Matthew Paul Turner at Jesus Needs New PR found this new Facebook game, “Holy Town.” Apparently it’s a Christian game in the style of Farmville, where you build a church, preach sermons and try to save souls.
I rolled my eyes at first, but then I thought, “why not?” We have sim games where you play a god and sim games where you get to run the afterlife, why not a sim game where you get to be a preacher?
I suspect that I’d want a more nuts-n-bolts approach than Holy Town is going to provide. I’d like to see a game where you really micromanage a church, handling the finances and personnel while trying to customize your message to fit the demographic of you neighborhood. Place appropriate buzzwords in the sermons and leaflets to draw in the right crowd and watch the money pour in.(I just know that someone out there with actual experience in church administration just read that last line and is laughing bitterly. It’s a video game, whattaya want? Starting a civilization probably isn’t as easy as Sid Meier made it out to be either.)
Pull in donations, and reinvest them in the church. Expand, explore and exploit the religious sensibilities of your community. I can’t figure out how to work in the last X of the “4X game” genre: exterminate. Maybe if you’re pentecostal you could exterminate demons or something. Anyway, the hardest challenge would be passing on your new megachurch to a chosen successor without seeing the whole thing collapse.
I suppose there could be a “good” version that keeps a score based on dedicated attendance, and a “televangelist” version where you score “hypocrisy points.” Extra points for spending the church donations on a new yacht on which to entertain Hollywood stars and starlets the very same week you preached a sermon against greed and lust.
Come on, you could be the next (virtual) Rick Warren. What would you like to see in a sim-church game?