The first-ever Catholic video game for children has been launched by Loyola Press in Chicago. Wanderlight: A Pilgrim’s Adventure is a single-player game for computer and tablet in which the player takes on the role of a pilgrim.
Loyola Press, an apostolic work of the Society of Jesus, has developed two versions of the game. One is geared toward school and parish religious education classes and can be accessed at wanderlightgame.com. The solo version, for at-home play, can be downloaded from the Google or Apple app stores.
Joellyn Cicciarelli, President, and Publisher of Loyola Press says the video game has been a dream for Loyola Press for about a decade and has been in development in earnest for over two years. The game works by letting the child be a pilgrim who “goes on a variety of quests, through a beautiful world, to learn about the Catholic faith and to also learn how to become a disciple of Jesus Christ and shine his or her light in the world.”
She says the press wanted the game to be the antithesis of any video game that was ever developed before. “So the goal is literally to love and not to hate or kill. The player is a peaceful, peaceful pilgrim and not a warrior, and also the Holy Spirit, represented by a dove, is the pilgrim’s helper and guide, not a weapon. As they play the game the children can collect items, navigate mazes, solve puzzles, and overcome challenges.”
As players progress through the seven levels, they can learn about the sacraments, prayer, and the lives of the saints. The game itself is largely inspired by Ignatian spirituality and St. Ignatius is the first saint the player meets as they play. “St. Ignatius, referring to how we can help people come closer to Christ, said, ‘go in their door and take them out yours,'” says Joellyn. “We feel like this video game,” she adds, “especially in the time of COVID-19, is a way to go in kids’ doors and then take them out, to live peaceful, calm, good, healthy, kind lives, and to be disciples of Christ and the Catholic faith.”
One special feature in the game is the player’s Prayer Tent. ” This tent provides a vast array of prayer experiences and serves as a time out when players want to have a place to spend some quiet time. There is even an interactive rosary,” says Joellyn, adding, “We’ve found that our testers love spending time in the prayer tent along with the ‘favorites’ feature, where they can mark prayers as favorites.” In addition to the Prayer Tent, Loyola has built-in a variety of concept-reinforcing mini-games that children can play when they want a break from the quests.
As it is the first computer game of its kind Joellyn Cicciarelli says, “It’s a rare opportunity for families to be catechised together, and for players to be inspired to look for God in all things and live out the faith in the real world.”