Saturday, June 25, 2011

#217 The Ungame

The Ungame is a non-competitive non-game that enjoys rabid popularity in Christian culture. It exists solely to spark conversation, permits no losing, and is basically a G-rated version of "Have you ever?” in board form. The Ungame manned the helm of Christian culture social gatherings for the entire length of the 1980s secondary to James Dobson’s enthusiastic recommendation.

Christian culture's Good Housekeeping symbol

The Ungame board features a bucolic microcosm of various emotions and life trials rendered in idyllic cartoons. To play you draw cards that dispatch you to places like the Cheerful Chalet and Worry Wharf, and once you get there you are asked things like “When do you get angry?” and “If you had to move and could only take three things with you, what would you take?”

Fearful Forest, Worry Wharf and Friendship Farm await you

Your game piece hops around garnering introspective questions and though you're assured there are no wrong answers, you know better than to answer “Do you like to pray?” with “not really.” If the card asks if you've been unhappy today and you answer in the affirmative, you are sent to the Happy House for a time-out and must forfeit a turn. Such mixed messages, this Ungame.

White people playing white people games.

For the evangelical on the go there’s a travel version. Speaking of mixed messages, at first glance they look like boxes of condoms.

Though Christian culture finds the regular Ungame adequately edifying, there is an actual Christian version in case you really want to get down. The Christian version has two sets of question cards, one for junior highers and one for mature Christians. These questions include “If Jesus knocked on your door today what would you do?”, “Name three significant advantages a Christian has over a non-Christian,” “What is your strongest Christian virtue and how do you use it to advantage?”, “What part of the Christian’s armor was the most valuable to you today?”, “Make a statement about wine” and “Identify a spiritual lesson that can be learned from a fox.” I am not making this up.

The board says “answer honestly” all over it, but can you imagine if you did? Question: “Tell of a time no one else knew about when you were tempted. What did you do and what you would do differently if you had it to do over again?” Better not answer that one out loud in mixed company. “Who is your favorite New Testament Bible character and why?” New Testament, you say? Social decorum demands you say Jesus. “What weakness in Christians most hinders non-Christians from accepting Jesus and why?” Um, maybe believing that you have at least three significant advantages over non-Christians has something to do with it. And you want to know why? Maybe because Jesus didn’t quantify people in that way. “You serve on a philanthropic organization board and recommend Christian ministries worthy of support. What criterion do you use?” Well. They definitely can’t support anything remotely gay or pro-choice, but if they say they give at least 10% of their firstfruits to charity even though their founders live in huge houses, that meets all of Christian culture’s criteria for support worthiness. And last but not least, “Talk about something you like to eat.” As. If. Have a straight guy answer that honestly and Christian culture will rise up and break his ass in half. Let’s work it clean, people. Christian culture says they want your truth but studies show they cannot handle it.