Jared Chadwick is a full-time employee at Fort Sanders Hospital in West Knoxville. When he is not sterilizing surgical instruments, the 22-year-old Chadwick writes game reviews for a new website: gamechurch.com.
Chadwick has always had a passion for video games.
"You know, I grew up with video games," Chadwick said. "It's hard to explain to someone why you play video games. If they don't understand, they never will."
One of the biggest leaps in the gaming industry is storytelling. Jared Chadwick It might also be hard to explain Game Church, a new video game news site, to anyone with an interest in Christianity or video games. The home page even has a picture of Jesus with an Xbox controller.
"Interestingly enough," Chadwick said, "I heard about Game Church through a podcast called 'Games, Dammit!'"
The site does not put a Christian perspective into their reviews.
"If you want to discuss Christianity and how it relates to games, there are places on the site for that, but the reviews are secular," Chadwick said. "I tried to start my own gaming site, and it was hard work."
Chadwick tried to contact video game publisher Atlus, a favorite company of his, for material to review. He was told, back when he had his own review site, that the company couldn't send him review materials.
"When I contacted Cory Prater [the site's logistics director], and started writing for the site, I got an email from a representative at Atlus asking to add me to their LinkedIn network."
Now, Chadwick writes reviews for the site in his spare time. The site's home page is full of articles by Chadwick.
"Gaming is big business," Chadwick said. "People like to look at gaming as a hobby, but it's bigger than that. It's a legitimate industry that's bigger than Hollywood, and a lot of people don't know that."
Chadwick is always interested in a conversation about games and what makes them good. He has played his fair share and thinks there is a bright future for the industry.
"One of the biggest leaps in the gaming industry is storytelling," Chadwick said.
He mentioned the new first person shooter, Homefront, and said it told the story well, but failed when it came to game play. In Homefront, the North Korean army invades in a scenario reminiscent of Red Dawn.
"Homefront was written by the guy that wrote Apocalypse Now [John Milius], but it was like THQ didn't know what to do with the game," Chadwick said.
Chadwick said publisher THQ tried to make the game based around the story, but failed.
"The game play has to tell the story. You can't just have a story punctuated by periods of mindless shooting," Chadwick said.
He mentioned that Valve, the makers of Portal and Half-Life 2 were able to tell a story through game play. Chadwick also discussed what he thought was a big problem with games today.
"Developers should never take control away from the player. No one likes that," Chadwick said. "You don't want to watch a character perform an action, you want to do it."