Though there are now several smartphone videogames that have used the template established by Pokemon Go to create an augmented reality (AR) title, such as Jurassic World Alive or Ghostbusters World, the latest iteration on the idea comes from a somewhat unexpected source – the Catholic Church.
Follow JC Go is a version of Pokemon Go devised by Fundación Ramón Pané a Catholic evangelical group which created the app as part of the preparations for World Youth Day 2019 in Panama. The title challenges players to collect various famous religious figures to add to your ‘evangelisation team’.
Players of Follow JC Go need to explore their local area to find various characters who appear in the Bible, or the Catholic calender of Saints. As with Pokemon Go and similar titles, they can be revealed by pointing your smartphone camera in their direction.
Matching a more Holy approach to videogames, you don’t recruit them by attacking, instead you answer questions they pose. For example, Moses will ask if a particular Biblical quote was said by him, if the user gets the question right, the character joins their team.
In addition, there are items that can be collected that lets the player’s avatar eat, drink or pray, which contributes towards the in-game levels for each stat. The title attempts to encourage players towards spirituality in the real world by prompting the user to pray if they pass a church. Instead of the standard microtransactions, players can donate to charity to receive in-game currency and items.
Follow JC Go launched in Spanish on 19th October, with Italian, English and Portuguese versions expected in the new few weeks.
Though the Vatican was not directly involved in its creation, the Pope is said to approve of the project. “You know, Francis is not a very technological person, but he was in awe, he understood the idea, what we were trying to do: combine technology with evangelization,” Ricardo Grzona, executive director of Fundación Ramón Pané, told Catholic news site Crux Now.
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