Vatican Releases “Saintly” Version of Pokémon Go AR Game
What’s that saying? Imitation is the best form of flattery, right? Well, since Pokémon Go’s release back in the summer of 2016, the wildly popular AR-based smartphone game has seen a number of different versions of the same old trick pop up in the Apple and Google app stores. But the latest attempt to recapture that magic comes from an incredibly unlikely source: The Vatican.
The Catholic Church has released Follow JC Go, a game that doesn’t even attempt to hide the fact that it’s based on the Niantic instant-classic, which still has an estimated 5 million active daily users. Follow JC Go asks players to walk around and collect saints and other Biblical figures (rather than your Pikachus and Charmanders) by answering trivia questions about them, which is much nicer than throwing countless Pokéballs at them. Once you “catch ‘em all,” the collective team becomes an “evangelization team” that follows Jesus.
Players get to create their own avatar, which looks more like one of those Pop! figurines than an actual human. They can keep track of their character’s nutrition, hydration, and prayer count, and can improve their stats by collecting special objects, saying prayers for the sick, and going into nearby churches.
According to Business Insider, Follow JC Go was originally developed by the evangelical group Fundación Ramón Pané for World Youth Day and reportedly cost some $500,000 to make along with two years and some 32,000 hours of development. The game is available for both iOS and Android, however the geographical reach of the game is limited to just Spain and Italy at present.
For what it’s worth, Pope Francis is reportedly a huge fan of the game.
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