ve gone through more than one by this point. The book I read last night re-opened my own journey into yet another round of soul-searching.
Often, it is said that writers wear masks when they write. They allow the book, the essay, the work to be their filters through which they may tell the unabashed truth without fear of reprisal (at least, that’s the feeling one gets).
Now, I haven’t written a whole lot for the last several years. The last time I wrote a work of fiction from the ground up (not just a revision) was 2010, I believe. Though I write for this blog, and though I have a day job, I really don’t see myself as someone who contributes a lot to society. When I write, I don’t really write about anything. I don’t tell stories. I regurgitate them. I’m well-informed on a great many subjects, but in virtually all of those arenas, there are experts more eminent than I.
What role do I then play in the world?
If all writers wear masks, that implies that there’s something beneath. What if there’s nothing beneath my mask, except smoke and empty fabric? If there is nothing inside, how can I contribute anything of worth? Why should my opinions matter anymore than those of anyone else?
It’s a bit like a crisis of faith.
If there is no God, then we are truly alone. All we truly have is each other. We are without purpose, save that which we give ourselves. We’re a captain-less ship. Star stuff questioning its own existence and finding no answer because none exists.
How does one cope with the idea that one is merely an empty shell?
How does one cope with change when one is truly alone?
Deep thoughts, my friends. Deep thoughts.
At any rate, if you get a chance and have an interest in retro-gaming, gaming history, and armchair philosophy/theology, give Bible Adventures by Gabe Durham a read. It’s short, interesting, and intimate–and it may just force some self-reflection.
Click here to check it out.