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Learn the Biblical Story of Jonah

On 16, Sep 2015 | In Jewish Holidays, Apps | By

Jonah Run: An Infinite Runner Game set in Temple Times brings the famous haftarah to life with one of today’s most popular gaming genres.

Today, G‑dcast launched a free download game designed for Yom Kippur called Jonah Run. In the style of the popular infinite runner game, it includes chiptune musical adaptations of Jewish High Holiday favorites and old school 8-bit graphics in a way that invites players to try their hand at running from God forever, or repenting and being forgiven, like Jonah.

“The genesis of this app came about while the G‑dcast team was running design workshops for upper elementary and middle school kids – nearly all of them articulated a love of infinite runner style apps like Subway Surfer,” said developer Russel Neiss. “Like any infinite runner, there’s no way to actually run away forever no matter how hard you try, (much like Jonah learns in his own experience) so the form of the game reinforces the underlying text in the book.”

Each year on Yom Kippur, Jews read (as the haftarah, or selection from the Prophets) the short Book of Jonah, which dramatized the concept of teshuva, or returning/repentance, through the tale of Jonah’s flight from God’s command.

The game takes inspiration from specific moments in the Jonah narrative, including Jonah’s run away from Ninevah, his hiding on a boat and his time spent inside a “big fish.”

“Technology isn’t always a perfect fit for education but in this case it’s pretty ingenious, ” said Sarah Lefton, G‑dcast’s Executive Director. “We got here by working backwards. We saw how insanely popular infinite runners are and then asked ourselves, where’s a fit for this genre in Jewish text? We thought about the Chanukah story for a longtime before we hit on Jonah. It couldn’t be a better match, and we think we the game does a real productive service to the player who may not know the story as well as they remember.”

The game was designed for Android and iOS using Unity3D and MIDI software.

Jonah Run is one of a string of innovative Jewish apps G‑dcast has premiered in recent years. The nonprofit also released Wake Up World! the first app to turn a mobile device into a shofar, Let’s Bake Challah!, which teaches children how to bake and bless challah (the beloved Sabbath bread); Leviticus!, an irreverent Fruit Ninja parody that teaches the third book of the Bible, and the eScapegoat, a web app that lets users anonymously upload tweet-length sins onto a virtual goat and read those of others in preparation for Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.

G‑dcast is best known for its 200+ animated short videos and curriculum for teachers that makes Jewish literacy accessible to everyone – anywhere.

Jonah Run is a free download and recommended for adults, teens and kids 7+. To download Jonah Run: An Infinite Runner Game set in Temple Times, please visit the the iTunes store or Google Play.

This app was made possible by funds granted by The Covenant Foundation.

Did you know that G-dcast has changed our name to BimBam?

You’ll find a more beautiful experience – plus lots of great new content for families – over at www.bimbam.com. Please re-set your bookmarks…and keep watching!

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