Biblical Relevance in “King of Kings” by WisdomTree Arcade
The game “King of Kings” as presented by WisdomTree Arcade consists of three parts. All three are the same arcade format of moving from left to right trying to beat obstacles while maintaining high health levels. For bonus, you collect small pouches or fruit by jumping to reach them. The first part to the game is “The Wise Men” in which you play the character of a wise man trying to reach baby Jesus by following the North Star. You are riding on a jumping camel and you must pass many small obstacles that might hurt you such as crabs, snakes, and wolves. There are also objects that will simply knock you out of the way or off of a cliff if you’re not careful, like ducks!
On your journey, you collect containers of gold, frank incense, and myrrh to bring to baby Jesus according to the scripture. Each item you pick up gains you 50 bonus points at the end of the level. To increase your health you will come across small objects that resemble hour glasses. When you reach one, you are presented with a Bible Trivia question, where you must either fill in the blank of a verse or tell whether the verse is true or false according to the Bible. Once you have correctly answered the question, you receive your extra hour glass of health. The game also has an underworld which you are liable to fall into and have to start over, so don’t fall off of the edge! The other two adventures in this game are called “Flight to Egypt” in which you are Mary and you carry baby Jesus on a donkey all the way to Egypt with a similar game format. The third is called “Jesus and the Temple.” In this version, you are Joseph and you must reach the temple to find the lost toddler Jesus. In each scenario, you are faced with a task to complete to win the game. At the end of 10 levels of “The Wise Man” you finally reach the nativity scene (see picture) where baby Jesus lay waiting for you arrival. If you fall below ground level during the game or your health runs out, the game simply starts over at the beginning of the level. So, you never really die or lose, you just must persist until the game is won.
The Bible trivia during the game is aimed at helping you learn the scripture as well as advising your journey in life and in the game. WisdomTree Arcade is known for making many Christian based games, but they did not start out in the religious gaming field. Their parent company, Color Dreams, originally made non-licensed games to play on Nintendo and other gaming consoles. However, they faced difficulty when Nintendo blocked them out of the market using their leverage as such a big company. So, Color Dreams found the religious videogame market at Christian learning stores. They targeted the stores and advertised the product as a Mario-style game that would teach kids bible literacy. Since there were not many other Christian video games in stores like this, they took over the market despite the lack of top-notch graphics or playability of the game. The game “King of Kings” did not stem from a heavily religious background, but instead was catered specifically to a crowd interested in learning about Christianity. Its marketability lies in the Bible Trivia that is only partially necessary to complete the game. As long as you do not get hurt by the obstacles you pass, you technically never need answer a question correctly. So, the moral of this Christian Game with non-Christian roots is that you need to study the bible in times of peril, so it will help you overcome the obstacles on your journey. Likewise, if you are not affected by said obstacles, your health does not depend on biblical knowledge. I wonder if that’s what Wisdom Tree had in mind.