Monday, June 10, 2019

Feeling guilty about gaming deaths!!!?

I just finished Mass Effect 2 for PS3, I am years behind current games! But being years behind has the advantage of getting an awesome title like ME2 for only £2 in CeX.

I was wondering if anyone else out there couldn't help feeling a bit guilty about the fate of certain characters in this game....

If you don't know, in Mass Effect 2, depending on how you play the game and how much time you pump into the game characters will either live or die in the final chapter of the story and all at a pretty rapid succession!

For me, I felt bad when Mordin died, and again, of all things, when Garrus died, I even had a twinge of guilt at seeing Jack's mangled face.... am I disclosing here how little I put into the game, here...?

I think to be honest only Grunt, the black guy, Miranda and the DLC girl survived for me... this was surprising as I thought if you did the side quests for each character they basically would survive... this was not the case, I used Garrus all the time in pretty much every quest.... but still... he didn't make it.... any I felt a little guilty for it......

As for Grunt, I had no sympathy towards him, I had read a few minor spoiler hints and I was under the impression that you had to choose one character to kill off, to send on a suicide mission..... I had Grunt in mind for this because I figured he was the least human and most animal like..... and yet, Grunt survived!

I went down to CeX and saw Mass Effect 3 for £2, so have just bought it, I understand that characters that lived can get carried over, but those who died, they are gone forever.

There is something refreshing about this. In most games death is something that can be corrected with loading up an old save, or using a phoenix down or whatever.... but here, death is death and we have to live with the consequences of our failings to protect the characters in our team. That's something I really like because its true to life, and whilst we play games as a form of escape, I like games to have some moral teaching in them, or something to help make me a better person. Being reminded of my mortality and the mortality of my friends, and the permanence of death... they are all good things from a Catholic world view.

Remember Mordin, thou art bits, and unto bits thou hast returned.
Remember Fr Higgins you are dust and unto dust you shall return.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Existentialism and Essentialism

The problem with so many modern RPGs, post Snes era RPGSs is that whilst many of the great titles  pushed the boundaries in graphics, gameplay, FMVs etc, in the characterization and storyline we find made major concessions to dodgy philosophies and false values.

How many of then however strayed into typical "enlighten the deluded masses that need to be rescued from their perverse religion"?

(That is no bad thing in one sense as most religions are false. There is only one true religion the Catholic Faith and all the rest are evil in some way or another- Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Calvinism, Pentecostalism, Anglicanism- they are false religions.)

But even worse, and even more toxic, how many of them essentially preach the doctrine of existentialism.

Man comes to realise that he does not have an essence- his essence is simply his existence- he makes who he is. Man is. There are no laws he must obey, no standards he is called to and no way of life that makes sense of the world.

This is problematic. Deeply problematic.

The challenge of the Christian RPG is to promote essentialism- you have a nature, you have a destiny, you have an end point, you are charged with a mission, you have inbuilt rules, you inhabit a world in which you have a place even if you don't know it yet, religion can help you discover who you are, your essence, your vocation, the meaning written into every fibre of your being.

This can be exciting too. In fact it can be far far more exciting that having a revelation that you are nobody and that your life is in fact empty of meaning.

We all find joy and experience a sense of expansion even in discovering some weird fact about a biological relative, say a grandfather. Imagine tomorrow you discovered your great great great grandfather was a prince who had been exiled from some small European state 150 years ago. Wow! And you are in fact the heir to that kingdom! Wow!

The joy of discovering your true place in the story of the world is awesome and the amazing thing is- God does have a place for you in this story.

Freedom means you can deviate and reject this role,

in eternity you will discover it, you will see your essence, who God had intended and designed you to be.

Unfortunately the vast majority of souls will gaze upon this essence in rage, amidst the fires of hell, for only those who conform themselves to this image, this vocation, this essence will make it to purgatory and through purgatory to heaven.

Domine ut videam.

Lord help me to see who I am, who you have made me,  help me to live according to your design for me, to flourish and to lead others to this fulfillment that solely comes through relationship with you- in and through the one church you founded.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Misty knows the One True Religion

When it comes to getting rid of demons, Jesus Christ is the only way. Mohammed cannot help you, Buddah is useless, there is only one name before whom they must all kneel, the name of Jesus Christ (and the names of His Holy Saints, who are filled with Him and reflect Him).

Dona Nobis Pacem and Final Fantasy X

At Holy Mass as the priest holds the Sacred Host in His Hand, he strikes his breast three times saying-

Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us
Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us
Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world, grant us peace

This moment occurs just after Sacred Host is broken, one of the moment which mystically shows forth the Sacrifice Our Lord offers on the Cross and that His perfect sacrifice has been accepted to grant us peace- peace between humanity and Almighty God in the New and Everlasting Covenant. 

Holy Mass renews this sacrifice it brings this Once and For all sacrifice into the here and now, God uses the rites of the Mass to intersect history anew with this One Sacrifice, bringing its efficacy, applying its merits to those who are present and who have interiorly united themselves to the sacred rites.

He does this through His Sacred Priesthood- those to Whom He Himself gave the command, 

"Take this, all of you, and eat of it, for this is My Body which will be given up for you- do this as a memorial of Me", a sacred rites, through which, according to St. Paul, "you are proclaiming the Lord's death, until He comes".

This brings me to the thought, which I have shared previously, about "the calm" of Final Fantasy X.

When the final summon is made, when the summoner gives his/her life in sacrifice, sin is defeated, the evil monster is chained up once more, and a period of peace is given to the world.

Let's skip the fact that as the plot of FFX develops the whole Yevon religion is revealed to be a sham, but the fact of the matter is, the final summonings did bring calm, and this was because of the self-less courage of the summoners.

