Although it apparently caused great furor, Chain World was news to me when I read the article “Chain World Videogame Was Supposed to be a Religion—Not a Holy War” on Wired.com last night.
There’s no sense recapitulating the article’s contents here (read it!), but as the very briefest summary, it concerns Jason Rohrer—designer of the mind-blowing and enigmatic Passage, which I’ve written about here at Gameplaywright before—and his game design Chain World, which is expressed in the form of a religion.
God knows what the game itself is even about. (Well, God and about a half-dozen other people.) But the story of both Chain World‘s creation and distribution is enthralling. And then there’s the premise at the bottom of it—the idea of intentionally blurring the lines between game and religion.
My very favorite short story, “The Inner Inner City,” is also about an artist’s attempt to fabricate a religion, and what goes wrong. (You’ll find the story in Robert Charles Wilson’s collection The Perseids and Other Stories [dead tree edition] [Kindle edition], originally recommended to me by Ken Hite. Read it. Great stuff.)