Tuesday, January 27, 2015

God And Games - Part 1: Reflections on a Broken Mirror

When I delve down the rabbit hole of philosophy, there are a few games I always think about. These 'Xeno' games share many of the same developers, who are well known for creating science fiction stories laced with heavy influences from western judo-christian religion.

This series of posts will be a spoiler free reflection on each game and my take on its philosophical themes. I'd only recommend reading this if you have an open mind when discussing philosophy and religion, and the same goes if you plan to play and fully enjoy these games.

 Religion and the idea of God have been stained by so much blood and pain throughout our history, it can be hard to look underneath it all and see the reality of our journey with the concept, which is why I truly love games like this. They encourage you to think objectively, and attempt to understand anew through the eyes of fictional characters.

As a young man living in the bible belt, I grew up with a thirst for answers the religions surrounding me could never provide. I bought this game shortly after I began my career in computer technology. As, I played, the story seemed to weave together the broken threads dangling in my heart and mind of the nature of man, machines and God.

Though it contains one of the most intricate creation myths ever fabricated, at its heart, Xenogears is a love story.  At first glance, a love story of just two people, but more deeply, a story of how creating connections through love can create meaning in a world where finding meaning seems impossible; a world where we must shatter the reality of everything we once believed in order to truly see the world as it really is.

The overall theme of the game and especially the songs, Star of Tears and Small Two of Pieces, from the game's soundtrack, seem to echo inspiration from mankind's own journey with the concept of God. The characters eventually learn the true nature of the God of their world, and must come to terms with that reality in order to save the lives and the planet of those they love.

 As for our own journey as I see it so far, we met God in the mist of morning, in our infancy as a species, creating a reflection of our own image to place our hopes and dreams in. As we discovered the darkest waters of space and our unfathomable loneliness in its deep, unending night, we began to part ways. God was silent as we looked down at the world, peaceful and still from afar. We realized that even if we believed God could possibly meet us halfway, he was still farther away than we could ever imagine.

Many of us are not sure where our journey with God can go from here, though our hearts still long to find God and to find meaning in our existence. At the edge of this dark water, we are left with the broken sword of spirit, the shattered shield of faith and tears of God that never fell, but will always run through our own hearts, for better or worse.

As we grow and change, as does our reflection.  A broken mirror is considered a horrible omen, but it’s the most honest reflection of ourselves, our universe, but most especially, our God we will ever see. God has never really died. He has only been shattered. We just pick up the pieces and create the reflection anew, as has been done throughout the history of civilization.

That reflection may echo who we are at this moment in time, but no matter how hard some try to solidify this reflection, cracks will appear and eventually, new generations will once again try to repair their own shattered souls with the pieces left behind by our ancestors.

Thank you for reading and I hope you look forward to the rest of this series!

Coming soon...
Part 2 - Escaping Eternity (Xenosaga)
Part 3 - Embracing the Future (Xenoblade Chronicles)