The Binding of Isaac (Aesthetic Education)

Granted, I’ve never played the game but I’ve known of it for some time. I was raised in a conservative Christian family myself and having stepped away from my family’s faith, I found this article on polygon about the game fascinating and entirely relevant to our class, even if you weren’t raised as Christian. At the end of the article, the author ties up his opinions with ideas around aesthetic education. I highly recommend it!

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4 thoughts on “The Binding of Isaac (Aesthetic Education)

  1. Thanks, Zachary! This game is quite interesting and one which I’ve considered using in games courses for some of the reasons the article identifies. It is also a great example of how the game (as artwork) acknowledges personal experience and the player’s imagination as a resource in design. The game requires a metaphorical as well as empathic reading of the material. The author of the article is moved to new understanding insofar as we was open to responding to these requirements, and in Schiller’s sense this is a process of “educating” the sensibility – of aesthetic education.

  2. My boyfriend and I watch lets plays of Isaac all the time, he curses out the player when they make dumb choices, and I soak in all the delicious metaphor and meaning stuffed into the game. I really really love how intricately this game’s message is woven in so I always cringe a little when I hear comments like what the author described. It would have been a perfect game for class Terry!

  3. Wow, I’m actually amazed at how much reading this article changed my opinion of The Binding of Isaac. I didn’t have any sort of religious upbringing, (and am completely dreadful at playing any action-packed-bullet-hell-type game) so Isaac never really did much for me. I found it to be disturbing, ugly, and (as mentioned in the article) pointlessly gross. But hearing about the game from this reflective standpoint of someone who has the personal experience to render it meaningful really helped me see it in a different light. Maybe that goes to show that art and the aesthetic education to be found therein rely much on the individual experience, and something that educates the sensibilities of one person may not do the same for another. To bring it back to Spivak, certainly one way that the era of globalization has an advantage on this front is that the number of artistic voices has increased exponentially, perhaps making it easier for each person to find their own effective forms of aesthetic education.

  4. I cant say I had the same experience that that article author did. When I played tBoI I understood the references and got at least some of the concepts they were pointing to but it didn’t speak to my soul. This could be due to the fact that for the four years that I was in christian private school I was the kid that was labeled as the one that “thinks we came from monkeys”.