Halos and Avatars: Playing Video Games with God

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Overview

Craig Detweiler's collection of up-to-the-minute essays on video games' theological themes (and yes, they do exist!) is an engaging and provocative book for gamers, parents, pastors, media scholars, and theologians--virtually anyone who has dared to consider the ramifications of modern society's obsession with video games and online media. Together, these essays take on an exploding genre in popular culture and interpret it through a refreshing and enlightening philosophical ...

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Halos and Avatars

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Overview

Craig Detweiler's collection of up-to-the-minute essays on video games' theological themes (and yes, they do exist!) is an engaging and provocative book for gamers, parents, pastors, media scholars, and theologians--virtually anyone who has dared to consider the ramifications of modern society's obsession with video games and online media. Together, these essays take on an exploding genre in popular culture and interpret it through a refreshing and enlightening philosophical lens.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Rather than write off as childish one of the most influential popular culture phenomena ever, Detweiler (Into the Dark: Seeing the Sacred in the Top Films of the 21st Century) assembles a savvy group of experts to explore the spiritual and theological implications of video gaming. Those not familiar with the contemporary scene will be amazed to discover how far video games have evolved since the days of Pac Man and Space Invaders. Video games, as a number of these scholars point out, have integrated a narrative aspect that is fascinating and complexÂ--the characters have literally become three-dimensional. Some of the other important issues raised include the power of gaming to build virtual communities, the ways games can help children develop virtues, and the myriad ways religion is portrayed. Especially compelling is an examination of how Muslims are characterized in games. These essayists are fans who lovingly approach and reproach video games, and they earnestly hope that all who pick up a joystick will reflect on the spiritual possibilities. (Feb.)

--Publishers Weekly, January 11, 2010

"Every parent, every gamer, every pastor needs to get Craig Detweiler's superb collection of essays ASAP. Your ability to connect to a digital culture depends on it." Leonard Sweet, Professor of Evangelism at Drew Theological School in Madison, New Jersey; and Visiting Distinguished Professor at George Fox University in Portland, Oregon

"Detweiler moves beyond the tired debate of whether video games are good or evil, probing a deeper, more interesting question: Where is God in the world of games?" David Thomas, author of "Video Game Reviews," distributed by King Features Syndicate. He teaches critical video game theory at the University of Colorado, Denver.

"Detweiler and company add gaming to the growing field of religion and media studies. This ground-breaking book includes spirituality, ethics, and theology in an analytic toolkit designed for parents and players as well as scholars and seekers." Diane Winston, Knight Chair in Media and Religion at the USC Annenberg School for Communication

"As humanity becomes increasingly enmeshed with the interactive and the digital, we will need our spirit guides. Read this book to develop a balanced and informed sense of the way that the Spirit and the Game are starting to interact." Edward Castronova, Associate Professor and Director of the Synthetic Worlds Initiative at Indiana University,and cofounder of terranova.blogs.com

Publishers Weekly
Rather than write off as childish one of the most influential popular culture phenomena ever, Detweiler (Into the Dark: Seeing the Sacred in the Top Films of the 21st Century) assembles a savvy group of experts to explore the spiritual and theological implications of video gaming. Those not familiar with the contemporary scene will be amazed to discover how far video games have evolved since the days of Pac Man and Space Invaders. Video games, as a number of these scholars point out, have integrated a narrative aspect that is fascinating and complex—the characters have literally become three-dimensional. Some of the other important issues raised include the power of gaming to build virtual communities, the ways games can help children develop virtues, and the myriad ways religion is portrayed. Especially compelling is an examination of how Muslims are characterized in games. These essayists are fans who lovingly approach and reproach video games, and they earnestly hope that all who pick up a joystick will reflect on the spiritual possibilities. (Feb.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780664232771
  • Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press
  • Publication date: 1/25/2010
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author


Craig Detweiler is Associate Professor of Theology and Culture and Director of the Reel Spirituality Institute at the Brehm Center for Worship, Theology and the Arts at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. He is also the author of Into the Dark: Seeing the Sacred in the Top Films of the 21st Century and coauthor (with Barry Taylor) of A Matrix of Meanings: Finding God in Pop Culture.
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Table of Contents

Introduction: Halos and Avatars Craig Detweiler 1

Section 1 Playing Games with God

1 From Tekken to Kill Bill: The Future of Narrative Storytelling? Chris Hansen 19

2 Ultima IV: Simulating the Religious Quest Mark Hayse 34

3 The Play Is the Thing: Interactivity from Bible Fights to Passions of the Christ Rachel Wagner 47

4 Islamogaming: Digital Dignity via Alternative Storytellers Heidi Campbell 63

5 Wii Are Inspirited: The Transformation of Home Video Consoles (and Us) Kutter Callaway 75

Section 2 Halos

6 Myst and Halo: A Conversation with Rand Miller and Marty O'Donnell Lisa Swain 91

7 Madden Rules: Sports and the Future of Competitive Video Games Matthew Kitchen 108

8 Poets, Posers, and Guitar Heroes: Virtual Art for a Virtual Age Andrew McAlpine 121

9 Bio Shock to the System: Smart Choices in Video Games Kevin Newgren 135

Section 3 Avatars

10 'Til Disconnection Do We Part: The Initiation and Wedding Rite in Second Life Jason Shim 149

11 Role Playing: Toward a Theology for Gamers Daniel White Hodge 163

12 Cybersociality: Connecting Fun to the Play of God John W. Morehead 176

Conclusion: Born to Play Craig Detweiler 190

Appendix: Beyond "Turn that Thing Off! " Elevating the Gaming Conversation between Parents & Kids Kara Powell Brad M. Griffin 197

Notes 209

List of Contributors 231

Index 235

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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2014

    Sam

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    Posted October 22, 2014

    Super cute go sam go sam. Sowwy for interupting i will leave now

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    Lila

    Omg babe ur on i love you so much i thought u forgot about me

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    Sam

    Soo.... what now?

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