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"The Light of a Thousand Stories": Design, Play and Community in the Christian Videogame Guardians of Ancora

Hutchings, Tim


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Assistant Professorin Religious Ethics


Understanding a videogame requires attention to the social dimensions of its production, its material form and its reception. Games are produced in communities of designers, played by communities of gamers, and accepted into families, households, and other communal settings. Christian games have often been designed with this wider community context in mind, advertised to families and churches as products that can help attract and retain new audiences.
This article focuses on the children’s videogame Guardians of Ancora (GoA), produced by the Christian organization Scripture Union in 2015. We will use an interview with the product developer to explore the intent behind the game, and we will use an interview with a British volunteer at ‘St. George’s Church’ to discover how the game has been used within a Christian community. GoA incorporates a degree of procedural rhetoric (Bogost 2007) into its design, but St. George’s invites children to engage with the game’s story and world in the context of a week of crafts, songs and other volunteer-led activities. Scholars of digital religion have long been fascinated by the relationship between online and offline religion, and the study of the social context of religious gaming offers a new way to approach this classic theme.


Hutchings, T. (2019). "The Light of a Thousand Stories": Design, Play and Community in the Christian Videogame Guardians of Ancora. Online - Heidelberg Journal of Religions on the Internet, 14, 159-178.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 12, 2019
Online Publication Date Apr 8, 2019
Publication Date Apr 8, 2019
Deposit Date Aug 20, 2019
Publicly Available Date Aug 21, 2019
Publisher Heidelberg University Publishing
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 14
Article Number 8
Pages 159-178
Keywords videogames; digital religion
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