Search This Blog

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Playing with Religion in Digital Games

From the emergence of the first generation 8-bit console games to the sweeping stories and design of some of today’s massively multiplayer online role-playing games (mmorpg), the presence of religion in digital gaming has been present in some fashion. The Legend of Zelda, God of War, Okami, World of Warcraft, to name a few, are all video games that incorporate some form of religion in their narratives. And with the proliferation of games in the last few decades, played by innumerable amounts of people daily, its effect may be more evident than we know.  

In Playing with Religion in Digital Games, UNCG Religious Studies professor Gregory Price Grieve and Texas A&M University Professor of Communication Heidi Campbell have compiled a unique collection of essays that examine the ways in which religious motifs are present in modern digital games and the ways in which they could be used to understand various cultures and cultural identities.  As Grieve says himself, "There is a notion that games and religion have nothing to do with each other. This book provides evidence that they do actually have a lot of similarities, and these similarities offer insights into aspect of how religion is performed."(

The collection has received accolade from trade news magazine Publishers Weekly, expressing,  “the essayists analyze digital games' depictions of religious imagery and theology and consider the implications of how different cultural groups receive and project these ideas. Many of the essayists examine the relationship between the historical and symbolic importance of sacred games/spaces and play as a meaning-making activity.”  (Publisher’s Weekly)

"The pieces here take fresh approaches to the topics and add valuable insight. The collection distinguishes itself most in its section on gaming as implicit religion—where authors discuss the ways in which some games imbue nonreligious activity with religious meaning. In these games, players experience "emotions and processes" that match religious emotions and processes, an area of gaming studies ripe for exploration."  (Stenis, 2014)

"This volume brings together the fields of religion studies and game studies in valuable ways. It helps us see the many and complex roles that religion and spirituality can take on within contemporary videogames, and it also explores how the practice of gameplay itself can be a religion-like experience. The many excellent writers included here demonstrate the value of cross-disciplinary approaches to understanding games, and also how digital games have become a key element of contemporary life—in both its sacred and its profane expressions." (Mia Consalvo, Concordia University, author of Cheating:  Gaining Advantage in Videogames

Stenis, P. (2014). Playing with Religion in Digital Games. Library Journal, 139(4), 96.

No comments:

Post a Comment