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The Experimental Gameplay Project brings together all the indie dudes in the house, gives them a topic, and says, “Go. Make a game.” March’s topic: “10 seconds.” So what did Paolo Pedericini do? He condensed the holy gospel into ten seconds with Run, Jesus Run! a.k.a. The 10 Second Gospel.
Blasphemy? Pssh. When the instructions are “Move with arrow keys. Space: Do Jesus Things,” you know you’re about to witness… something. And something it is.
Ten seconds isn’t a lot of time. You rush through a 2D, 8-bit representation of the life of Jesus Christ (starting in the manger and ending with His death) and perform miracles on the way to the last supper and – eventually – His crucifixion. Only when you play as Jesus could dying also mean winning. For humanity!
You avoid Satan, feed the hungry, walk on water, cure the blind, raise the dead, and… hit a block in the sky to rain down love on His disciples. It even makes the Mario noise when you hit the block. Nifty! Jesus = Mario?
At the end of the game, you get apostles based on how effectively you emulated the Messiah. It kind of makes me wish that I was rated in every game on a scale of x/12 apostles. “You saved the princess and only took one warp pipe! 10/12 apostles.” “You shot the food! 0/12 apostles.”
The game is so simple (what do you expect – it was made in twelve hours). You just run and jump and do Jesus things. Like any biblical game, however, there is a message. At the top right-hand corner of every miracle-making screen, you’ll see the bible passage that your particular Jesus task was taken from: Luke 4: 1-13, John 6: 1-14, etc., but it’s up to you to do the further research if you want to read about Jesus helping Lazarus or feeding the hungry.
Mollieindustria, the game’s developer, claims that RJR is “a kind of prequel of Everyday the Same Dream,” but they have an entirely different feeling and aesthetic. (EtSD is highly recommended as well, although for entirely different reasons.) Maybe they just meant prequel as “a game set in an earlier time period and using the same controls,” because then technically that’d be true. Ah well.
One special aspect worth noting: the soundtrack is a chiptunes version of the Sonseed song “Jesus is My Friend,” a Christian ska pop song that became a three-million-view YouTube internet meme in 2008. Check out how great this song is, and then imagine it in glorious mono chiptunes!
There are also a handful of remixes (this is the best one, by far), but you might not have known the song’s basis otherwise. Being made aware of this adds an extra two layers of awesome sauce to Run, Jesus Run!
What else is there to say about a ten-second game? It looks like it’d be right at home on the Atari 5200, but in a cool Arkedo retro kind of way. Including Jesus as the only character makes you unsure if playing this miniature game is actually blasphemy (even just a little bit), but you get over it when you remember that there are gospel passage references in the upper corner. If you are blaspheming, at least it’s for only ten seconds, right? It’s like the ten-second rule if you drop your unleavened bread.
Run, Jesus Run! might be a joke. Or, it might be an incentive to pick up that bible you’ve never read, sitting on your dusty bookshelf next to the Xbox 360 that you fire up daily. Or it might just be ten seconds that you’re glad you spent on something that doesn’t involve ripping zombies’ spinal cords out and drinking the fluid. Wholesome games can be fun too! If they’re creative.
Play it here.
Gamer Limit gives Run, Jesus Run! a 9/10.