Since I have contacts with a number of Quaker institutions, I got this advance notice from the Quaker United Service (QUS) that I thought sounded pretty cool and relevant to this blog. The Religious Society of Friends -- better known as the Quakers -- will be launching this December a new online roleplaying game "The World of PeaceCraft." Here's the description from the draft press release:
The Quaker United Service is pleased to announce the beta-release of the new MMORPG "World of PeaceCraft," the first massive online game for a Christian religious denomination. Full of fun quests and adventures, the WoP will extend traditional Quaker values and historic testimonies -- such as their work to end the slave trade, protesting against war, and worshipping in silence -- into an immersive, 3D environment.
Not just for Quakers, the game promises to be inclusive of those from other faiths and spiritual traditions. WoP CEO Thad Thomas promises that "whether you are a Buddhist, Muslim, Jew or just a curious agnostic, you will find much to do and enjoy in World of PeaceCraft."
Different quests will take you back in time in Quaker history, according to the notice. You begin in 17th Century England, as you walk in the shoes of Quaker founder George Fox, preaching against the evils of war and unjust rule, meeting in clandestine locations to avoid persecution, and facing beatings and imprisonment at every turn. Then you are transported to the early 1800s in the United States, helping shepherd escaped slaves to freedom as part of the Underground Railroad. Later quests involve you in the women's suffrage movement, the civil rights movement, and the anti-death penalty and anti-war protests of today.
It's not all about activism of course. Quaker motivation comes from a deep connection to the Divine (what some call Jesus, and others the Light). So your game character must regularly come together in Meeting for Worship with other players to replenish your "Inner Light" meter before going back out into the world to fight for the causes of justice, peace and equality. Twenty-five historically accurate Quaker meetinghouses can be visited, conferring different abilities to the attender, from enhanced peacemaking to strength in adversity and vocal ministry.
I'm not much of a gamer, but I have to say, this sounds like a pretty awesome way to bring people into our faith.
World of PeaceCraft (PC and Mac versions available) is due out in stores and online by early December 2008.