That was my first thought when my wife told me about “Follow JC Go!”. which is a Christian version of Pokemon Go. Which, I have to reiterate because I know I often post satirical memes and articles, is a completely real thing that actually exists.
Order our all-over print Catstronaut shirt now from our store to ensure delivery before Christmas!
According to the BBC:
“Follow JC Go!”, a Christian take on the game, lets players “catch” saints or Bible characters, instead of the little Japanese monsters.
The game is the brainchild of Fundación Ramón Pané, a Catholic evangelical group, which made it in preparation for World Youth Day 2019, a Catholic youth event taking place in Panama in January.
As with Pokemon Go, the game uses the player’s smartphone camera to take in their surroundings, then superimposes digital characters. But you’re more likely to find Saint Peter than Pikachu.
I feel the need to reiterate that this is really a real app.
I enjoy Pokemon Go. And as proof, let me show you my Pokemans:
So, of course I had to test out Follow JC Go! After all, what kind of science enthusiast would I be if I didn’t sample the game myself before writing an article?
The site reports that 43 designers, theologians, Bible experts, and Church historians have poured 32,000 work hours into the app since August 2016. It was reportedly financed with $500,000 of sponsorship and private donations.
On the Google store, early Android phone users have given the app a less-than-heavenly 3.2 stars out of five.
THIRTY-TWO THOUSAND HOURS OF DEVELOPMENT IN 26 MONTHS FOR A PHONE APP ABOUT A MADE-UP STORY?!?!
WOW. Just wow. Imagine if they spent half as much effort in addressing the rampant sexual abuse (and subsequent cover-up) of children in the Catholic Church.
Or imagine if they made an app that lets you track the Catholic Church’s sex offenders that they continue to hide and protect. Imagine how much more useful that would be!
Ahem. I’m sure that is on their “to do” list, though.
But yeah, the Google Play Store had it at a 3.2 out of 5, and some of the reviews were just delightful:
Probably my favorite review of it is “I wanted to burn heretics, but it wasn’t possible.”
Damn it, that really would have put it over the top. After all, what is this? Amateur hour?
But as the BBC points out, the app itself wasn’t made by the Vatican, though Francis is cool with it.
Though the app wasn’t made by the Vatican high command, the Pope is alleged to be a fan.
“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,” Ricardo Grzona, executive director of Fundación Ramón Pané, told Catholic news site Crux Now.
So I installed it, but was disappointed to learn that the entire app is in Spanish, and I only halfway paid attention to Spanish while in college.
That said, I pressed on and was again disappointed, but not surprised, that the app wanted more personal information about me than Facebook does, and even then didn’t have my actual country as an option.
Already off to a roaring start.
But my favorite part came when I got to choose my avatar. I went with the most badass one I could find:
Way to appeal to the kids!
And… I’ll be honest. I didn’t really feel like wasting my time playing it. So I looked around and saw that there were some saints in the lake by my house and clicked on… something that was nearby. It wasn’t very exciting but to be fair, I wasn’t actually interested in investing more time in learning about it.
I will say, ain’t nothin’ cooler than a punk Christian avatar. I mean, I guess?