Reverence Podcast Reflection

There were multiple options for games on the table but we ultimately settled on The Binding of Isaac, which turned out to be extremely advantageous for the both of us. Stephen tackled the technical aspects of the podcast from the get-go, which was definitely in our best interest—technology and I have a complex relationship. I started by playing through the game and taking notes on the symbolism I came across and the significance of those symbols. I took and Ancient Mediterranean Studies class last semester and I am currently taking a Biblical Literature class so I was in my element and was able to identify and analyze the abundant religious symbolism in the game. We both roughed out a script together and in the end Stephen finished editing the podcast and we agreed on the final product.

Looking at podcasts that were already produced we wanted to stay within the general outline but we also wanted to add our own twist. That twist happened to be our style of script. Our script was outline because we wanted most of the material to be conversational and question guided. I thought this format made the podcast flow better and allowed us to explore the game more in depth because we didn’t have to work within the confines of the one script. We had our own reactions, our own take, and we were able to include the information that was most intriguing to us.

Our primary goal was to explore how reverence was presented in the Binding of Isaac even though the game is presented in a way that one might think it is mocking religion. We did this mostly through the exploration of symbols in the game so it was imperative that we paid close attention to the story, the drop items, and the characters. By relating the blasphemy rating to the symbols in the game we were able to effectively explore the relationship between reverence and The Binding of Isaac. Sadly we were not able to go as in depth as I would have liked to, there were some conversation topics that got cut out, for example the setting Sheol and the boss battle with Satan. The boss battle is briefly addressed in the podcast but Sheol is never touched upon. This game was so rich in content there was no time to discuss all of it, in fact we barely skimmed the surface in our podcast. If we had more time I would have loved to go deeper into the religious analysis of the game.

This podcast project emphasized Critical Thinking and Reading Resulting in Writing because it required Stephen and I to evaluate the product of another’s ideas and produce our own thoughts and arguments related to it. All in all this podcast was a huge learning experience for me and was extremely fun to create. Please check out the podcast episode Doing Video games with Reverence about The Binding of Isaac here!

isaacwidePhoto Credits: Binding of Isaac Steam

Podcast Reflection

We split the work up so that I did the editing and we did the recording together.  During the note taking process that would guide the discussion of the episode, we discovered that we had completely different interpretations of the games intent with respect to Christianity and religion in general as the result of the our different experiences during our individual playthroughs.  I thought The Binding of Isaac criticized religious zeal as a separate entity from religion itself, while my partner believed that The Binding of Isaac criticized religion itself. Both beliefs about the game were based in our different experiences with the game and the different drop items picked up and the different bosses encountered.

While producing our episode, we knew the first component we wanted to improve on was our introduction of the episode. We made our own title that was separate from the title of the series and was unique to our episode that we introduced in our own intro following the series intro.

On the first day we recorded and as I was going through what we had recorded later that night, I noticed that there was noticeable echo due to the location we had recorded (Chandler Theology Building). We moved to Atwood the next day to find a quiet place that did not echo as badly as Chandler. Having a dedicated place to record would a have removed a number of issues that we had to go back and fix. More knowledge about actually recording the audio and making it sound good with and without editing would have greatly improved the quality of the audio and reduced the time it took to record and rerecord and edit the podcast episode. Despite our deficiencies in technological experience in recording and editing a podcast, I am proud of the quality of the end product.

Doing Video Games with Reverence

Stephen Black and Max Faass explore The Binding of Isaac by Edmund McMillan. The Binding of Isaac is a 2011 Indie 2D dungeon crawler that portrays a modified version of the the biblical story of the same name. After Isaac’s mother hears a message from God commanding her to sacrifice her son as proof of her faith, Isaac flees into the horror-ridden basement to survive.

Background Music: The Binding of Isaac Menu Music (recorded by ourselves)