The Vatican has introduced a new app for iOS and Android that is heavily inspired by Niantic’s Pokemon GO.
It might be fun to chase after Pikachu or Squirtle, but the Vatican is keen for you to follow the words of Jesus Christ with Follow JC Go. Pope Francis has given his blessing to the smartphone application which has you creating your own avatar and capturing famous saints from the religion. Having launched on October 19, the game has you capturing in a mixture of saints, biblical characters, and other figures to join your Evangelization Team and complete in-game challenges.
- “Follow JC Go!”, a Christian take on the game, lets players “catch” saints or Bible characters, instead of the little Japanese monsters.
- The game is the brainchild of Fundación Ramón Pané, a Catholic evangelical group, which made it in preparation for World Youth Day 2019, a Catholic youth event taking place in Panama in January.
- As with Pokemon Go, the game uses the player’s smartphone camera to take in their surroundings, then superimposes digital characters. But you’re more likely to find Saint Peter than Pikachu.
- Players progress through the game by answering religious quiz questions when they “meet” a saint – like attributing a quote from the Bible. So Moses might ask the player, “Was it me who said: ‘My God, my God, why have your forsaken me?” If they get it right, the character will join their e-team (or Evangelisation Team).
- Players can also collect virtual water, food and “spirituality” to contribute to their in-game health.
- The game encourages real-world worship by prompting the user to stop and pray if they pass a church. Or in a hospital, they might be urged to say a prayer for the sick. Players can also donate to charity through the app.
- Follow JC Go! launched in Spanish on 19 October, and Italian, English and Portuguese versions are expected in the coming weeks. Its creators say the goal is to teach players of all ages about the Catholic faith.