Podcast: Bard & Bible

Lately, I’ve been listening to Bard & Bible, a newer podcast by Mike Perna of InnRoads Ministries. I don’t know much about Mike’s background other than he went to seminary (I believe Dallas Theological Seminary…correct me if I’m wrong).

After listening to a few episodes of Bard & Bible, I must say, Mike is a talented story teller with a mind for taking theological concepts and making them accessible to everyone. I was highly impressed with the narrative of the podcasts and the way Mike brings in the theological.

This has quickly become one of my favorite podcasts!. I can’t wait for more. I highly recommend Bard & Bible.

If your interested in what InnRoads Ministries is doing and hanging out with a great group of board games, check out The Tavern on Facebook.

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The New Plan

With the start of the new year, I’m looking for ways to help myself relax after a long day of work and dealing with the kids. To do this, I am going to be writing again. I’m looking at doing one to two posts per week initially to see how things go. The topics of my posts will still center on the intersection of faith and pop culture. I’ll be writing about books, gaming, movies and tv. Join me on my new adventure.


Friday Review: Betrayal at House on the Hill

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One of my Christmas presents this year was the game Betrayal at House on the Hill. This was one of the games I had wanted since I first saw it on TableTop (part 2 can be found here). Basically this is a horror movie in game format!

The premise of Betrayal at House on the Hill is simple; a group of people explore an abandoned house until a haunt is uncovered. At this time, one of the players betrays the rest of the group and the game dynamics change from cooperative to competitive. The haunts are determined randomly based on the room and omen card that triggers the haunt. When the haunt is triggered, the traitor is given a book full of haunts where they are told the rules and objectives of the particular haunt being played. The traitor then leaves the room to read their haunt. The remaining players have a similar that explains their objectives.

This is a dynamic game that changes each time it is played. At the start of the game, players have access to the Entrance, Foyer, starts to the second floor and the second floor landing. There is a basement, but that comes into play later. As players move throughout the house, additional rooms are discovered. Rooms can affect players stats as well as provided Items, Events, or Omens.

The replay value for this game is very high, with 50 different haunts. A game takes a little over an hour to play (it took a little longer to play the first time as we had to reference the rule book a little more). I’ve not read too much into either of the books that explain the different haunts as I don’t want to ruin future games.

Christians may not find this game is for them. There are overt references to demons, phantoms, witchcraft, phantoms, etc. (In the two games we’ve played, we’ve had a werewolf and a phantom). For those who are bothered by this kind of theme, this may not be a game to buy. If you’re not bothered by it, this game is a must buy!


A Major Announcement

After (not so) quietly watching from the sidelines for the last few years, I’ve come to the realization that 90% of people who comment of pop culture and faith are (loudly) blowing hot air out of their ass. The 10% who actually know what they are talking about are not loud enough to combat the drivel coming from the rest. Beginning in January, I am going to throw my voice back into the ongoing conversation. Articles will be posted on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, with Fridays being a review day. Feel free to join the conversation!


Video Lecture on “The Hunger Games”

Saw this come across my RSS reader today and thought it looked interesting.

How does the story of Katniss Everdeen – the District 12 tribute, the Girl on Fire, the Mockingjay — fit into the genre tradition? Join award-winning scholar Amy H. Sturgis as she discusses The Hunger Games (both in book and film form) as science fiction.

The lecture will consist of four sections followed by a live Q&A session.

PART 1: MYTHOLOGICAL UNDERPINNINGS
Where did Panem get its name? Is The Hunger Games missing a Minotaur? Like many authors of science fiction, Suzanne Collins built her fictional universe on the foundations of classical myths and the civilizations that game them life. This section will explore the history and legends that inspiredThe Hunger Games.

PART 2: FUTURISTIC SCIENCE
What debt do the tracker jackers and mockingjays owe H.G. Wells? In the world of The Hunger Games, some human citizens of the Capitol alter themselves to resemble animals, while others alter animals to serve as agents of spy craft, torture, and execution. Genetic engineering, body modification, and the unintended consequences that occur when the natural and the human-made mix: we will trace the lineage of such concepts back to their roots in the modern beginnings of science fiction.

INTERMISSION

PART 3: POST-APOCALYPTIC LANDSCAPES AND DYSTOPIAN NIGHTMARES
The Hunger Games depicts a post-war, post-apocalyptic landscape just familiar enough to seem real – so real, in fact, that many fans have used the clues from the novels and film to construct maps of its borders. Its dystopian elements, from constant surveillance to propaganda wars, may also feel rather close to home for contemporary audiences. This section will fit The Hunger Games into the larger context of science fictional worlds gone wrong, drawing connections between Suzanne Collins and her predecessors, including Mary Shelley herself.

PART 4: YOUNG ADULT HEROES/HEROINES IN SCIENCE FICTION
Many reviews laud Katniss Everdeen as a new kind of heroine. But is she? Or is she simply the newest and best incarnation of a kind of young protagonist that science fiction has been celebrating for generations? We’ll identify some of the key ancestors of Katniss and consider how she puts a new spin on a classic genre convention.

You can register for the lecture here.

