Gaming Gah: The Catholic Church Cloned 'Pokemon Go'
With nothing to do but meander through abandoned streets and strike up conversations with the rats and pigeons, it's no wonder that Pokemon Go has once again become massively popular during the entertainment-starved pandemic. But in these dark times, with so many seeking salvation from their troubles, wouldn't you like to walk with a slightly higher power than an old Nintendo franchise? I'm talking, of course, of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Released in 2018, Follow JC Go is the Vatican approved Catholic counterpart to Pokemon Go. Created in over "32,000 hours" of painstaking work by game designers and Bible experts in Florida, the walking app seeks to "combine technology with evangelization" to entice kids into learning about Christianity with something else than a youth pastor with a badly-tuned guitar. Because, if you think about it, Jesus is very much like Pikachu. They're both the kind, approachable face of a franchise that's surprisingly dark and violent upon closer inspection, and most Midwesterners imagine them being portrayed by Ryan Reynolds.
Instead of catching godly abominations, Follow JC Go lets you collect Catholicism's ever-updating roster of saints but also characters from the Bible -- the legendaries, if you will. Of course, the game doesn't have any subjugating or battling, or rivaling factions. (Can you imagine? In Christianity?) Players collect their Pocket Catholics by answering Bible trivia questions. Get them right, and they join your Evangelical Team or "eTeam." Aside from the rush of tracking down a Shiny Saint Peter, Follow JC Go also places more emphasis on the pilgrimage-like aspects of walking games, forcing you to trek to random spots on a map to receive your desired bounty. Players have to keep up their health by amassing food, water, and "spirituality," the latter being achieved by stopping off at a church or a hospital for a quick prayer.
While not a lot of people decided to follow in JC's footsteps, it did have one major fan: Pope Francis. "Francis is not a very technological person, but he was in awe," boasted Ricardo Grzona, executive director of Fundacion Ramon Pane. Other players offered many less-than-divine-reviews, yet Follow Jesus Go remains in app stores and is still being updated. Recently, the Catholic game was finally translated to Portuguese, Italian, and English, but there's no report on when the Latin version is coming out for hardcore players.
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Top Image: Fundacion Ramon Pane, Inc