By Stevie Buckley
Remember the all-encompassing Pokémon Go hype about two years ago? Well, the hype is back with a similar game, but this time you’re catching saints instead of mythical (and at this stage legendary) creatures. ‘Follow JC Go!’ is a game where you catch saints, collect appearances of the Virgin Mary and collect spirituality (health), food (well, just bread) and water (I wonder if the game turns it into wine?). To collect saints and appearances, you have to answer a true or false question about that saint or appearance correctly, which, despite what you may think, is harder than just throwing a ball at a creature. I decided to download it to see what the hype was about.
The first thing I hit after downloading this game was a problem- there’s a language barrier, as the game can only be played in Spanish at the moment. They say you will be able to choose English soon, but how soon? This is a problem for a lot of people. For example, I only have basic Spanish. It was enough to get past the account registration page but that’s about it. Some people who may want to play it have no Spanish at all. I have to guess at what the questions say as all I can understand are numbers, which really peeves me off. Also, in relation to this, you can only collect Spanish saints at the moment.
Another problem I found with it was the sheer invasiveness of the sign-up process. These questions are only optional, but it asks you which diocese and parish you happen to live in. Location services (which need to be turned on to play the game) can tell them where you are, so why try to narrow down where you live to the parish? Next, they’ll be asking who your parish priest is. I’m guessing that the Catholic Church is just that nosey, to be honest. Yes, this game was sponsored by the Catholic Church and even got the Pope’s blessing. The game was made by a Spanish company with affiliations with the Catholic Church and cost an exorbitant $500,000 to make.
This game has gotten some hilarious reviews on the Google Play app store. Someone rated it the full five stars saying, “This game really makes me feel like Batman”. Another reviewer, who also rated it five stars says, among other things, “My children have been made fools by the evil beasts of Satanmon, as we at the Moms for Christ movement like to call it”, which was even more entertaining when I realised it came from someone called Robert who, based on that name, isn’t likely to be in the “Moms for Christ” movement. There are also some people giving a twist on social commentary in their reviews, such as tax breaks for the Catholic Church and the clerical abuse scandal.
I played this game for a few days and, other than the fact that I only found one saint due to the language barrier, it wasn’t the worst. It was no Pokémon Go though, the graphics are childish and simplistic and there isn’t as much variety in the game as there is in Pokémon Go – the same few saints can be found everywhere. And yes, I still play Pokémon Go as it will definitely get me fitter than Follow JC Go! ever will. Follow JC Go! has an odd concept but to each their own, I guess.
Image credit Follow JC Go!