Christmas is ruled by two stories. The Santa story and the one of Jesus’ birth. Whether you believe either is not the point. What is, is that game-designers have key insights into the second story. It’s the nuggets of nerd-wisdom, beyond the reach of common men. So let’s take it away!
When God made humans, he saw that ‘it was good’. Only game developers can really understand this line.
The last time I hit ‘build’ on a new AI, the debugger threw a big tantrum. After fixing all the bugs, it still didn’t look anywhere near ‘it was good’. Other than my obvious lack of intelligence compared to God, there is something else he made, that I could never reconstruct in code:
He embedded ‘free will’ into humans.
Even if I were smart enough to code that, I don’t think I’d have the heart to do it. Free will means that a character’s AI is basically over. There’s no more ‘A’, just ‘I’. The character can start to craft his own intelligence.
God, as the designer, gave a piece of control to his characters. No predictability. No robot-behavior:
From here on, the characters could choose. Choose to be the creator’s friend (the reason he gave free will) or to ignore him (without this part, there’d be no free will). The characters can choose to love or hurt other characters the Maker so carefully modeled.
Of course, that’s exactly what happened. Adam and Eve – the first characters – lived in a beautifully crafted level called Eden, or ‘Paradise’. Their first mission was to name all animals, which they completed successfully. Then they did the very thing their creator told them not to. (It’s like telling your characters not to jump in lava and they plunge right in.)
Their own choice brought ‘the bad’ into the world. It changed the entire game. The game had to be reconstructed in order to compensate. Death and sickness – new antagonists – entered the game, and perfection – Eden – left. Conflict had begun and the world became a place where joy and pain lived side by side.
The only one that could fix this broken world, of course, was the grand Architect Himself.
And… that’s what Christmas is all about.
I don’t want to take this metaphor to ridiculous proportions, but basically the reason Jesus had to be born was to bring about a huge ‘bug fix’… if you will. The patch that gives the characters a way out. Out of the imperfection they chose to have.
The latest tech-movie ‘Tron’ drew from this age-old story when they had Flynn’s son enter the world his father created. That is the moment of Christmas. That is the moment that split AD and BC. It’s where the Western world planted their ‘zero’ in time.
The wise-men (or ‘three kings’) lived in this year called zero. They knew the time they lived in. They had read the prophesies and traveled to the religious center of their day – Jerusalem – only to find out that everybody, from politicians to religious leaders, were oblivious to this big event. They followed the star that guided them like an unusual heads-up display.
After having found the newborn baby (Jesus) that had entered the world, they gave him 3 items for his inventory:
* gold (a gift only given to kings),
* frankincense (smelly stuff only used in places of worship) and
* myrrh (balm, stuff only used to preserve dead bodies…who gives that at a baby shower?).
Indeed, the three items were unusual gifts, yet it showed the wisdom of the wise-men: they knew Jesus was a King (gold), he was sent by their Creator (frankincense, used for worship) and that it was his objective to die (myrrh)!
This character, the Creator’s son, was the only one able to set things right and save ‘all humanity’. A standard hero-story? Yep… except that all standard ones are based on this one!
We all know what happened to Jesus next. He took the blame for all characters called ‘mankind’ and died so his sacrifice could set things right. The ‘bug fix’ part, if you will.
But wait! Everything is not fixed! Where is that paradise? Don’t people still do evil? We all do from time to time, don’t we? Did it fail? Is another update needed?
Well no. According to the game’s manual (the Bible), the only thing still in the way is the ‘free will’ part, on an object-oriented (personal) level. We get to make the choice ourselves: to accept this ‘bugfix’ or not. The Creator will not choose for you. Not even your mom will
This is what Christmas is all about. We have to choose to either accept or ignore Christmas, the event that was ignored when it happens, yet still causes traffic jams today. What do you choose?