3 out of 5
Boss Fight Books’ 7th entry, “Bible Adventures” is – game puns aside – a cheat. I guess that’s maybe allowed when it’s the book written by the boss, author Gabe Durham being responsible for the BSB venture, and perhaps there’s a meta-structural thing at work here, given that the book is masking one topic with another, just as “Bible”‘s developers, Wisdom Tree, would reskin their parent imprint’s Color Dream’s games with Christian imagery, but I sincerely don’t believe that type of layering was intended, and if so, it’s not especially supported by / commented on by the text.
That’s really the main thing standing in the book’s way: it’s more about Durham’s, and Wisdom Tree’s, and culture’s, path into and out of devotional living, leveraging that in to larger thoughts on our appreciation for nostalgic gaming, a la Bible Adventures; the book about Bible Adventures itself is about 30 pages long: one interview and one summary about a small, unlicensed NES-game developer realizing the potential of a completely untapped Christian video game market, retooling one of their games to fit the bill, and done. Due to this runaround, the text as a whole is largely unfocused, Durham trying to edge it back on titular topic but not having much to say about it, instead leaning in to the admittedly more interesting history of the publisher, and the Christian gaming industry, but lacking a guiding thesis for doing so.
Gabe is a good writer, though this could very well be my nostalgia at work. His experiences – while not with the same exact games, or even the same religion – are similar to mine, and it’s made for a writing style I appreciate, with evolved sentence structure and a wise of juggling seriousness with dashes of snark; that is: I recognize the tone of what he’s saying because I recall having my own versions of those thoughts and feelings, and that’s very much what Bible Adventures, the book (and Boss Fight Books) ends up harping on, and so isn’t surprisingly how Gabe concludes his book: by praising the way video games allow us to relate to others.
He still cheated to get there.