Welcome to GEEK of the WEEK episode 1.
Brad: How does it feel to be featured as the very first “geek of the week” at bradhuebert.com?
Steven: Hey, it’s a great honor! Most of the time the geek status is something you keep hidden because you are ashamed of the subjects you are passionate
about. But to celebrate this passion, which often finds root in deep seated, emotional experiences, well it feels really affirming.
Brad: So… what are your “qualifications” as geek?
Steven: Haha, it’s easy to feel overqualified as a geek sometimes! I remember spending afternoons in the library in elementary school, poring over the old ratty science fiction books, (which they kept in the back corner as if to confirm the embarrassment) and something about Robert Heinlein’s science fiction novels or these high fantasy books with their ridiculously over-the-top covers with bare-chested body builders riding lions and wielding battle axes that just ruined me for anything “normal”.
Brad: That’s awesome. Sounds like my childhood. Hey, I noticed you do some writing now for a cool site called gamechurch. Uh, what’s that?
Steven: It’s a videogame site by a church down in California that just felt like it was time to start a ministry aimed at gamers. They’re really tongue-in-cheek and easy going, and they travel to all the major trade shows interviewing game developers and handing out bibles and free beer and basically hang out with gamers… So far the overwhelming majority of responses from the game community has been positive, and I think that’s their aim: to be seen as fellow gamers who want to make connections but also get people thinking about Christ and that Jesus most certainly loves gamers.
Brad Huebert: That sounds pretty cutting edge. So how’d you start writing for them?
Steven: About a year ago, I had come to a point in my life, almost married, a real job, my own home, car etc. and felt like it was time to become a true adult. And part of that meant seriously examining, what I thought was, just a videogame habit. But the more I tried to imagine quitting cold turkey or putting the brakes on my game time, the more I realized I found a lot of life and passion out of this hobby. I kept praying that if God wanted my whole life dedicated to Him, he would put out this passion. Until I heard that small voice say, “What if I gave you this passion for a reason?” Instead of using games as an escape, maybe they could be more. That’s when I started looking around the internet for videogame ministries and found virtually none! But I did stumble upon gamechurch.
Brad: Thanks for sharing that. One of the reasons I’m excited about my site is that there don’t seem to be many geeks serious about their faith doing stuff online to unite and speak into this community. FYI, I just googled “Steven Sukkau,” clicked images, and the first one that popped up was Shepard from Mass Effect. I had no idea that you were actually the guy in the game. 😉
Steven: I do some freelance avatar modelling from time to time, haha
Brad: Nice! What’s up with the “gamer’s bible” gamechurch offers? It looks pretty cool.
Steven: Yeah, it’s the New Testament but they’re calling it Jesus for the Win, which is riffing on a meme so right aways it helps cut out some of the “stuffy church” image from Christianity and tells the story of Christ in the language a gamer or geek might more readily get into.
Brad: I love it. And people can download “Jesus for the Win” for free, right?
Steven: Yeah, it comes in a nice PDF, doesn’t even take that long to download! (*watch the featured slider and click on the link)
Brad: So… in between all your husbanding and writing and other stuff, what game are you playing most these days?
Steven: Most recently I’ve been playing an XBOX live Arcade title called Trials Evolution. It’s this crazy dirtbike game that’s one part platformer and one part racing. It has a really innovative and unique control scheme that actually makes you feel like you’re navigating a dirt bike. Also, just finished Mass Effect 3 and boy is that game a doozy. Very epic. A lot of interesting things to write about in that game. Hence the picture of Shepherd when you look for my name lol!
Brad: You touched on something important a few minutes ago—games as a way to escape. Which leads me to my next question: Why do you think some people find video games so addictive?
Steven: I struggle with addiction vs. “loving something so much you don’t want to stop” all the time. And I mean, when I was working a minimum wage job after high school, lots of my friends were away at college, I didn’t have a girlfriend and basically life was pretty dull. But after a long shift of packing people’s groceries, I could go home and suddenly I was in a fantastical world with all my friends, I was important, I had a purpose and destiny only I could fulfill. That’s a stark comparison and I think that’s why games can become addicting.
Brad: I agree. I think sometimes people use games to replace reality instead of augment it. I’ll probably hit on that in a post later this week. But here’s my last question: If you could have one superpower, what would you choose—and how would you use that power to make the world a better place?
Steven: If I had a superpower, it would be something like the point of view gun (from Hitchhiker’s Guide To the Galaxy) to touch two people who hate each other and let them experience each other’s every moment leading up to the present, everything that shaped them, their thinking, their motivations.
Brad: Hey, thanks so much for doing this interview, Steve. It’s been fun.
Steven: Thanks Brad! I had a great time!
Your turn: Give Steve some comment love.
You can follow Steve on Twitter: @stevensukkau
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