The Vatican has approved a church-themed game inspired by Pokémon Go
Follow JC Go! is a new mobile game designed to encourage young Christians to attend church. As you might suspect from its name, the game follows a similar theme to Niantic’s phenomenally popular Pokémon Go, launched back in 2016. The major difference being, however, that instead of finding and collecting monsters, you find and collect saints and other biblical figures.
Even more interesting, Follow JC Go has not only received a stamp of approval from the Vatican, it has been commended by Pope Francis, himself, according to the game’s developers.
“You know Francis is not a very technological person, but he was in awe,” said Ricardo Grzona, executive director of Fundación Ramón Pané, which developed the game.
“He understood the idea, what we were trying to do: combine technology with evangelization,” Grzona added, reported the Telegraph.
Fundación Ramón Pané is a Catholic evangelical group. The Argentinian team developed the game in preparation for World Youth Day 2019, a Catholic youth event set to take place this coming January in Panama.
The hope is that Follow JC Go will appeal to young Christians.
“Everything today, language and relations, among young people, go through smartphones,” Grzona said.
Grzona further explained that the goal of his group was to produce an educational videogame that is both religious and interactive, and with which users can form “evangelisation teams.”
The game uses the player’s smartphone camera to capture their surroundings into which it superimposes digital characters. Navigating a city-like map, players progress through the game by answering religious quiz questions, which are posed to them when they find or “meet” a saint or other biblical character. If they answer correctly, they will join their evangelisation team (e-team).
In addition to “meeting” religious characters, players can also collect virtual food, water and “spirituality” to bolster their in-game health.”
Moreover, the game encourages players to stop and engage in real-world prayer when they pass churches or even hospitals, where they are encouraged to pray for the sick. Players also have the option of donating to charity via the app.
Presently, the Follow JC Go mobile game is only available in Spanish. However, Italian, Portuguese and English versions are expected to be launched soon.