Safe Haven — Alan Wake

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Follow the light. You are hurt, you should go into the light. You are only safe there…

I entered your dream to teach you. The darkness is dangerous. It’s sleeping now. When it feels you coming, it will wake up. There’s no time, I can only show you the most important thing… Only light can drive the darkness away and make [the Taken enemy] vulnerable again.

– Mysterious voice in Alan Wake

We cannot hold a torch to light another’s path without brightening our own.

Ben Sweetland

For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light!

Ephesians 5:8 (NLT)

Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Acts 2:46-47 (NIV)

If you did not see the various gaming news articles this week, due to expiring music licensing agreements, the thriller game Alan Wake is no longer available to buy as of last Tuesday. If you were one of the lucky ones that could pick up this game, you possess one of the best narratives in an indie game in this decade. Inspired by Stephen King, this game follows the fictional writer Alan Wake on his vacation turned nightmare.

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Plans and Preparation – Multiple Games

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2017-04-28 17.53.56

God’s plans will always be greater and more beautiful than all your disappointments

– Anonymous

There are many plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s plan that will stand.

– Proverbs 19:21 (NLV)

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.

– Proverbs 16:9 (NIV)

This past week, I drove past this sign outside a local church every day to and from work. I thought a few times about posting a picture of it to Facebook with the caption “What is wrong with this image?” for some fake Internet points. I felt the sign was preposterous in thinking we can plan what God will do.

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Constants and Variables – BioShock Infinite

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Note: The following article contains minor spoilers for BioShock Infinite.

The Lutece-coin section was significant to show that they [the Lutece twins] were testing the constants and variables. Each Booker flipped heads at that point every time. It was a constant. But when you pick the brooch for Elizabeth, they remake [sic] that they thought you would pick the other, a variable. They were likely trying to use those decisions in their quantum calculations or if this Booker would be successful.

– Ben Cobb on Cracked.com discussing BioShock Infinite

Warning: the following video has 2 loud screams at around 35 seconds.

Robert Lutece: The only difference between past and present…

Rosalind Lutece: …is semantics.

Robert: Lives, lived, will live.

Rosalind: Dies, died, will die.

Robert: If we could perceive time as it truly was…

Rosalind: …what reason would grammar professors have to get out of bed?

Graveyard scene from BioShock Infinite

I believe God is managing affairs and that He doesn’t need any advice from me. With God in charge, I believe everything will work out for the best in the end. So what is there to worry about.

– Henry Ford

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.

Jeremiah 11-13 (NLT)

I heard a loud voice coming from heaven. It said, “See! God’s home is with men. He will live with them. They will be His people. God Himself will be with them. He will be their God. God will take away all their tears. There will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All the old things have passed away.” Then the One sitting on the throne said, “See! I am making all things new. Write, for these words are true and faithful.” Then He said to me, “These things have happened! I am the First and the Last. I am the beginning and the end. To anyone who is thirsty, I will give the water of life. It is a free gift.”

Revelations 21:3-6 (NLV)

Lately, there is a repetitive theme when people seriously talk about how they feel: they believe that the world seems to be getting worse and worse. And for some, their life in particular is taking a nosedive right now. Between the world on the brink of World War 3 and a company trying to force one of my friends out of their job, it seems like we are on a highway to destruction. Life seems to be random events of evil and there is nothing that we can do to stop it. We see that we have little control over our own future and have even less control over the fate of the world. In a world full of unpredictable variables, what is something reliable that we can depend on? In a world that is on a consistent downturn, is there anything we can change?

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Ordinary Training for Extraordinary Calling – Portal

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Portal is effectively an extended player training exercise.

Robin Walker in the commentary track of Portal

The [early Portal] game was limited, constructed to very carefully give a limited set of solutions within designed parameters to the player. The genius of Portal was that it subtly acknowledged and played with this concept. You can’t say ‘this is a controlled environment’ much more directly than placing players in minimalist ‘test chambers’ with limited resources outlined by infographics and light trails. So when towards the end you find yourself on the highway to hell and spot a way out, the huge and immediate visual change between environments, pacing, tone and puzzle style tell you powerfully that you’re not in Kansas any more.

– Stefan Barton-Ross on “Make a Game of That

It never failed to amaze me how the most ordinary day could be catapulted into the extraordinary in the blink of an eye.

– Jodi Picoult in Handle with Care

But David persisted. “I have been taking care of my father’s sheep and goats,” he said. “When a lion or a bear comes to steal a lamb from the flock, I go after it with a club and rescue the lamb from its mouth. If the animal turns on me, I catch it by the jaw and club it to death. I have done this to both lions and bears, and I’ll do it to this pagan Philistine, too, for he has defied the armies of the living God! The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine!”

Saul finally consented. “All right, go ahead,” he said. “And may the Lord be with you!”

 – 1 Samuel 17:34 – 37 (NLT)

God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

James 1:12 (NLT)

What if we built a rat maze for an ordinary person? Portal takes this idea and runs with it. The game starts with the normal Chell waking up in a pristine, doctor-waiting-room-like area. She is instructed by GlaDOS to then find her way through multiple bland-looking training rooms solving increasingly harder puzzles to get to the end, where there will be “cake” instead of cheese. (The cake may or may not be a lie.)

