“Popemon Go” Makes Every Day All Saints' Day

Christopher Benek

You may have caught a virtual Pokémon before but have you ever tried to apprehend a virtual Christian Saint? A Catholic evangelical group has launched an app called Follow JC Go! based on the hugely popular PokémonGo. Their hope is to educate Christians while they have fun doing so.

The goal of the game is to find saints, Biblical characters and other religious figures to add to the players Evangelization Team, AKA the eTeam. Players do this by using GPS to detect Follow JC Go! characters around one’s physical location similar to Pokémon. Once a player finds a game character, a question is asked. If a proper response is given, the player may add the character to their eTeam. As far as we know, B.A. Baracus or Joel Osteen are not available characters to obtain.

While, on its face it may seem easy to poke fun at the game, it is notable that it was created for a noble purpose. Developed by the Fundación Ramón Pané, a foundation dedicated to evangelization, the game was created in preparation for World Youth Day that will take place in Panama in 2019. The hope is that, by engaging youth with technology, the app may help to spur on Christian evangelism and catechesis in an effort to better the world through the teachings of Christ. To accomplish this, the app seeks to encourage virtue formation in persons by emboldening players to live out pious acts like prayer and charity via interactions in the digital game.

Currently the app is only available in Spanish but there are plans for other languages, including English, to be developed in the future. Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world. 40% of Catholics in the US are Hispanic and Spanish is also notably Pope Francis’ native tongue. It has been reported that the Pope has commended the app.

Reality Changing Observations:

Q1. How do you think video games typically influence youth and how do you think that they could be improved?

Q2. What other tech do you think could be created to encourage Christian Education or virtue formation?

Q3. What do you think would make a compelling Christian video game?