September 23, 2013

Candy Crush for God

I’ve finally stopped playing candy crush. Truth be told, it wasn’t rock-star self-control that pulled the plug but rather a program error in one of the 300 levels that kept freezing the iPad, despite a few (hundred) attempts. Eventually, even I can stop banging my head futilely.

In the open space created by time-not-playing-candy-crush, I’ve begun to wonder: How can the church create something fun and viral? Why isn’t there some fun video game or smartphone app that’s related in some way to faith—or at least to the traditions of the church? 

Before you dismiss the idea completely, consider that someone, somewhere thought up the idea of crushing pieces of candy by lining up three or more in a row. And people bought it. And played it. And obsessed about it. I suspect if the idea of candy crush had been pitched in a boardroom, it would have been laughed at and dismissed. So who’s to say that some game about swinging a thurifer might not appeal to folks? Lighting the torches? Passing the peace? Maybe there’s a storytelling site with interactive stained glass windows: open them to learn more about the martyrs and saints of the church. There’s plenty of blood and guts in those stories, and if we run out, we can always turn to scripture. In the beginning, one brother kills another. And Eve is seduced by a snake. Seems like rich fodder for our soap-opera-seeking society. 

I propose a challenge to gamers and designers and all sorts of creative folks: Create a video game or interactive app that not only appeals to people but also engages them in a way that could strengthen or deepen their faith. 

Why shouldn’t we use modern tools to convey the Great Story? After all, we’d simply be following in the footsteps of Jesus and his parables.