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Fr Rob Galea’s MetaSaint blends fun and formation

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MetaSaint users are immersed into the narrative through a series of cathedral stained-glass windows is a clever call-back to the very purpose of those windows in the church’s history. Screenshot: MetaSaint/ROblox
MetaSaint users are immersed into the narrative through a series of cathedral stained-glass windows is a clever call-back to the very purpose of those windows in the church’s history. Screenshot: MetaSaint/Roblox

Integrating the nostalgic gameplay of Nintendo’s Super Mario 64 with engaging catechesis from the Catholic Faith, a well-known Maltese-Australian priest has created MetaSaint, a new interactive game for children on the popular Roblox platform and launched on Holy Thursday.

Created by Sandhurst priest and Christian music artist Fr Robert Galea, MetaSaint centres around a virtual cathedral with areas for prayer, reflection, and reading Scripture.

Along its stone walls are eight stained-glass windows, each depicting a scene from the Bible.

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It is through these windows, like the paintings in Mario 64, that users are taken to a new level and immersed into the various biblical scenes. Exploring each beautifully designed world, users must collect treasure and complete tasks aimed at drawing them deeper into the narrative.

Each world has an angel guide to set users on their new adventure, along with biblical characters and saints that one can interact with to gain more clues or information.

At the end of the experience, they can decide whether they want to become a MetaSaint by lighting a virtual candle and receiving a pair of angel wings.

Though the gameplay is relatively well-done and the world building is bright and imaginative, credit must be given to Fr Galea for weaving meaning into the mechanics.

The fact that users are immersed into the narrative through a series of cathedral stained-glass windows is a clever call-back to the very purpose of those windows in the church’s history. Stained-glass reached its spiritual height in the Middle Ages when it became a major pictorial form used to illustrate the narratives of the Bible to a largely illiterate populace.

These windows not only act as a perfect launching pad for the MetaSaints’s biblical adventure, but gives the cathedral space more meaning as the game’s lobby.

Another noticeable integration of the spiritual into the digital are the individual tasks that users must complete to access each level.

These tasks are not random or pointless but are designed to further catechise the user in the biblical story that they are engaging.

Whether it be collecting stars on the fourth day of creation or finding supplies for Moses and the Israelites at the Red Sea, MetaSaint does well to ground the gameplay in Christianity.

Fr Galea has been evangelising young people since the beginning of his priesthood, whether it be through his music or his non-profit ICON Ministry which reaches up to 2 million people every year.

But despite his widespread reach, the Sandhurst priest said, in an interview with Vatican News, that he still wasn’t connecting with children under 13 years.

Dubbed ‘Generation Alpha’, Fr Galea found that most of this demographic was spending its time on Roblox, an online gaming platform with more than 70 million active daily users, and decided that this is where he was to evangelise them.

Designed together with Dubit, a leading games studio, there have been great efforts made to not only provide a satisfying gaming experience but to also ensure the safety of the users.

As Roblox’s chat function is notoriously known to be used for grooming, despite the platform’s child safety measures, MetaSaint has disabled this function and almost all interaction between users.

MetaSaint is short, sweet and a safe way for children to engage in scripture and Catholic teaching online.

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