K. Cox has been ruminating about death in video games. It got me thinking about Chain World, the introduction of which, by its designer Jason Rohrer, is below
Simply put, the Chain World idea is: Play a game of Minecraft (modded somehow). When you die, pass the game (on a USB stick) to someone else. Tell them nothing about what you were doing.
This idea gives death in a video game a real meaning, and creates mystery and history and anticipation. A brilliant idea.
But things took a strange turn. Or maybe it wasn’t strange, considering the topic of the game, which was to create a game about religion. The person Jason gave the game to, in the above video, decided to use the game as a charity fundraiser. There’s lots more weird tidbits, such as this: He made a video which purports to show him throwing the stick into a lava pit. Wired Magazine calls the whole mess a holy war, which I think is apt.
“This was totally not something I would have wanted to happen at all,” Rohrer says. “On the other hand, it’s interesting that [Ji] would take something that I had done and irritate me with it.” If religion is about customs and rituals, not sacred text, Ji was a gift to Chain World, enriching it beyond the means of its creator.
Art imitates life, but not in the way you think.