Welcome the Guardians of An­cora

The Church of England - - FRONT PAGE - Mark Green, Scrip­ture Union

I’m sure the Minecraft revo­lu­tion has not passed you by – ev­ery day mil­lions of chil­dren go onto their con­soles, smart­phones and tablets to play a game where they build (and de­stroy) a world of their own. This is just the latest of a num­ber of games that have held the at­ten­tion and ac­tion of our chil­dren.

When we at Scrip­ture Union set out to ask our­selves the ques­tion of how to con­nect with all those chil­dren who don’t come near a church, we found our­selves ask­ing the ques­tion, well what if Bi­ble en­gage­ment was a video game?

Nearly five years af­ter those early dis­cus­sions, the first re­lease of Guardians of An­cora, Scrip­ture Union’s dig­i­tal game for chil­dren has been launched and is open­ing up the Bi­ble in a new ex­cit­ing and in­ter­ac­tive way for kids through­out the world. So what is it, and why are we do­ing it? As Scrip­ture Union ap­proaches its 150th an­niver­sary we’ve been ask­ing our­selves lots of ques­tions about who we are, and what we are called to do. It’s al­ways been an in­te­gral part of our mis­sion to reach out to chil­dren who haven’t heard the good news of Je­sus and how we do that has adapted as times have changed. From the first beach ac­tiv­ity in North Wales in 1867, through our trav­el­ling car­a­van mis­sions and on to to­day where our fastest grow­ing residential hol­i­day is The Voice, singing and record­ing pop songs.

As we looked at the sta­tis­tics of the lack of chil­dren in churches, and the level of Bi­ble lit­er­acy we were com­pelled to re­spond. For the ma­jor­ity of fam­i­lies the once fa­mil­iar Bi­ble sto­ries that spoke of God’s sal­va­tion for his peo­ple are com­pletely un­known, even the Christ­mas and Easter sto­ries have faded away in many schools.

Our re­sponse was to first look at the places we could con­nect with chil­dren or young peo­ple, and then how to de­liver the Bi­ble and the Good News of Je­sus in an ex­cit­ing and con­tem­po­rary way.

As we talked and con­sid­ered our ap­proach, we quickly de­cided that online en­gage­ment was key but we knew we had to do much more than build a web­site. Chil­dren love play­ing games, they al­ways have, so a Bi­ble-fo­cused dig­i­tal game seemed the ob­vi­ous route to take, al­low­ing us to meet chil­dren where they are and to reach way be­yond the church into net­works and com­mu­ni­ties that en­joyed games and be­ing online. With all that in mind, we set to work to de­velop a dig­i­tal game that could re­ally bring the Bi­ble to life for a new gen­er­a­tion – the re­sult was Guardians of An­cora. So what ex­actly is Guardians of An­cora? Built by one of the UK’s top chil­dren’s games de­sign­ers in con­sul­ta­tion with some world-class ex­perts (in­clud­ing a graphic de­sign con­sul­tant in Los An­ge­les work­ing with Pixar and Dis­ney), Guardians of An­cora is a com­pelling in­ter­ac­tive ex­pe­ri­ence for tablet de­vices that chil­dren of all ages will be ex­cited to play.

Chil­dren play as Guardians in the fic­tional city of An­cora with the im­por­tant task of dis­cov­er­ing the truth of the ‘saga’ sto­ries (Bi­ble sto­ries) and to bring those sto­ries back to re­store light to the city. Dis­cov­er­ing the truth of these Bi­ble sto­ries through ex­cit­ing game­play is at the game’s heart but chil­dren also get the op­por­tu­nity to re­flect on those ex­pe­ri­ences in ways that sup­port their own per­sonal faith for­ma­tion – some­thing that re­ally makes this game unique.

De­liv­er­ing a game of this stan­dard has not been a small ven­ture; in­deed it is Scrip­ture Union’s largestever pro­ject, and our prayer for Guardians of An­cora is that it will be much more than a game.

We pray it will be a key global mis­sion tool for evan­ge­lism to chil­dren.

Our com­mit­ment to get An­cora to launch, how­ever big a job that was, is dwarfed by our pas­sion to bring chil­dren to a re­la­tion­ship with our Saviour and we’re sure this game has the po­ten­tial to do just that.

If you feel inspired and want to help us to achieve all our plans, please con­sider do­nat­ing to the pro­ject, which can be done from links on the Guardians of An­cora web­site at www.guardian­so­fan­cora.com. You’ll also find out much more about the pro­ject on the web­site along with quick links to down­load the game for free in the Ap­ple, An­droid and Kin­dle Fire app stores.

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