NOTICE!: Pre-play tip – Walking can be done by tapping the arrow keys instead of using the walking man cursor. Do not hold the key down. Just single tap in a direction to have your character walk as far in that direction as possible. I apologize for not putting that tip in this version of the game. Also, after having playtesters try out the game, I discovered some problems with navigation:
EDIT!: Served piping hot, it’s version 1.3 with even less bugs! The new version is below at the same link. After many other playtesters, I was able to fix some issues and add content that made concepts easier to understand. There are now paths and signs everywhere, making navigation more apparent. There was also a game crashing bug that was fixed and edits made to some cutscenes. Certain puzzles are also now easier and more bug free!
I apologize for using dropbox. I could not find another way to share an .exe file. Let me know if you have any problems with it.
My inspiration came from multiple sources. I am critical by simultaneously fascinated by religion. I am also fascinated with the role of the author especially in the realm of video games. In Roger Ebert’s testimonial against games as art, he uses Romeo and Juliet as an example of a non-fiction story that would not work with branching narrative. I wanted to disprove him by telling a story about Jesus. For this project, I wanted to create an interactive fiction with multiple endings in a critically unique non-fiction(?) setting. Jesus is a very controversial figure and he is in a unique position because there are multiple interpretations of him by different groups. I wanted to prove that non-fiction. As a disclaimer: This is satire, but don’t intend the game to be an “everything that’s wrong with religion” game. This is an experiment that I had a little bit of fun with at the expense of religion.
Story-wise, I wanted to create a game that allowed multiple parties to look at Jesus in a different way. Perhaps a Christian might be offended, but they might also see Jesus from someone else’s point of view or learn to lighten up. Perhaps an atheist might be bored, but they might be a little bit more interested in learning about religion. These are lofty goals for such a small project, but they were what I had in mind while making it.
The title is WWJD: The Gospel of You, because I wanted it to reflect that this is a story about individual experience. It is your Gospel and you are telling it in a way that YOU understand it.
Because I was short on time and working alone, I opted to go for a very minimalist style. This helped get my point across in a small way in that the very apparent pixels constantly remind the player that this is a video game. The images above are my sprites, which if blown up any more would look like a mush of pixels. In the game they look just fine at full screen. The sprites and backgrounds in the game animate, but very subtly.
NOTICE!: Pre-walkthrough tip – Walking can be done by tapping the arrow keys instead of using the walking man cursor. Do not hold the key down. Just tap in a direction to have your character walk as far in that direction as possible. I apologize for not putting that tip in this version of the game.
I went through a number of different phases. Originally, I intended to have the player collect each apostle individually, but that proved too large a project. The final product features stories that are summaries and combinations of actual bible stories.
- Jesus meets four of the apostles while fishing. I just lumped them all into the same story.
- The Sermon on the Mount did not feature any apostle recruiting.
- The ‘Temptation of Christ’ featured 3 tests, not just one
I also meant to cover a large number of different ideas about Jesus, but I ended up having to cut them down a great deal. Judaism and Christianity are covered as is the Dan Brown popular opinion that Jesus married Mary Magdalene (although I wasn’t able to add as much of her as I wanted to). Satan is covered as my own little side story. SPOILERS: I just like the idea of Jesus and Satan getting along.
I asked many friends (of different religious affiliations) what it would take to get them to play a game about Jesus Christ. The dinosaur was the result of discussion with a friend. He is pointless, but I like that he is included. I also did a lot of research about the Apostles, most of which I ended up not using. There are a number of in religious jokes in the game. If you ever had Sunday school, you may understand some of them. Judas, known as being the betrayer, is covered with flies and has red eyes. He insists, if you talk to him, that he is not going to betray you. This was to potentially reign in a religious crowd who might see this as a game entirely made to offend.
My main issues had to do with walking the line between multiple ideologies and morphing these well-known stories into puzzles. Some stories had to be changed or expanded in order to become interesting gameplay-wise. Some stories had to change in order to accommodate the length of my game.
I also wish that I had been able to add music, but I couldn’t get sounds working in the Adventure Game Studio.
