Not Art

September 11, 2011

Wired has an interesting story about trying to tackle religion in games.

How do you make a videogame that, in some sense, is a religion, especially if you’re an atheist? Rohrer began by defining the sort of spiritual practice that interested him, which had to do with the physical mysteries of everyday human experience. Rohrer spoke about his late grandfather, a colorful man who served as mayor of a small town in Ohio and left behind a legacy that soon turned into legends—the house he had built and the interstate whose path he had altered, forcing it to swerve around his town. (“It’s like my grandfather’s dogleg,” Rohrer said, putting up a slide of a bend in I-77.) In Rohrer’s family, these physical places had been turned into shrines of a sort. “We become like gods to those who come after us,” Rohrer told the crowd.

I think all the competitors missed the mark, even Rohrer, who at least did something interesting. It seems like one key component of religion is the idea of a shared story. Chain World, based on Minecraft, doesn't have a story. The whole concept is just pure dogma, which seems to be the least interesting thing about religion.