‘Playing God’, a symposium on religion and video games

The gaming industry has recently surpassed Hollywood both in quantity and in revenues. In 2013 Silicon Valley generated revenues of $ 93 billion, a 17.7% increase on the amount earned in 2012. However, few academics have explored the phenomenon of religion in the world of video gaming. Therefore, on the 17th of October, the NOSTER research group Moving Visions, traditionally focused on the interconnection between film, religion and theology, will host a special symposium on religion and video games: ‘Playing God’.

Can god be found in video games?

Within the emerging field of investigation on the interaction between video gaming and religion, theological inquiries and reflections are not among the popular topics to be discussed. Traditional or ‘classic’ Christian theological topoi like salvation, incarnation, sacrifice and Eschaton are nevertheless easy to be found in modern day video games, like the Mass Effect series, Bioshock, Bioshock: Infinite, Master Reboot, Limbo, Brink, and Fallout 3: New Vegas.

The old narratives of the Christian tradition reappear in new and inventive forms and modes in modern video games. Besides this, the valorisation question is especially interesting in this field. How does the study of theological topoi in games make the world a better place? What would we tell grantors to be their return of investment? A whole field of theological study lies barren, waiting to be discovered.

Programme

During the day, several scholars investigate the narrative and symbolic intertextuallity between the domains of religion and games. Dr Freek Bakker will wrap up the afternoon with some concluding words.

View the full programme.

Registration

The all-in entrance fee is € 15. Registration is required, please fill in the digital form.

From the page of the Faculty of Humanities, Utrecht University

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