Here is the extract from X about The Calm, only watch the first 5 mins, after that it moves on. 

Notice the desire for this Calm that the people have, and the language used, it is the period of peace during which people can raise their families without fear. The calm that parents long for the safety of their children, and children so they can be free from nightmares and sleep peacefully in their beds.

Maybe we need to try and see the Sacrifice of the Mass like this- in attending Holy Mass, in being there at this Have Mercy on us! Have Mercy on us! Grant us peace! The period of calm is ushered in to our lives, it envelops us, we are surrounded in Our Lord's merits mediated through the Holy Sacrifice- the Final Summoning. 

This doesn't mean we won't suffer from illness, it doesn't mean endless prosperity, but neither did the final summoning in X, but what it means is freedom from sin, from the power of the Devil, and for those who are living in the state of grace, the promise of Eternal Calm, of which this present time will just be a foreshadowing.

With these thoughts in mind-- Introeamus ad altare Dei.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Xenogears- Anti God or Anti Demiurge?

There are an increasing number of Xenogears fans out there I think, it's an interesting game, but a game I have never completed.

I reached disc two at least a couple of times but the game is far far from perfect and after beginning as an amazing game, a game which you are thinking is going to be one of the greatest games of all time, unfortunately it gradually and then quickly runs out of steam almost from 3 hours in. 

I really love some of the soundtrack though, it is a masterpiece and the vocals are awesome.

The big problem for Catholics with a lot of JRPGs is their blatant anti Catholicism and their promotion of false anti-God philosophies.

I have traditionally seen Xenogears as anti God in a really really big way...sham religion to control people, 'god' himself is an antagonist, reincarnation, etc etc. 

 but I recently saw a video that made me reconsider this a tiny bit, and the video has some good points. The argument is that the Japanese who are godless and largely propelling to eternal damnation like to use Christian terminology to make their games and stories seem more occidental and strange, often applying names incorrectly and with nothing to do with their original reference points. This is certainly the case in Xenogears in a way perhaps unparalleled. 
And so whilst at the centre of xenogears there is this god thing trying to revive itself by farming and feeding itself humans who it has created, this thing isn't really a god at all, it is a demiurge a being that is itself created and yet has the capacity to create as if it were a god. So a created being posing itself is god is the enemy.

But then there is this wave existence- is this the true God? Obviously not, since how could God get trapped by a demiurge (which seems to have happened in xenogears) the whole stuff about the wave existence in xenogears is just incoherent, an all powerful being from another dimension is somehow trapped in a man made robot demiurge and wants to be set free....

So in xenogears we are not dealing with the true creator of the universe in any of this, we are not fighting uncreated existence, we are not fighting the supremely simple, perfect and holy God, we are not actually fighting the supreme being in any way, nor are we helping him escape from the demiurge. 

Xenogears fails in as much as it does not bring to light to fact that whilst the demiurge Deus is a phony god that is rightly destroyed, there is a true God sustaining all things Who Himself exists without the need of any other, a God Who simply Is and cannot fail to Be, a God without which all things would fall back into nothingness.
Hear are some ideas of altering the plot to make Xenogears more Christian:

1) Wave existence has to go. 
2) the continual reincarnations of elly and fei not true incarnations but vocations given by the true God 
3) Just as the demiurge has his false religion in xenogears through the ethos, the true God too ough to His own religion in the world of Xenogears which is acknowledged by the end of the game to be true.
4) The true God wishes to see the destruction of demiurge through means of humans, as humans created this false god the true God wishes that they destroy it.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Favourite games -v- most re-played games

I have been recently thinking about the games I usually say are my favourite, as in my "top 5 RPGs" or whatever, and thinking about how this list overlaps with the games that I have played again and again.

What I have noticed is the lists don't really overlap.

So, my favourite game and RPG is probably FFVII, but in actual fact, I actually haven't played this game through in maybe 15 years now. Is it really the game that I should say is the "greatest"? Is that really what I think, or am I really saying "the game I have the greatest nostalgia for is FFVII"?

I don't think it is all about nostalgia though, because I only played MGS through for the first time 5 years ago, and I honestly think that that game ranks right up there in my top list of games, and in fact, I have only played it through once.

Is this honest? Do we need to have played a game many times for it to be in our top list? When it comes to films, all the films I like the most will be films I have chosen to watch quite a number of times... but with games, maybe it isn't the case.

Perhaps this is down to the amount of time it takes to complete a game, the investment, compared to a film. But even with my favourite books, I have read them a number of times, though probably not all of them....

And then there is the really weird case of games that sucked hours and hours away from my life, but don't even appear on my tops lists. RPGs that I put way down the list but which I played every last bit of juice from them, and at the time must have really enjoyed them or got something from them.... FFVIII for example- I played that to death over a full year, or Age of Empires, or Street Fighter Alpha 3, or Fifa 97, or Altered Beast, all of these I played loads, more certainly than MGS yet MGS ranks above them for sure in my estimation.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

8-Bit Lent

We should all have a good strategy prepared for the spiritual battle of Lent- things we are going to deny ourselves from eating, extra prayers we are going to say each day, sacrifices in terms of comfort and sacrifices in terms of media.

Lent is serious, it is the badge of being a true Catholic.

Maybe one sacrifice you might make in terms of video games is to give them up completely and to give up all reading up about them. That would be a great offering to the Lord.

Another idea, and something I am going to take up is to reduce myself to only playing 8-Bit games, (and, of course, to abstain from gaming media on YouTube).

8-Bit games certainly can be a bit of a penance, they can train us in patience, in denying immediate excitement and pleasure, and they are very very basic. They are like a bread and water fast in terms of gaming.

Give it a try. 40 days, only 8-Bit, and of course, only games you can play legally,