Combining pokemon with mobile phone technology led to incredible success for Niantic with Pokemon Go with combining real world locations and with mobile phones play as a pokemon trainer in those locations. Pokemon Go Is still being added to and has been a massive commercial success since 2016 has led to similar games following Niantic’s lead but the latest of those Follow JC Go! from followers of the Catholic church in tracking down saints and other bible characters appearing on the phone screen instead of pokemon. The use of real world locations prompts users to pray if passing a church or for the sick if in a hospital as well as promoting donating to charity.
Inspired by Fundacion Ramon Pane, an Evangelical group, as part of the preparation for World Youth Day in January 2019 held in Panama. Playing the game you progress by collecting items such as food, water and spirituality and answering bible themed questions when coming across biblical figures akin to pokemon or pokestops but without the Japanese creatures. The game shares other traits with Pokemon Go, the in game map looks similar with Follow JC Go! and form groups called eTeams which also include other real players so gives the social component of Pokemon Go too.
While not involved in creation or development the game is supported by the Vatican and the pope and is an interesting approach to inspiring more people to involved in the Catholic faith so shall see where it leads and it would be equally interesting to see if this could be carried over into other religions and faiths and introducing people, particularly younger people to this.
Follow JC Go! is available on IOS and Android but currently only in Spanish but English and Italian versions are in the works.