News Articles

FIRST-PERSON: An Xbox dream

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–There are goals that you set for yourself in life that you hope to attain, and there are goals that you put before yourself for the sheer audacity of it all, thinking that they aren’t likely to happen. Like flying to the moon, adopting a pet dragon or helping to put the very words of God into a medium that it’s never been in before.

Bringing the Holman Christian Standard Bible translation to the Xbox via “Bible Navigator X” begins the fulfillment of a dream I have had since the Xbox 360 launched, and they announced that there would be downloadable games. Way back when it came out in 2005, I managed to actually get someone on the phone at Microsoft to see if we could partner with them to make something happen. At the time, there was simply no way to make it work within their system, especially since it wouldn’t be a game.

Fast forward four years, and God somehow places me in the B&H Publishing Group at LifeWay Christian Resources, where we publish the Bible. And not only that, but B&H also is an honest-to-goodness innovator in digital publishing and, even in this economy, is willing to take financial risks if it means spreading the Good News of Christ. So, when I asked if we could explore putting the Bible on the Xbox, my co-workers and boss actually said “yes.”

So, to begin my quest, I posted to a game developer’s forum asking how I might connect with someone to freelance a project. Lo and behold, I was found by Andy Dunn — a fairly well-known developer in the Xbox community, someone whose stuff I read back in the day when I was trying to code my own Xbox wares.

Andy and I struck up a conversation, outlined what the application would look like and we went to town. His wisdom was astounding. I’ve learned more about the game/app development process from him than I ever expected to know.

But there was still that nervousness: Is this really going to work?

If you have a dream, you’ll spend hours thinking about it in your head, hoping that someday the reality might be even a sliver of that dream. Over the weeks, as Andy dropped a build to me every few days, it almost freaked me out. Now, in our first go at putting this most sacred content onto a video game system via Bible Navigator X, it works with the medium so perfectly: It feels natural and nice, like the XBOX was made to host the Bible. In short, it surpassed what I had dreamt up in my head.

I feel almost foolish and childlike, gushing about how exciting this is for me and how much I love my job that allows me to see dreams come true. I have a renewed interest in spreading the Gospel of Christ now that it’s in a medium that my peers can connect with. I have a brand-new level of respect for the scholars who translated the Greek and Hebrew into the HCSB translation and the programmers and developers who translated that into XML and code.

I’m not trying to wax philosophical here. I’m just finally able to get out words that I’ve had to keep secret for so long. I feel like a huge burden has been lifted. It’s not every day that you get to be so clearly aware of being a part of God’s plan. It’s not every day that you know your actions could — literally — impact millions. This is one of those things that I’ll tell my children and grandchildren about.

Excited. That’s how I feel. I hope you didn’t mind my shouting it from the Internets.
Aaron Linne is executive producer of digital marketing for the B&H Publishing Group of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. For more information about Bible Navigator X, go to www.BibleNavigatorX.com; the website includes a TV news report on the new tool.

    About the Author

  • Aaron Linne