(cue the slow bass drum and Mr. movie Guy)
Wisconsin. 2009. Early Summer…
A boy who struggles to quell his inner sins and reach a more glorious light…
A girl who bears his child, born from a love that can never be…
An athlete who cannot deny the truth of his Self…
An outcast who torments herself as punishment for not fitting in…
A boy whose imagination would be his greatest undoing…
A martyr who would defy the world and stand up for her beliefs – and her love of another…
The chaos of fate threw these teenagers together, to claw their way out of The Jesus Camp Massacre.
This past Gamestorm (GS11) was host to many wonderful moments of gaming, and I am proud and delighted to say that one particular game rises above all others of my recent memory in sheer awesomeness. That session was the Jesus Camp Massacre, a demo game I ran of Cannibal Contagion.
This post has taken me a long time to get up for a variety of reasons, one of which is that I keep coming back and re-editing and re-writing it. It has to be perfect – the session was just that awesome. So now, several months later, I’ve decided to re-write it one last time, and come hell or high water I will be posting this AP review today. I’ll warn you all now: This review will likely offend some people. Read at your own risk.
For GameStorm, I designed three distinct demo games to run, and Jesus Camp was the last of the three. In this game, I set up the Contagion based on a supernaturally-infused variant of the infectious contagion that is Jesus’s Love. In this scenario, I decided to set up seven pregenerated characters and put them through the horrors of a twisted Jesus Camp. Six players showed up, but fortunately one of the characters was easily left out. The results, as you will see, were awesome.
The Six Survivors:
- Sadie – The Goth Girl, in love with Bross
- Missy – A pregnant Cheerleader, In love with Devon (the kid’s father), dating Bross
- Bross – The Football Hero, dating Missy, in love with Devon
- Devon – The Reformed Ex-Gay, worshipper of Jesus, father of Missy’s child, in love with Bross
- Mitch – The boydyke outcast, in love with Missy
- Zeke – the gamer nerd, secretly plays D&D with Bross, in love with Sadie
I created them each with loving care, and set up a pretty complex network of relationships. As you can see above, there’s a lot of conflict, and the extra work I put into setting up these interactions and backgrounds beforehand really made the game all that more fantastic.
The game was played out over the span of five mostly action-and-drama-packed scenes. I’ll give a quick run-down of them, with some highlights of the things that I loved the most.
Scene 1: Drunken Masters
The game opened on the last night of Jesus Camp. Tomorrow morning would be the Grand Revival, followed by refreshments and then everyone being picked up by their parents and taken home. The Goal of the Scenario: Survive the Night!
When the curtain opened, the players were just leaving the Saturday night revival. All the prayer groups were old to go find somewhere and reflect together upon the evening’s lessons, and their group (the Exodus group) snuck off to sit around a distant tree and drink some snuck-in beer with their buddy Pablo (an Ally, also part of the prayer group). They had barely cracked open the case, however, when the bitchtastic all-girl Genesis prayer group showed up and caused a ruckus, threatening to “tell on them” to Youthpastor Cody (the director of Jesus Camp operations; aka “YPC”).
Led by the gung-ho Mitch, the team proceeded to beat the everloving shit out of the Genesis girls – killing one of them, in fact. That really set off some major tremors among their group. As the remaining Genesis girls ran off screaming in bloody fear, some of the Survivors tried to find a way to deal with the body, some cried, and the lovely Devon went to go tell YPC what happened.
Devon didn’t get too far, though. Just a short job from the Tree of Death, he saw the genesis girls get surrounded by dark figures which came out of nowhere. They were quickly subdued and taken away. Devon tried to follow, but was shortly surrounded himself by these figures, which he realized were the members of the all-boys Ecclesiastes prayer group. Their eyes were all fucked up and their skin was dark and veiny. They looked pissed. Devon tried to talk them down, but they didn’t liste, and quickly jumped him while he screamed like a girl.
The other Survivors heard the scream and ran to the rescue, and once again Mitch’s boots kicked some ass and helped save the day. The Ecclesiastes managed to get away after a few rounds of cards, but they also took the Genesis girls with them.
