“Play the first ever video game about Jesus! A fun adventure quest game where your overcome obstacles, fulfill missions, and participate in miracles. Play the story of Jesus!”
Interested? That’s the basic outline of Journey of Jesus, a new Facebook game that lets players travel back to ancient Palestine and watch the story of Jesus unfold.
Made by Lightside Games, it is an attempt to tap into the roughly 300 million “social gamers” in an attempt to make religion cool and hip for the Facebook generation. Or something. Lightside’s previous foray into this arena was Journey of Moses.
Although the company tries to stay “true to the message of God’s Word as revealed in the Holy Bible,” it’s also an annoying Facebook game, so it suffers from the same shortcomings as games like Farmville. Each accomplishment is followed by a prompt to tell your friends about it, some tasks can only be completed with other players, and other parts of the game require you to wait an arbitrary amount of time before coming back to claim some sort of reward. (It’s the type of game that game designer Ian Bogost calls “cow clickers.” Click on a cow, wait a day, click on it again.)
If that weren’t bad enough, the game barely features Jesus anyway. In my 40 minutes of playing Journey of Jesus, I got a brief glimpse of the messiah but spent the rest of my time endlessly clicking around the screen in order to complete menial tasks for my worthless friends like gathering pebbles, watering flowers and chopping at random debris in order to clear the path. Because something is always in the goddamn way. After clearing trees and thornbushes for the zillionth time, it feels like you’re playing The Life of George W. Bush.
Also, your character does a whole lot more for the people than Jesus. While he’s off in the desert, you run around renovating buildings, cleaning up after a shipwreck, and feeding the hungry masses. Hell, some people can’t even be bothered to witness Jesus’s miracles before you feed them. (One woman wanted six pomegranates before she’d see Jesus. Six pomegranates! Who can eat that many?)
Despite all this, Journey of Jesus has already racked up over 4,400 users in less than a week. Incidentally, it was released the same day as the hotly anticipated Diablo III. New storylines are still being added; the latest addition to Journey of Jesus is about chasing money changers out of the temple, which is always a blast.
Journey of Jesus