Monday, June 06, 2005

The Matisyahu Of Gaming

I am determined to become the gaming world's Matisyahu. If you don't know who's he, follow the link and come back.

Short version: Matisyahu is a hasidic Orthodox Jew who's also a kick-ass reggae singer. What sets Matis apart is that his lyrics are all about his relationship to G-d and the Torah, and he makes no apologies about it. He sings from the heart, and whether on stage in a little venue, or at MTV, he's the same Jew he always is, with his tzitzitiot hanging out and his beard and hat.

Now, I don't mean that I'm gonna turn hasidic (not that there's anything wrong with that), but that I am a Jew, a proud one, and I allow Torah to influence all I do, even my gaming writing. This is not about proselytizing, since Judaism doesn't do, or condone, that, but allow the Torah I have learned to inform and influence what I develop, what I write, what I put out through my company. For the most part it's actually quite subtle, and you wouldn't even know it's there. My first product, Liber Sodalitas: The Blind Path, presents a pseudo-oriental organization that most people would associate with "Kung Fu," but at the core of the group's philosophy is a Torah teaching, taken straight from the Shema (Numbers 15:39): Do not follow your [...] eyes, after which you stray.

That's it. That wasn't so bad, was it? It's a simple statement that hides a wealth of teaching. In the case of Judaism, it refers to trusting G-d and His Torah for guidance, not your eyes, yet at its core all it's telling us is to look beyond the obvious because the obvious can lead you astray. And from there I developed a gaming supplement! Not necesarily all of my original products have such a connection; most are simply imbued by the simple fact that I am imbued. By the same token, we do have some products coming out that feature Torah heavily into the mix, in a way that I'm sure will be enjoyable for gamers. You don't have to hit people over the head (in fact, that's counterproductive), but just allow yourself to be honest in your writing, and let whatever teaching can be included go on that journey.

When I say I want to be the Matisyahu of gaming, I mean that I want to be a proud Jew who is not afraid nor ashamed of who he is, what he is, and goes on working in the real world, letting Torah go wherever it wants to go, and more importantly, wherever I can take it. If Torah wants to go out in the world as a reggae song, then so be it, and if Torah wants to go out into the world as a roleplaying game about Nephilim, then by all means let's do it.

By the way, that was a not-so-subtle hint. ;-)

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