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Spirituality in Modern Gaming

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Jonathan Han

on 26 November 2013

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Transcript of Spirituality in Modern Gaming

Spirituality in Modern Gaming

What does presence does spirituality have in video games and modern gaming. How has spirituality and video games evolved?
Development of Video Game and Spirituality
Zanarkand is the land of dream, unreachable and mysterious. In the game, you never truly find out if it really exists.
Unlike many of the aspects in this game, this resembles heaven or an afterlife. It exists, but no one knows for certain.
Video Games are a new religion. Hot, trendy, and addicting. It become's a lifestyle, and not just a distraction. It takes away from religion by "injecting thoughts of violence and horror" to the beliefs and morality that religion teaches.
Spirituality becomes "Bad Religion"
But on the Positive Aspect...
"And there are a lot of games where we’re trying to do real work, where players are being empowered to start their own social enterprises, or to teach their neighbors how to start their own community gardens. "
-Jane McGonigal, Video Game Developer
The main enemy is "sin", man's creation that constantly is reborn and kills people.
And to beat it? Sacrifice yourself... imagine Jesus. Give up humanity, where "'sin,' the use of machines, is an almost shameless reference to the eternal and prevalent conflict between science and religion.'"
Spira was the Church in Final Fantasy X-and it was the primary masterminds behind this. This is religion in games, where people brainlessly followed the church.
There is a lot of spirituality in video games.
As Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines spirituality as, "the quality or state of being concerned with religion or religious matters", video games are concerned with religion. Countless of games reference religion, ranging from Final Fantasy to Journey. They bring in moral dilemmas and aspects that directly challenge religion.
Religion has evolved
"Now, religion and spirituality are actually prevalent themes in video games. But they're usually presented in subtle ways, and it's almost always a sort of pantheistic, Secret of Mana-ish sort of thing."
Religion in Final Fantasy
Religious Allusions
Terms in game versus religions:
Leviathan-Biblical (Livyatan)
Behomat-Biblical (Job)
Odin-Nordic God
Shiva-Hindu God
Order of Yevon-Catholic Church
Fall of Spira-Jesus' sacrifice
"The cathartic experience becomes spiritual for players. Chen has received messages thousands of fans who share how the game has changed their life for the better. Many express coping with loss in the family or Post-Taumatic Stress Disorder, through game play that often leaves players in tears. "
No bloodshed or violence, only a journey for a goal.
"[Everyone craves] felling connected and a sense of awe. That's kind what Journey is. We all have a craving for those emotions. It's just a different era, we have to provide the same feeling, but through the medium that people are accustomed too."
Video games is the new medium.
Chen was inspired ideas articulated by Joseph Campbell in The Hero With a Thousand Faces, published in 1949. The book surveys religions worldwide and argues that all religions share a common narrative myth, called the monomyth.
Religion in Journey
So why video games?

By integrating religion into video games, the games become more meaningful and immersed. People can relate and sometimes, for many games, it's a reflection of how we see religion.
How spirituality evolved
Spirituality can't just be religion. It has to keep up with the trends, and gaming is one of them. Gaming is becoming a religion, and in that, the old spirituality merges with the new one. Sure, some text and traditions become things of the past, but what is new is video games that provide another insight and reflection of religion.
"Spirituality." Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 26 Nov. 2013. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spirituality>.
Seth. "Video Games and Spiritual Development, a Preliminary Analysis." Its Elemental RSS. Elemental, 19 June 2013. Web. 26 Nov. 2013.
Spirituality is a factor in all good games; not only does it bring a whole new aspect, it enhances the fantasy and fiction in the game. In fact, something that is noted is how much the character's dilemma and character align with religious aspects. For example, in the Last of Us, Joel chooses to value every single life and saves Ellie, even though he lied to her to save her.
Spirituality and its presence in games
As the gaming research changes, will these religious aspects change? In fact, while both evolve, what will happen? Will orthodox spirituality be lost?

Xbox 1 and PS4 games
higher graphics, more realistic or fantasy and will religion fall out or come back
Future Research
Medina, AC. "Religion in Final Fantasy X." The Escapist. N.p., 1 June 2010. Web. 25 Nov. 2013. <http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/9.198919-Religion-in-Final-Fantasy-X>.
Geraci, Robert M. "Join Academia.edu & Share Your Research with the World." Theological Productions: The Role of Religion in Video Game Design. Theological Productions, 2012. Web. 26 Nov. 2013. <http://www.academia.edu/2591067/Theological_Productions_The_Role_of_Religion_in_Video_Game_Design>.
"Raise Smart Kid." Raise Smart Kid. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Nov. 2013. <http://www.raisesmartkid.com/3-to-6-years-old/4-articles/34-the-good-and-bad-effects-of-video-games>.
McGonial, Jane. "BG 205: Gaming as a Spiritual Practice » Buddhist Geeks." Buddhist Geeks. Buddhist Geeks Podcast, n.d. Web. 26 Nov. 2013. <http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2011/01/bg-205-gaming-as-a-spiritual-practice/>.
Majmudar, Amit. "Video Games and Religion." « Kenyon Review Blog. N.p., 18 Aug. 2013. Web. 26 Nov. 2013. <https://www.kenyonreview.org/2013/08/video-games-and-religion/>.
"Wikia." Final Fantasy Wiki. Wikia, n.d. Web. 26 Nov. 2013. <http://finalfantasy.wikia.com/wiki/Religious_Allusions_in_Final_Fantasy>.
Sabate, Albert. "HOT ON FUSION." Fusion. N.p., 14 Feb. 2013. Web. 26 Nov. 2013. <http://fusion.net/abc_univision/entertainment/story/jenova-chen-spirituality-video-game-journey-18265>.
Ted. "Identity, Spirituality, and Video games." The Religiously Sanctioned CoHabitation Chronicles. N.p., 8 Oct. 2010. Web. 26 Nov. 2013. <http://cohabitationchronicles.wordpress.com/2010/10/08/identity-spirituality-and-video-games/>.
Marchese, Joe. "Editorial: Spirituality and Faith in Video Games." New Gamer Nation. N.p., 7 Nov. 2011. Web. 26 Nov. 2013. <http://www.newgamernation.com/editorial-spirituality-and-faith-in-video-games/>.
Hernandez, Patricia. ""Video Games Are The Next Big Religion"" Kotaku. N.p., 1 Aug. 201. Web. 26 Nov. 2013. <http://kotaku.com/video-games-are-the-next-big-religion-991525452>.
The twist on Templars (religion in video games)
by Jonathan Han
Full transcript