Heaven Mobile (JRPG-SMILE Game Builder)
Heaven Mobile began as a Student Innovation Project for the University of Advancing Technology. Heaven was developed to help non-Christian gamers know who Jesus is through gameplay. Simultaneously it is created to take Christians to the bounds of ethics and morals and bring them back to a better understanding of humanity's distance from God due to Sin.
When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked the disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
– Mark 2:16-17
Mark provides a simple teaching to remind us (Christians) that we cannot reach out to the people of the world if we stick to our own. In this fashion Christians are to be the light in the darkness and to do this we must enter dark places.
Heaven is a game designed to not only teach Christian doctrine and Biblical scripture to Christian gamers, but to captivate the non-Christian gamer to know who Jesus is. Heaven drifts from the conventional Christian game by implementing the violence, addictions, and choices that are not only conflicts that people live with everyday, but are conflicts within the very book that is read by Christians everyday the Bible.
The problem is that there are many places (both physical and mental) that were once considered dark places. In Oxford, Connecticut Reverend John Donnelly of Christ Church Quaker Farms drinks at a bar while holding Bible study. This is a great way to shine light within the darkness. In the music industry today Christian musicians are no longer hanging on to the mundane hymns we all know and love, but are utilizing different genres to pull in people. Rappers like NF and Lacrae rap about the struggles of life but preach time and time again about God’s love, mercy, and grace. In the same manner Heaven will take the culture of the AAA Gamer enthusiast and embrace it while sharing the Bible.
Most Christian games in the market try to tackle the teachings by having the setting within Biblical times. Usually these games let you play characters within the stories or interact with these characters. Other games with Biblical themes destroy the story by changing its meaning or changing the record. When it comes to the educational aspect of Christian games, the game play becomes too trivial, much like most educational games. Heaven will step out of the ordinary Christian boundaries by tackling everyday problems and sins that everyone deals with. It will blend scripture in the game play without interrupting the player’s immersion by implementing scriptures within the puzzles, riddles, dialogue, and other obstacles that make up the pacing of the levels.
For example, if the theme is about Noah’s ark, puzzles might include two, three-sided pillars that are movable, each side with an image and at least a matching image on each pillar. The player would have to move the pillars in a way to match up two of the same animals to continue. Riddles include an inscription that reads “How many of each kind of animal did Moses let into the ark?” and a list of answers will be shown. Dialogue might include information, and obstacles could include enemies that are characters or beasts in the Bible.
Another difference Heaven offers from other Christian RPG’s is the ‘Armor of God’ aspect. Traditionally the Armor of God is symbolic, and every piece of armor has a trait, i.e. Helmet of salvation, Belt of truth, and Sword of spirit. Some games make these items literal, and so will Heaven with the exception of the sword and shield. The player will be able to choose a different weapon (fighting) style; bow and arrows, duel-wield (swords, axes, etc.), pole arm, and even rifles and other guns. This weapon choice will be final but the player will be able to choose different weapons for the companions they gain during the game’s storyline.
Additionally weapons and armor will be customizable as in appearance and stats, for example, if a sword is chosen, it can have a different shape to look like a katana, a falchion, or a scimitar. The weapon can also have a customized hilt and color. The weapon can also give damage of fire, ice, poison, etc. depending on the player’s choice. Other items, such as boots, can give the player advantage in sneaking, height of jumps, or speed.