Unlock Peter (and co.) as an Apostle: If you go to the docks by left clicking the dock sign, with the hand cursor, you will encounter 4 men engrossed by their fishing. They will not talk with you unless you walk on the water that they’re staring at. Just click on the water with the stick man or use the arrow key and walk over there. They will react. Peter will fall in the water. Click on him with the hand cursor (QUICKLY! Or he will drown!) to save him. He will then join you.
Unlock Satan as an Apostle: Grab the bread in the desert at the beginning of the game. This will make Satan appear at the Sermon on the Mount where you can select him as a disciple. In order for him to be selectable, you cannot have already selected your apostles. He shows up in your ending if you select him. If you selected Judas, he will save you from the cross. If not, he will simply show up and give moral support.
Unlock Mary as an Apostle: When you come across a house in the background, enter it. A demon will talk with you briefly before God tells you to ‘lay hands on her’. Use the ‘act’ cursor (the one shaped like a hand) and click on her. She will teleport somewhere else on the map. Her teleporting is random, but she cannot appear in Jerusalem or at the Sermon on the Mount as a demon. A short timer starts each time she teleports so if you happen to touch her and she appears in the very next room, you can tag her multiple times. After 7 tags, she becomes regular Mary Magdalene and then proceeds to the Sermon on the Mount. In order to select her, you must not have done the Sermon on the Mount.
Unlock Mary’s marriage proposal: If you save Mary from the demons (see above), grab the bread in the desert, AND select her as an apostle, she will approach you and ask you to marry her. She will appear in various endings if you marry her. My personal favorite: If you get the ‘Judaism’ ending after having married Marry, the game ends with her standing pregnant at the cross after your death. Jesus Jr!
Unlock ‘Christian’ ending: The Christian ending is not the good ending. It is the most complicated to achieve though. In order to achieve the Christian ending, you must: Unlock Peter as an apostle, save Mary but DO NOT choose her as an apostle, do not choose the bread in the desert, and choose all the correct apostles at the mount (This is all of the apostles at the Mount except Paul, Matthias, Mary, and Satan. Choose 8 apostles, but DO NOT choose those 4 if you want the Christian ending.)
Unlock ‘Judaism’ ending: Do not choose Satan as an apostle. There are no other requirements. You could pretty much just walk through the whole game and ignore all quests and get the Judaism ending. In this ending, Jesus is just a man and he dies like a man.
Judas Tips: Endings vary if you do not choose Judas (the guy with the red eyes and the buzzing flies at the Mount). If you do choose him, Jesus appears on the cross at the end. If you do not choose him, Jesus is not betrayed and a different ending ensues.
EDIT: I apologize for the late posts. I had more bugs to figure out than I thought I did and then I got caught up in making fixes and content.
My playtesters fell for the bread at the beginning of the game almost immediately. Both of them figured out that they could walk on water, but one of them didn’t react quick enough to save Peter before he drowned. Both of them got the ending where Satan becomes an Apostle. After multiple tries, neither of them got the ‘Christian’ ending, which works well. Knowledge of the Bible and gaming is required.
“That’s… pretty blasphemous,” an onlooker said as the Satan ending started.
I expect that a Christian with gaming experience playing might do better at getting the Christian ending in that they might correctly gather the apostles.
EDIT AGAIN: I was finally able to play with someone who had some foreknowledge of the Bible. He is critical of religion, but still considers himself religious and grew up very religious. He was the only of my players to realize that the ‘bread’ in the desert was meant to not be picked up. Even after the forewarning, players who did not know the Temptation of Christ story were driven by their knowledge of games to pick the bread up. This tester avoided it and went all the way through the desert. He also deliberately did not pick Judas and was the only one who did so. This got him another ending that was far different from other player’s endings where Christ is not crucified at all. He was ecstatic that this was a possibility. He even played again to try to save Peter and get one of the Satan endings after .
“Did Andy actually read the Bible to do this?” he commented to someone else when I was out of the room. I still need to get someone to play who is very religious, despite the backlash that is likely to happen, but I was very excited to have seen such a drastic impact in choice when a religious person played the game.