No one likes it when a Jehovah's Witness knocks on your door and tries to sell you on their religion when you’d rather be doing anything else. There’s a good chance the Witness hates it even more than you do though, especially if they’re a teenage boy.
Misha Verollet is an ex-Jehovah's Witness living in Vienna, Austria. Jehovah's Witness Simulator 2018 is a video game he made that condenses his childhood experience down to about four minutes.
Verollet used simple graphics and text boxes to convey the stifling life he lived. Caleb—the protagonist—explores his home, goes door-to-door to spread the church’s message, and dodges impolite questions from other kids at public school. It’s a short 'walking simulator'-type game with an effective message—being a Jehovah’s Witness can be alienating and strange.
The creator opened up about his game and his early life in the church in an Ask Me Anything on Reddit. One user asked him when he decided to leave the church.
“It basically came down to realizing I couldn't do the whole grind anymore and a life in short-term freedom plus death at armageddon would be better than being caged in until armageddon and then dying anyway because God could read my thoughts,” he wrote.
The church is a Christian sect that believes the world is wicked and God will fix it by ushering in the end of the world. As Verollet said, members tend to live in the moment and focus on “saving” as many people as possible because they believe Armaggeddon is just around the corner.
He left the church by forcing it to excommunicate him. “I could have just told the Elders that I didn't want to be a Jehovah's Witness anymore, but...I didn't have the courage,” he wrote on Reddit.
Instead, he slept with a woman he wasn’t married to and told everyone about it. “I had to stand in front of judicial committee (a tribunal of local Elders), confess to my sin and then refused to repent – therefore I was disfellowshipped and have been shunned ever since by family and friends,” he explained.
Verlott’s game is free to play here.