My guest this week is Celia Pontin, who works for the Committees of Advertising Practice, and has done a PhD (I was her supervisor) on video games and theology.
Celia talks about how for her a game is a voluntary attempt to overcome an unnecessary obstacle – and that this is the element that makes it fun. She explains how she drew on the religion and film methodology and looked at how the interactive nature of video games affects our ability to interpret them meaningfully through a theological lens.
We talk about why someone might choose to be a villain in a game and how video games give us the freedom to consider options we wouldn’t consider ‘being’ in real life. We bring in the question of fatalism in the case of fixed narratives.
We learn that Celia originally considered going to university to do astrophysics and that when she was a teenager she had wanted to be a vicar. We learn why she doesn’t always like describing her PhD to people she doesn’t particularly know and she reflects on the influence of an essay on Lord of the Flies which she did for her GCSEs and how it impacted on the PhD she did, as well as a Hobbit video game. She says that she would be surprised if her son didn’t to some extent follow in her footsteps.
Church music has always been the backdrop of Celia’s life, and she tells us that she was surprised to discover that her friends weren’t all into classical music. She was also interested in countercultural music. She talks about how surprised her younger self would be to discover that she prefers reading policy documents sometimes to reading fiction.
We also talk about political blunders and the way we look back on events, and our reflections of the Millennium Dome and Y2K.
At the end of the interview, Celia reflects on being in a position of relative privilege, having had a good comprehensive education and going on to university. She talks about how it can be possible to feel nostalgic about bittersweet episodes, we find out if there is anything she would change if she could go back and we learn why she is a looking forward person.
Please note: Opinions expressed are solely those of Chris Deacy and Celia Pontin and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the University of Kent.