MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — A Christian game developer has released an interactive storybook application to help make the message of the Gospel more accessible for kids.
“For children, we really want them to be exposed to the life of Jesus in a way that they can enjoy and connect with,” Brent Dusing, Lightside Games founder and CEO, told Catholic News Agency on June 6.
The app, “Journey of Jesus: His First Miracle,” hit the iTunes store June 5 and features chapters of Jesus' public ministry from the Bible that engages children and helps relay the story to them.
Admittedly, Dusing said, there are other secular and Christian storybook applications on the market, but what sets this one apart is its quality and “interactivity.”
“We thought this would be a great opportunity to build a great product and to teach kids about Jesus,” he said. “Not only to make it fun and interactive, but tell the story in a way that they would actually understand.”
In the first chapter, readers travel through the story of Jesus’ first miracle at the Wedding of Cana, when he turns water into wine. Leading up to that event, readers are exposed to the message of trusting in God by witnessing John baptizing Jesus and seeing how Jesus helped Peter pull in a big catch of fish.
“This chapter is about willing to trust Jesus,” Dusing said, “even when what he tells you to do doesn’t make sense to you.”
The app is rated for ages 4 and up, but Dusing said even his 2-year-old daughter enjoys “reading” it over and over again.
More chapters — “at least 10” — will be released once a month in the iTunes store. Lightside Games, based in Mountain View, Calif., has recently created a Facebook game based on the History Channel miniseries The Bible. Before that, the company released a Facebook game on the life of Moses and another on the life of Jesus.
Dusing said he was inspired to make an application for the iPad because of how much his own children use his as if it were their own, something he knows is not unique to just his family.
When parents let their kids play with their iPads or other interactive devices, it’s to “give them something to do.” This app, he says, also allows parents to “give our kids something that they can benefit from.”
Frequently, he said, Christian educational materials are marketed as “multivitamins.” In other words, it’s good for the kids but may not necessarily “taste good.”
This application, on the other hand, is more like “chocolate cake with vitamins in it,” Dusing said. “The kids will enjoy it a lot more, and it’s really good.”
Throughout the app, two characters, a little boy and girl, “hide” in different parts of the page and help summarize the story.
Children can chose from two different options when viewing the application: “Read to me” or “Read it myself.”
Dusing explained, “We basically try to put the story is terms children can connect with and understand. Even at a very young age, they can learn and walk away with something.”