The role-playing adventure game The Aetherlight taps into a power as old as the Bible to teach players eternal truths

“Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable.” (Matthew 13:34)

During His ministry, Jesus never spoke to the crowds without telling a story. These parables are so powerful because they’re easy to remember—and come packed with a truth that lingers in your mind and finds its way into your heart.

Following the example of our Lord, a small New Zealand-based gaming studio has created an ambitious retelling of the Bible that’s an allegory where players can actually enter into the world of the story.

Scarlet City Studios was established to advance the historic mission of a postal Sunday school ministry. The company’s online adventure game The Aetherlight: Chronicles of the Resistance reimagines the grand tale of the Bible as a steampunk, allegorical story that’s both entertaining and educational.


Our brains are wired to be more receptive to stories than to cold facts. It’s how God created us.

In a 2006 study, researchers found that when we listen to a plain presentation with bullet points, certain parts in the brain get activated. We decode words into meaning–and then the mental process stops. But when we hear a story, more parts of our brain are activated–including the parts that would’ve been activated if we’d actually experienced the events of the story in person.

This is why God so often reaches out to us through storytelling.

“We forget that the Bible is essentially a book of God-inspired stories,” notes pastor Rick Warren. “That’s how God has chosen to communicate His Word to human beings.”

“God chose not to hand us a list of truths about Himself, or an instruction manual, but an epic story in which He reveals Himself,” says Marijke Hoek of the Evangelical Alliance. “The Church has at times been scared of story, treating the narratives just as a source from which to distill doctrines, which somehow are seen as a purer, safer truth. Yet storytelling is an important part of formation of the Christian community and integral to the dynamic of teaching.”


The heroes of The Aetherlight are modeled after the real-life heroes of the Bible. The interactive game pulls players into the narrative, teaching the truths of the Bible in a vivid way.

With such strong biblical themes, the game has attracted partnerships with the American Bible Society, World Vision and Tyndale House Publishers. There’s even a companion Bible.

Tim Cleary, a former youth pastor who now serves as The Aetherlight’s “World Builder,” says that telling the story as a game creates a ministry experience uniquely suited to today’s children.

“This digital generation wants to actively participate rather than simply consume content,” he says. “And we’ve built that into the game. But ultimately, we have a set story to tell—and it’s the most important retelling of the story you’re ever going to hear!”

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