Gaming meets its maker: Flower used in interactive church service

flower church

Sing hallelujah for Exeter Cathedral. The 700-year-old Devonian church made history recently by holding a service that used PS3 game Flower as an interactive tool. Editor of Game People Andy Robertson (AKA Wired’s GeekDad) facilitated the event, and proved that videogames and church make for a surprisingly effective mix.

The strange combination held lots of possibilities for Robertson. “I gave a talk this year on perspectives on videogames, and some of the clergy from Exeter Cathedral were there,” he explains. “Afterwards, we got talking about how they might use a game in their service. Flower is a good fit with the creation theme.”

Projected on to the wall above the congregation, churchgoers were encouraged to play. “The sound was fed into the amplification system,” Robertson explains. “The congregation took turns playing the game. I’d expected the use of a videogame in the faith context to feel a little odd and unusual – maybe even a bit forced – but it felt quite natural. The tranquil feel worked beautifully with the theme of the service.”

Jenova Chen, creative director at Flower dev ThatGameCompany, tweeted enthusiastically before and after the event. Currently playable at the Smithsonian Art Gallery in Washington, the PSN offering now seems perfectly at home in a church environment, too. Is there nothing it can’t do?

Robertson can be found on Twitter @GeekDadGamer, and is philosophical on how games affect us. “The most exciting aspect isn’t the tech, graphics or play mechanics, but how people feel when they play them. We invest millions in these ground-breaking ways of telling stories and expressing what it means to be human.” It’s probably for the best that he’s never seen our lunchtime games of FIFA.