By Ben McEachen
Move over, Pikachu. A new app blessed by the Pope has changed the virtual world of Pokemon GO into ‘Follow JC Go!‘.
Rather than use geolocation technology to catch all the monsters in the Pokemon universe, Follow JC Go! allows smartphone users to go after biblical characters and saints. You can also answer biblical trivia asked by Moses, or collect virtual water, food, “spirituality” and denarii (Roman coins used during Jesus’ day).
Released this week in a Spanish version – with English, Italian and Portuguese versions to be unveiled in the coming weeks – Follow JC Go! was developed by Fundación Ramón Pané, an international ‘evangelisation’ team within the Catholic Church.
Pokemon GO was released in 2016 and has had about 800 billion downloads. The development of Follow JC Go! began soon after the launch of that phenomenally successful app. The creation of the finished product took 43 designers, theologians, Bible experts, Church historians and engineers a reported 32,000 hours.
Like Pokemon GO, Follow JC Go! players allow their smartphone camera to transform their immediate surroundings into a digital world. But real-world worship is encouraged throughout, such as stopping to pray for the sick at a hospital, or donating online to a charity.
According to Crux Now, Pope Francis gave Follow JC Go! his blessing and commended its ambition to spread the good news of Jesus through modern media.
“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 evangelisation,” said Ricardo Grzona, executive director of Fundación Ramón Pané.
This article was first published on Eternitynews.com.au and used with permission.