I often use Minecraft to engage children with the things of God. A friend knew that I used Minecraft and so while attending CPC in 2015, he introduced me to a video game called “The Aetherlight”. I was interested in the game, but I did not think much about it because it was still in development. This year at CPC, I was invited over to the Aetherlight booth to learn more about the game and the progress they had made over the last year.
As the game and all of its features were explained, I was very impressed. I liked what I saw, but I wondered what it would really be like while playing the game. Was this really an allegory as they said, could you see, and learn more about God while playing the game?
I decided to purchase the game and see for myself. I opted to purchase the “Strategist” level because I wanted to receive a copy of the Aetherlight Companion Bible when it was released in July.
When I began to play, I did not see the Biblical connection. I enjoyed playing the game for the game, battling Automatons, crafting weapons and items, and completing missions. I showed it to some youth that I lead and they began to play the game. Some even decided to purchase it. As we went further in the game, some of the battles and missions were more difficult. We decided to join forces and play together which allowed us both to make the needed progress in the game. This is where the Bible came to life in the game.
When you install the game and set up your character, you also provide an e-mail for a parent. There are many safeguards to protect the children who are playing. As you progress in the game, the parent receives an e-mail. The first e-mail showed the parent the correlation between the game and the Bible. This was key when I played the game with the youth (their parent had also received the e-mail). The e-mail gives the parent “talking points” to help connect the Bible to the game. When I saw the e-mail and who the characters in the game represented, I was able to make an immediate connection. Back to when I was playing with the youth…
We worked together in a key turning point of the game. I was able to engage this youth to help them begin making the connection between the game and the Bible. As we progressed, I knew which portion of the Bible was being portrayed and as it progressed and his parent and I initiated discussion, they were able to make the connections on their own as well. It was fascinating watching “the light come on” as this youth played the game and saw the Biblical connection.
When I saw the e-mail explaining the comparison of the game with the Bible, it illuminated a whole new interest in the game. There is also a portion of the game where in the game itself, the player compares the story to the Bible to earn rewards, etc.
Is the Aetherlight engaging for youth? Yes it is.
Is the Aetherlight Biblical? I would answer with a resounding YES!
This is a game that not only engages the child, but it also provides the parent with a way to talk about the game with their child. A way to make the connection to the things of God, to the Bible; allowing the parent to be the primary spiritual influencer.
I highly recommend this game for your child. In fact, it does not just have my endorsement, the American Bible Society has partnered with them!
If I would have known the impact of the game, I would have probably purchased the Recruiter pack…. and I may just do that because I would love to give away an access key to the game to one or more people who read this blog.
Take a look at the Aetherlight and let me know your thoughts by commenting below.