Only drawback, the lecture is not free…

HT: SF Signal


Brightest Day Reading Order

With Blackest Night behind me, I look toward Brightest Day. This time, I’m sticking to essential books and leaving the tie-ins alone. Here is the reading order I will be following:

Brightest Day #0 √
Green Lantern #53 √
Green Lantern Corps #48 √
Brightest Day #1 √
Green Lantern #54-55 √
Green Lantern – Emerald Warriors #1 √
Brightest Day #2-3 √
Green Lantern Corps #49-52 √
Brightest Day #4-8 √
Birds of Prey #1-5 √
Brightest Day #9-12 √
Green Lantern – Emerald Warriors #2-3 √
Green Lantern #56-58 √
Brightest Day #13-14 √
Green Lantern #59 √
Green Lantern – Emerald Warriors #4 √
Green Lantern Corps #53-54 √
Green Lantern #60 √
Green Lantern – Emerald Warriors #5 √
Green Lantern Corps #55 √
Brightest Day #15-17 √
Green Lantern Corps #56-57 √
Green Lantern – Emerald Warriors #6-7 √
Green Lantern #61-62 √
Brightest Day #18-24

Updated to include Birds of Prey #1-5.

For the purists out there, here’s the reading order with all the tie-ins:

Brightest Day #0
Justice League – Generation Lost #1-2
Green Lantern #53
Green Lantern Corps #48
Brightest Day #1
Green Lantern #54-55
Green Lantern – Emerald Warriors #1
Brightest Day #2-3
Green Lantern Corps #49-52
Justice League of America #44-45
Titans – Villains for Hire Special #1
Justice League of America #46
Justice Society of America #41
Brightest Day #4-5
Brightest Day – The Atom Special #1
Flash #1-4
Justice League of America #47
Justice Society of America #42
Titans #24-25
Green Arrow #1-3
Brightest Day #6-8
Birds of Prey #1-5
Justice League – Generation Lost #3-6
Flash #5
Justice League of America #48
Justice League – Generation Lost #7
Justice Society of America #43
Flash #6
Justice League – Generation Lost #8-9
Brightest Day #9
Green Arrow #4
Brightest Day #10
Untold Tales of Blackest Night #1
Brightest Day #11-12
Green Arrow #5-7
Justice League – Generation Lost #10-14
Titans #26-28
Justice League – Generation Lost #15-16
Green Lantern – Emerald Warriors #2-3
Green Lantern #56-58
Justice League – Generation Lost #17-20
Brightest Day #13-14
Justice League – Generation Lost #21-24
Green Lantern #59
Green Lantern – Emerald Warriors #4
Green Lantern Corps #53-54
Brightest Day #15-17
The Flash #7
Brightest Day #18
Green Lantern #60-62
Green Lantern – Emerald Warriors #5
Green Lantern Corps #55
Green Lantern – Emerald Warriors #6
Green Lantern Corps #56
Brightest Day #19-21
Green Arrow #8-10
Green Lantern Corps #57
Brightest Day #22
Green Arrow #11
Brightest Day #23-24
Green Arrow #12
Brightest Day Aftermath – The Search #1-3


App Review: Babel Rising

Yesterday, Rod posted about Babel Rising, an Android App that let’s you play God. So, I had to give it a try.

Play God Almighty in Babel Rising 3D to prevent the Babylonians from building the famous Babel tower. Unleash your wrath and mortify these arrogant humans with your divine powers. Summon bolts of lightning, massive earthquakes, meteor showers or vengeful floods upon the Babylonians: The perfect apocalyptic arsenal.

Your divine intervention will be crucial to resist to the numerous waves of miscreant builders, blasphemer priests or damned urn carriers! Rely on tactics and strategy to achieve the solo campaign and endure an epic survival mode.
There will be no mercy!

The premise of the game is fairly simple, kill the workers and priests as they try to build the tower.

Here’s some video of the app in action.

There are two game modes: Survival and Campaign. After each level, you are awarded coins to buy more levels or upgrade powers. Coins are based off of a number of variables. In survival mode, time and kills seem to be the largest factors. Campaign mode gives a bonus for the first time you successfully complete the level.

The game is fairly repetitive, even in campaign mode. It might hold my attention for 10-15 minutes at a time, but then I get bored playing. There’s very little replay value…other than to level up your powers.

And then there’s the bad theology. Lets take a look at the Babel story from Genesis 11:1-9.

All people on the earth had one language and the same words. When they traveled east, they found a valley in the land of Shinar and settled there. They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them hard.” They used bricks for stones and asphalt for mortar. They said, “Come, let’s build for ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the sky, and let’s make a name for ourselves so that we won’t be dispersed over all the earth.”

Then the Lord came down to see the city and the tower that the humans built. And the Lord said, “There is now one people and they all have one language. This is what they have begun to do, and now all that they plan to do will be possible for them. Come, let’s go down and mix up their language there so they won’t understand each other’s language.” Then the Lorddispersed them from there over all of the earth, and they stopped building the city. Therefore, it is named Babel, because there the Lord mixed up the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord dispersed them over all the earth. (CEB)

Notice what is present in the game that is missing from the story? That’s right, God killing the Babylonians for attempting to build the tower. In fact, this story of the Tower of Babel is more an ANE explanation as to the reason for different languages than a story about God’s wrath.

This is just the latest of games based off of bad theology.  Guess good theology doesn’t make for good games.


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