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Going Rogue – Part 1: Empathetic Love

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Achilles Davenport: “You have no idea what you’re doing. The future of the whole continent, maybe the whole world, is tied up in that Manuscript.”

Shay Cormac: “Perhaps. But we don’t have the right to decide that future.”

Achilles: “The right? We have the responsibility!”

Shay: “We are responsible for killing innocents and destroying cities! This mad grab for power. It ends now.”

Assassin’s Creed: Rogue

“People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

“If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.” – 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (NLT)

I have a confession to make: I am not an empathetic person. I have a hard time putting myself in the shoes of others and feeling what they are feeling. I can come off as cold and disconnected at times. Even why I’m volunteering and helping others throughout my day, I can forget that I’m helping actual people and that it isn’t a project. I’m not exactly sure why: could be my genetics, my upbringing, or the constant flow of disasters that parade themselves across the internet and TV every night.

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Apathetic Death

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Apathy is death!” – Kreia in Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords

“Science may have found a cure for most evils; but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all – the apathy of human beings.” – Helen Keller

“So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” – Revelation 3:16 (NIV)

Three short years ago, I was finishing up my freshman year in college. During that year, a few of the seniors wrote similar words of advice that we read. Josh Calhorn wrote The one article that affected me the most.

Josh said that he saw at HU what I have seen in the past three years: of those that survive not dropping out of HU, there are many more that live a living death: apathy. They go to class, have fun, but do not give a care about the world. Like Helen Keller, I believe that this lack of passion is the worst of all sicknesses: even Jesus throws up at the sight of it. A person without passion has no vision or goals; without goals, a person lives their life aimlessly.

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United Specialists

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Note: I wrote this blog post directed specifically towards college students on Livingston dorm in Huntington University. However, anyone can apply it to “surviving” life in general.

“I’m gathering specialists for a mission. It’s not going to be easy: the chances for survival are slim.” – Commander Shepard in Mass Effect 2 after being resurrected by the Lazarus Project

“As students across the country prepare to start their freshman year of college, more than 40% of them will not graduate within 6 years.” – American Institutes for Research

“Jesus went up on a mountainside. He called for certain people to come to him, and they came. He appointed 12 of them and called them apostles. From that time on they would be with him. He would also send them out to preach.” – Mark 3:13-14 (NIrV)

 If you have not figured it out by now: college is hard. Yes, college is a blast, but it is also tough. That is because half of Huntington University‘s mission is to push you to develop at least one of your natural talents into a “specialty.”

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Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars: Blog Post from “Plans and Plans”: “A World Without Wishes”

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Great blog post on nvrmetnapoleon’s blog “Plans and Plans” about the video game Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars: “A World Without Wishes.” This blog post is very similar to my blog’s content.

Last month I spent a fair amount of time parked in front of my TV with a controller in hand. Now, this controller had significantly fewer buttons than most of those new-fangled XCUBE and Gamestation 3 controllers have. That’s because it was a Super Nintendo I was playing. Read More

Mario RPG

The Local Oil Spill – SimTown

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Note: I will start to only put out analysis blogs every other week starting now, due to my life getting busier with going back to college.

SimTown Environmental Tools“The main objective of Simtown Game [sic] is to keep the citizens happy by ensuring the right water supply, trees, environment, recycling program and proper funds.” – Aditi on Older Gamez

“A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.” – Proverbs 12:10 (NIV)

“And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying:
‘We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty,
the One who is and who was,
because you have taken your great power
and have begun to reign.
The nations were angry; and your wrath has come.
The time has come for judging the dead,
and for rewarding your servants the prophets
and your saints and those who reverence your name,
both small and great—
and for destroying those who destroy the earth.'” – Revelations 11:16-18 (NIV)

The week after July 4, my family went to Lake City, Michigan on vacation. It was wonderful to take some time away from technology to rest and appreciate nature.  We went jet skiing, swimming, fishing, jogging, read books, and played board and card games. We saw many trees, lily-pads, seaweeds, snails, and other aspects of nature. However, there was something missing this time: we saw only a few fish in the lake. Continue reading

Work Together – Protector IV: Mercenary

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“The [Protector] world is simply brimming with possible heroic candidates. Each hero has their own statistics and commands 2 types of units. . . They can be equipped with up to 3 powerful items. They also have their own set of skills which you can increase. . .

Your character has various different skills that can be increases at the cost of expeirence (sic) points. These all improve various different things. . .

The Kingdom of Arkandia is a fascinating place filled with different factions all seeking more power and to expand their influence.” – from the “Protectorpedia” for Protector IV: Mercenary

“And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?” – Paul in 1 Corinthians 12:28-30 (NIV)

If you cannot tell, I love video games. My favorite games are simple to understand and play, but have many layers of complexity. I also love stuff that is free. Running on a college budget without a steady job makes me scrutinize every dollar I spend. I was surprised a few weeks ago to find a game that was both free and simple to play, but complex: Protector IV: Mercenary. Continue reading