A new game application, Follow JC Go, is the Catholic Church’s newest attempt to reach out to Generation Z, according to The Verge. The Vatican is not directly linked with this new game, but Pope Francis is noted as being a huge fan of the idea. For those who haven’t heard of the game, it is inspired by Pokemon Go, as the title clearly suggests. This mobile game centers around collecting Catholic saints and various other biblical figures instead of Pokemon monsters.
Developed by Florida-based Catholic evangelical group Fundacion Ramon Pane, Follow JC Go is quickly generating quite the buzz. It has even been written about in Italian newspaper Correre della Sera.
The director over at Fundacion Ramon Pane, Ricardo Grzona, spoke with reporters at Crux Now, where he explained Pope Francis’ stance concerning Follow JC Go.
“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.”
There will of course be differences between the Pokemon Go and Follow JC Go games. One of those differences is that players on Follow JC GO are not expected to fight over the devoted Catholics in an effort to win superiority. Another alteration will be the total lack of gyms, which are used in Pokemon Go to get Pokemon beefed up for battles. Follow JC GO will lack combats. Combats will be replaced with philosophical questions which players will need to answer as they collect saints and other biblical characters. So instead of becoming the very best that no one ever was, players of the new game will be expected to search their hearts as well as get into soul-searching.
An element of prayer will also be embedded into Follow JC GO. In order to level up their saints and characters, players will need to pray, as well as eat and drink. The game plans on encouraging players to take time and venture to church whenever they pass by one. The application will alert users every time they are near a church, gently suggesting that they visit. Players will collect things necessary for their “virtual survival.” These objects will include food, water, and spirituality.
Follow JC GO is currently available for Android and iOS devices. For now it is only available in Spanish. The company has reported that they plan on rolling out Italian, Portuguese, and English versions soon.
The game development cost the company $500,000 USD and was financed through sponsors and private donors. It can be used by people globally, and is in fact free.