This April was a religion-themed month over at videogame blog The Ontological Geek. I wrote the final article in the series, and mused a little on how concepts of religion, God, and particularly The Holy, can be incorporated into videogames. For perhaps obvious reasons, it’s easy for games to tackle and represent the more mundane sides of religion and faith, but they seem to struggle somewhat when it comes to matters more transcendent. In “Sanctifying Games”, I try to explore why that might be.
If there is one thing astronomy has taught us, it is the realisation that a planet like Earth, with its abundance of life, is incredibly rare in the vastness of the universe. We do know that there are billions of galaxies each containing billions of stars, so it is probable that life is to be found somewhere else in space; yet we are lonely all the same. We could - in a manner of speaking - travel for an eternity in any direction without encountering any sign of life. That overwhelming sense of loneliness on a cosmic scale is what strikes me the most while playing Noctis.
A statement often repeated in discussions of technology, whether within the realm of science fiction (and literary criticism of the genre) or without, is Arthur C. Clarke’s so-called “Third Law”, which states that “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”. The reader may refer to Wikipedia for a bit of background surrounding Clarke’s three laws and possible precedents for the third one mentioned here. While the law obviously makes predictions about the perception of technology in real life, it is equally relevant to fiction, particularly science fiction and fantasy, where magic and/or technology occupy prominent places as plot devices, motifs, etc. […] What interests me in particular are the assumptions lying behind Clarke’s third law, and how the law and its assumptions can help (or hinder) us to understand the interplay between technology and magic as concepts of activity