Over at Awkward Asian Theologian, my friend Matthew Tan links to a book review he wrote recently on Frank G. Bosman’s Gaming and the Divine for Humanum Review.
Tan, Matthew John Paul. “Playing for Eternity.” Humanum Review, no. 2. (2022): np. https://humanumreview.com/articles/playing-for-eternity.
In it, Tan comments on how gaming connects in many ways to the transcendent – both in experience and in how all things, including human creations, sacramentally bear the imprint of God.
Games nonetheless render something more than mere entertainment, which keeps consumers returning again and again to the console. The stretching of reality, the visceral high drama and sometimes sensory overload into which players are thrust suggests that the appeal lies in an experience that transcends the mundane. For Bosman, games can pull the player out of his mundane context and put him in touch with the sublime, something so incomparably great that it extends beyond the range of what our avatars could deliver, and what players can comprehend.Tan. “Playing for Eternity.” Humanum Review, no. 2. (2022)
Tan notes several other authors and edited collections writing in this area, both theologically and generally concerning religion. I’ve included those and some others below. And in a shameless plug for something I’ve written on video games, transcendence, and pilgrimage, I’ve noted that below too.
- Garner, Stephen. “Sacred Pilgrimage in Playful, Digital Spaces.” In Sports and Play in Christian Theology, edited by John Tucker and Philip Halstead, 93-108. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books/Fortress Academic, 2020.
Books mentioned by Tan:
- Hugo Rahner – Man at Play (2019)
- David L. Miller – Gods and Games (2019)
- D. Brent Laytham – iPod, YouTube, Wii Play (2012)
- Kevin Schut – Of Gods and Games (2013)
To these books I’d add the following:
- William Sims Bainbridge – eGods : Faith Versus Fantasy in Computer Gaming (2013)
- Craig Detweiler – Halos and Avatars : Playing Video Games with God (2010)
- Heidi Campbell and Gregory P. Grieve – Playing with Religion in Digital Games (2014)
- Liel Leibovitz – God in the Machine : Video Games as Spiritual Pursuit (2013)
- Rachel Wagner – Godwired : Religion, Ritual, and Virtual Reality (2012)
Also, the journal below has some good material on religion and digital gaming:
- gamenvironments – https://journals.suub.uni-bremen.de/index.php/gamevironments/