The scene ended with them all running off to find YPC. By the end of the scene, half of the Survivors had already descended to the second stage of Madness, and a few had taken wounds. Nice!
Scene 2: Cody’s Cabin
In this short scene, the Survivors met with the always-pleasant Youthpastor Cody in his small office. They tried to convince him that there was violence going down, and that something was wrong with Ecclesiastes and Genesis. He seemed pleasant and unshaken, and assured them that he would contact the nearby sheriff’s station to send Ol’ Jake Hornsby down to check on matters.
I seem to recall there being some joke with one of the characters being nicknamed “Penis” and that being a hilarious moment during the radio chat with Jake Hornsby, but the specifics now escape me. Anyway, this scene primarily served as a segue to the next one, with a bit of situational establishment and intensification of the background conflict.
Scene 3: Stalking the Vestibules
The scene opened with the Survivors in their “vestibule.” Now, Imagine, if you will, a Jesus Compound. Rows and rows upon rows and rows of bunkhouses, veritable streets and alleyways between them, each on cinderblocks and lacking windows, with a lock on the outside of the door. These were the vestibules of YPC’s Jesus Camp, each containing another prayer group.
The characters had been escorted to their vestibule, and shortly afterward a couple of junior Youthpastors showed up, requesting to speak with the girls (Mitch, Missy, and Sadie) separately. The gals were taken off, and a moment later the boys heard the sound of their vestibule being locked from the outside.
A few moments later, there were two major simultaneous conflicts. The Ecclesiastes showed up again, this time far more disturbing than before, and tried to take Mitch and Missy out into the darkness. Meanwhile, Sadie had run back to the vestibule to let the boys out, but was stymied by some creepy monster-looking girl grabbing at her from under the vestibule. Several rounds of cards later, Missy is much further down the depths of lunacy, Mitch is covered in blood, and the rest of them have gathered outside the vestibule to try and help the dying girl underneath it. Turns out, it was one of the escaped girls from the Genesis group, and her belly insides look as if they’ve exploded everywhere.
They made a plan to escape, and the scene ended.
Scene 4: Moonlit Lakeside Romance
Oh my. This truly epic scene involved a dramatic argument while treading water in the middle of the lake, a thrilling motorboat chase, multiple people getting whacked with oars, an attempted drowning suicide, and more. But the best part? Definitely the time when Sadie tried to drown herself, and Zeke rescued her, and tried to turn mouth-to-mouth resuscitation into a hardcore makeout only to be punched in the face by the now-conscious Sadie. Oh no, it was when Bross and Devon admitted their gay love for each other and missed on the beach. Or was it when Mitch called Missy an evil bitch and an insult to women everywhere, and Missy slapped her for it, and then they had violent lustful angsty teenage lesbian dry-humping on the waterfront?
Oh wait, it was all three of them, because they all happened at the same fucking time and provided the perfect end to the scene.
Scene 5: Golem Jesus
In the Grand Finale to the game, they face off against Youthpastor Cody’s grand creation: Golem Jesus. The giant Buddy Christ statue in the middle of the grand pavilion broke apart, and from it stepped a gigantic flesh golem made from the bodies of all the other Jesus Camp attendees.
By this point all of the Survivors were either quite insane or very close, and as such the battle was quite intense. There was head-biting, people-eating, fist-pounding, flying kung-fu dyke combat-boot flying-monkey face-kicking, and more. Missy went nuts and gave birth to a demonic Jesus Spawn, while the belly-less corpses of the Genesis Group tried to strangle everyone with their flailing intestines.
In the end, Golem Jesus killed everyone and stomped off into the sunrise with Baby Demon Jesus perched on his shoulder, although it’s rumored that Sadie might have somehow survived.
Seriously, Fuck Yeah. This game was so awesome that all other games in the room with us were visibly jealous. I think we annoyed a lot of people with our loudness, but sweet golem jesus above, it was worth it. I made some good personal connections with fellow gamers in this session, and look forward to meeting up with them again in the coming days.
Coming to GameStorm 2010: Jesus Camp Massacree 2 – The Rise of Golem Jesus!