As many CatholicMom.com readers might know, Tanya and I produced the Life on Fire podcast on and off since 2006. Over time, the podcast started to become less of a joyful outreach and expression of our Catholic faith and more of a life gripe session with Catholic overtones. Simply put, Tanya and I were no longer feeling “called” to produce the show and are no longer creating new episodes. That isn’t to say that Tanya and I aren’t open to God calling us back to it in the future but, for the time being it is over.
So what does the end of Life on Fire have to do with a tech project? I’m so glad you asked!
Shortly after Tanya and I had informally decided to stop producing Life on Fire, I was caught up in a Kickstarter for a fan game project I’ve volunteered with as a “communications guy” for years. It was a long and arduous battle, which the fan game did win, but, not without the cost of a certain level of sanity on my part. I am glad we succeeded, but will likely never engage in social media at that level unless it is my professional career to do so.
During that time, I discovered The Flaming Monocle, an evil super-genius who is committed to playing through the nearly 2900 games he has amassed over the years and recording the process, all from his secret volcano lair. Sure, game streaming/recording with commentary is nothing new, but I had never really been exposed to it. The Flaming Monocle was witty, funny, and it was flat out entertaining in his commentary. I was inspired by his commentary and thought to myself, “Gee, I have a bunch of games that I haven’t played. I wonder if Tanya would want to play them with me.” Thus, the idea for Chris and Tanya Play Games began to take shape.
Really, CTPG (Chris and Tanya Play Games) is less about Tanya and me producing a “show” and more about just making time to sit down for a half-hour and engage in a common activity. There is no real agenda, except to have fun and to play the game at hand. There is no real need to talk about anything in particular. Sometimes Tanya and I talk about the game itself. Other times there are random thoughts which seem to have no apparent connection to anything. Yes, even bits of faith occasionally work their way into the conversation, albeit in a more random way. Sometimes I even break into song! In short, CTPG is more for Tanya and me than it is for anyone who might view it.
Did I mention that Tanya has free rein to make fun of me as much as she wants? Yes, that is part of the fun too. I am currently an incompetent gamer, having let my digital game library both expand and gather dust over a period of 5 or so years. So, it is very easy for Tanya to shoot holes in my performance, and I am OK with that.
Tanya isn’t just sitting idly by and making fun of me, though. She, too, is engaging in the common goal of defeating the game and helps along the way. OK, I’ll be honest, sometimes she takes over completely. It turns out that she is better at certain aspects of gaming than I am. But overall, the important thing is, Tanya and I are a team and we are doing this together.
Why Even Share It?
That is another good question. If CTPG is more about Tanya and me spending time together, than why even make a show at all? Why spend money to have a custom graphic created, take time to set up social media pages, or to go through the process of editing a video? Why not just spend the time together and leave it at that?
I think the first reason for sharing the game commentary during Tanya and my play time is that it is fun. We are truly having fun playing the game together and poking fun at each other along the way. When something is fun, it is generally worth sharing with others. Who wouldn’t want to hear Tanya making fun of me?
Secondly, in general gaming has a bad rap when it comes to marriage. A simple Google search of “Marriage and Video Games” will bring up a myriad of results of how gaming has contributed to divorce, has led to affairs, etc. I believe that it is a myth. A person spending too much time gaming by themselves or with people other than their spouse can be a SYMPTOM of major communication and marital problems, but is not likely the cause. What if, instead of playing alone, married couples made time to play together? Would that have the same result? Probably not; it would probably act to build up the marriage instead of tearing it down. So part of the reason for sharing this adventure with others is to show them that, yes, there is gaming and fun in marriage after kids and that it doesn’t have to be a source of negativity.
Lastly, people have been sharing experiences with games since gaming first came into existence. What person hasn’t wandered over to two people playing chess or checkers just to see how things turn out? Who hasn’t watched a random stranger play pinball or an arcade game? Who hasn’t enjoyed watching a friend play Zelda, Mario, Pac-Man, or Halo? The truth is, we build community through gaming, so why not share that experience with the world? For all I know, God might use Tanya and my experience and unity in gaming to bring others closer together or to bring forth laughter in someone who might need it.
At the time of this posting Tanya and I have produced 3 episodes of CTPG and it has been a lot of fun to do. New friends and connections have been made in the game commentary/streaming community and its just been a great time playing together.
CTPG is generally recorded twice a month, or whenever Tanya and I feel like it.
If you would like to sit in on the conversations and experiences had on Chris and Tanya Play Games, please visit the YouTube channel and click the subscribe button. You’ll be notified each time a new episode is posted. There are also a Facebook Page, Google+ Page, and Twitter account where Tanya and I interact and converse with our viewers.
It has been extremely rewarding finding and engaging in this new marriage adventure with Tanya. What activity could lead to greater communion in your marriage or relationships?
Copyright 2015 Christopher Weitzel
Chris and Tanya Play Games logo and elements Copyright Christopher Weitzel, Used With Permission
Additional Image: mouse-computer-hardware-cable-pc-670002 by Lawrence Monk public domain (CC0) via Pixabay