It can be a challenge to excite young people about the stories of the Bible, and it can be even harder when those stories have been told and retold so many times they seem to hold no surprises or insights any more. The better known the narrative, the more inoculated some children seem to be to the wonder of God’s story in those pages. That’s why we are excited about the work Scarlet City Studios is doing with The Aetherlight: Chronicles of the Resistance.
The game tells the story of the Bible in an allegorical world, with fantastical inventions and exciting characters that capture the imagination and slip “under the radar” of a generation that might have seen one too many flannelgraphs. The latest Aetherlight release is the third episode, which introduces Jefferson, a brilliant but unintentionally arrogant scientist who may hold the key to saving the game world of Aethasia from a global catastrophe. It is an allegorical retelling of the story of Joseph, and it creates a way for young people to interact with the story beyond the surface facts they are used to hearing.
Jefferson has a remarkable and colorful mechanical suit, a nod to the technicolor coat everyone knows so well, and his story is picked up at the point where Joseph is thrown in a pit by his brothers. In the game, Jefferson has been researching the melting of the arctic Snowmoors region, but before he can complete his work, he is falsely accused and imprisoned by a vindictive recruit from the Usurper’s academy. While being held in the Grease Pits, he shows his capacity for problem solving and leads the player to solve the meltdown crisis there. The overseer of the Snowmoors, Baron Fairrow, then commissions him to repeat the task for the entire region, and in doing so he is reunited with the rest of the Resistance and helps complete their mission.
While there are obvious touchpoints in the story, what is most exciting about this retelling is the way the game explores the deeper themes of the scriptural narrative. The game’s creators have taken pains to explore what the story is about. From the outset, players are aware that they have been prepared for what is ahead, even if they don’t understand how or why. As the game unfolds, those preparations become apparent, revealing how even in the midst of Joseph’s troubles, God’s purposes were being worked out. Similarly, while the events of Joseph’s story are recognizable in the adventures in Aethasia, the deeper themes of Genesis come to life for players. Jefferson’s insistence on solving the problem of the environment melting reflects the heart of God to preserve life—all life—that is seen in the way the Egyptian famine was averted in Joseph’s day. As they work through challenges alongside the brilliant young scientist, players are given the opportunity to understand how God uses people’s skills and availability when they acknowledge his call. While the game’s central figure, the Scarlet Man—a kind of “Angel of the Lord” figure, a representation of the various theophanies of the Old Testament, who leads and guides the Resistance—is notably absent throughout this chapter of the adventure, his involvement behind the scenes is clear. This is shown most vividly in the Dreamweaver device players are able to craft, a tool that lets them see hidden clues and objects, preparations the Scarlet Man has made for them without them even realizing they were there.
Engaging young people with the Bible is a vital part of their spiritual formation, and inviting them to see their part in the grand narrative of Scripture will always be of the utmost importance. We are excited to see tools like The Aetherlight taking this challenge seriously and offering creative ways for kids to participate in the story of God and understand its rich relevance and timeless truths in a way they can call their own. The third episode of this groundbreaking game continues that trend, and we look forward to many more biblical stories coming to life for the next generation through the land of Aethasia.
Enter to win a FREE Bible and a FREE The Aetherlight: Chronicles of the Resistance game key! We’re giving away 10 of each to 10 lucky winners!
Here’s how to enter:
Fill out the Gleam form below. Follow the directions to earn extra entries. We’ll chose 10 winners on December 7th!