Welcome the Guardians of Ancora
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.