Arts & Leisure

The real virtue of virtual empathy

A recent student project at the University of Southern California is using virtual war in an unfamiliar way.  Rather than glory in combat and explosions, like many blockbuster video games, this program aims to use an immersive recreation of the Syrian civil war to educate players about the experience of…  [more]

The vain voluntourism of Far Cry 4

The first time I visited a third-world country on a mission trip, I took lots of pictures of poverty - of parents, their children and their dilapidated homes. I did so not out of concern, but because what I saw was shocking to my middle-class sensibilities. It wasn't until much…  [more]

Shadow of Mordor and the limits of video-game fun

I have been a J.R.R. Tolkien fanatic since I first read The Lord of the Rings in fifth grade. Aside from the Bible, I’ve read that series more than any other book. I’ve also sampled a fair number of video games based on Tolkien’s Middle-earth, most of which have been…  [more]

Destiny: a video game blind to its own beauty

We live in a beautiful world, one we long to explore so that we might revel in its wonders. Unfortunately, our world is subject to frustration. While the heavens declare the glory of God and the sky proclaims His handiwork, both are difficult to see given the brokenness in our…  [more]

A parent’s praise for Stampylonghead

Last winter, my 6-year-old begged me to bake him a cake decorated with his favorite Minecraft-playing YouTuber, Stampylonghead (aka Stampycat, Stampylongnose, Mr. Stampy Cat and Stampy). Fredrik wanted this cake - not to eat - but so we could take a picture and send it along to Stampycat himself, all…  [more]

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