World of Warcraft: An Art Form?

As some of you know, I am a player of the game World of Warcraft, some of you are concerned by this, some of you could care less. Anyway, as I was logging into my account today an add came up for WoW: Emergent Media Phenomenon. I was stunned by what I found! The Laguna Art Museum has display of art the actually company in their concept art etc. as well as other contributors.

WoW: Emergent Media Phenomenon explores various forms of cultural production based on World of Warcraft® in particular and on gaming in general. While surveying Warcraft’s Fifteen-year history, the exhibition looks at artistic practices that have been influenced by game culture.

” . . . influenced by game culture.” As a youth pastor I am usually very aware of what is influencing the culture, and despite the fact that I play the game I was completely unaware that MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayered On-line Role Playing Games) were having such a large impact on our pop-culture. I guess it should have been obvious 11+ million people play this game (and that is on the Blizzard paid servers. I’m sure that doesn’t take into account the multitude of free-servers available). I am concerned as a pastor because I see a failing. Here is what I mean, what is the church doing about ‘Game Culture’? What are we doing to influence that culture. I’m sure there are Christians that work for game developers like Blizzard Entertainment. But what is the church at large doing? I’m not saying that people like me should start MMORPG congregations, or anything like that, but we have to ask the question: If online campuses are changing lives, then what kind of effect would a MMORPG campus have?

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11 thoughts on “World of Warcraft: An Art Form?

  1. Steve S. says:

    My thoughts off the top of my head: I have NO IDEA WHAT IN THE WORLD YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT, and I think I represent the “church-at-large” to which you refer. If that is true, this then could refine the question thusly, “Is the Lord leading YOU to do something about this?”

    • supermatt28 says:

      Steve, I appreciate your thoughts, hopefully I will be able to come up with a way to reach this section of our sub-culture.

  2. ztanksley says:

    Steve, if we are going to talk about refining what we say. I think it would be more apt to say you are one representative of the many included in the “church-at-large.” I would hate to think I could hold you solely responsible for the “church-at-large” in both its successes and otherwise.
    Clearing that up, I think Matt is taking the time to simply point out another subgroup of the disenfranchised. We have managed to get to other subgroups “artistes, sk8ters, etc.” The “gamer” subgroup is a group that I would say needs particular attention. They are isolationists who create community while solitary. They live in games where creating fellowship is very difficult. And the MMO world in general does not exactly lend itself to the pursuit of christlikeness, however it doesn’t prevent it either. It is noble to try and reach out to any subgroup. Are we not to preach the gospels to all the nations? Azeroth, and otherwise?

    • supermatt28 says:

      I agree with Zach here, a lot of the people I play WoW with are on there whenever they aren’t sleeping, working or going to school. They have no friends outside of the game, most, some do play with friends from outisde the game, I even know a married couple or two that play together, but ‘Azeroth’ is desperatly in need of the same savior we have here.

  3. Douglas H. Melloy says:

    Ah, the art of war and all it entails! It is the great fiction people play because they believe in the nonsense of good versus evil. It will one day cease to exist on this planet. The only realities that exist forever are love and light. The invader culture mindset soon becomes extinct. Humanity WILL return to living as designed. Watch for all that ends war, greed, and class distinction. Hope you are not a part of what ends forever.

  4. ztanksley says:

    Douglas, I must say. I am confused by most of what you say. I think I get the general point. However I would love to hear an elaboration on your point.

  5. Andy says:

    One thing I have been discovering is that youth, and I am talking about younger than high school very young middle school and even late elementary school, (because that is who I hang around with) need games. I am talking more about interactive games with people. They need to have fun and they need to have fun with adults. They are craving attention and I think the church can have a huge impact on culture if they are willing to interact with youth by playing games with them. I mean more than just youth group. I have a group of kids that stop bye my house everyday wanting to play games, from Uno, to other games. What is more interesting is they want me to play them with them. To make an impact the church needs to be willing to spend time with the youth. I think people, or young adults might be playing MMORPG because they are craving attention, fun, and some time of excitement. What is amazing about paying games, from Wii games, to board games, to computer games is that you build bonds with people and students and are then able to share your life and character with them. If the church did this more with the youth on a regular basis, even daily, then children would see Christ and come to know him. That comment might be way off topic, but I think to make an impact people just need to spend time with other people and maybe it can be done online as well.

  6. Ryan Crundwell says:

    i agree that those of the gamer culture are among the most disenfranchised people in our culture. I think this so because these people have been rejected or ignored by schoolmates, family, etc. So they enter into a world they have a great deal of control over and it contains enough annonymity that they arent afraid to be themselves and such are accepted by other people of similar standing in life. Analysis aside, i think that while they need to be reached just as much as any other people group, they will be harder to reach given that they live their lives vicariously through their fantasy character. Granted they arent all that enmeshed with their fantasy lives, it remains that alot of them are and so the task is not only to show them jesus but to draw them out of seclusion and fantasy into real life. As far as how to do that i dont know. Having been in that world Ive seen how they respond to conversations aboutGod and religion in general. Mostly with skepticism and ridicule and a lot of unanswered questions

    • supermatt28 says:

      Ryan, way to hit a point we’ve all missed (or avoided) we need to connect them with real people in real life as part of our ministry to them, good stuff here!

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