(Photo: Deep Fried Manna)
A mobile app studio in Los Angeles announced this week it is creating a series of Bible-based games and stories for children and has launched a crowd-sourced campaign to help fund the project. Well-known Christian leaders are supporting the campaign, including NBA star Jeremy Lin, LifeChurch.tv pastor Craig Groeschel, author of Crazy Love Francis Chan, Newsong Church pastor Dave Gibbons and nearly a dozen more featured on the campaign's Kickstarter page.
After experiencing the need firsthand for quality Christian apps directed at inspiring and entertaining kids, Emmy Award-winning creative director Jeff Matsuda and technology industry veteran Mike Su began the fundraising for their company, Deep Fried Manna. As the name implies, Deep Fried Manna seeks to create innovative and fun apps that teach biblical values by using games and stories.
"We as parents realized that when given a choice, our kids were increasingly choosing their iPads over traditional TV," explains Matsuda, the 42-year-old father of three, "yet there were so few apps out there that taught them about God."
Matsuda won an Emmy for his work as producer and creative director of "The Batman" cartoon series.
Deep Fried Manna stated that while taking the idea to Silicon Valley technology investors seemed inviting, the founders and partners realized that they needed to reach out to others who share the same values.
"Crowd sourced funding seemed to make more sense," explained Su. "We're reaching out for funding directly to parents who have been seeking this content since most traditional investors don't understand the need. This is about making our voices heard, and letting the world know there is a market for quality faith-based apps."
To showcase the level of talent surrounding the project, Deep Fried Manna has already launched one free app for the iPhone and iPad called "Noah's Weather." Based on the Noah's Ark story, Noah's Weather delivers daily and extended forecasts with mini-games, a daily Bible verse and a six-page kid-friendly storybook.
In the coming months, Deep Fried Manna will be launching the first of several interactive storybooks based on two characters, Rex and Rooty. The debut story introduces Rex, "a bright young boy," who has a floating plant friend named Rooty. Rooty has the ability to generate seeds. Some seeds produce giant beanstalks, while others are tiny mustard seeds. Each adventure takes them to different lands where they encounter new friends, and the occasional scary enemy. These stories act as parables to teach children about having a personal relationship with God, the company said.
The Kickstarter campaign's goal is to reach $150,000, which includes budgets for art, development, animation, production support, marketing, sound and music and Kickstarter Rewards. For a $5 Kickstarter commitment, supporters will receive the app, free of charge. From there, levels of rewards include being in a music video, custom art, iPhone cases, avatars and a signed Jeremy Lin basketball jersey.
The company says that with nearly 2 billion Christians around the world, the lack of technology friendly for Christian children indicates a market desperate for quality products.
"The need couldn't be any more obvious and urgent," says Dave Gibbons, the pastor of the 2,000-member Newsong church in Irvine, Calif., who also signed up as a partner at Deep Fried Manna. "We have an entire generation growing up on these new platforms, but we aren't meeting them there.
"The global nature of the App Store also means there are opportunities to spread the Gospel around the world in ways that could have never been done before, and we as Christians need to be out on the forefront of that."
About Deep Fried Manna
Deep Fried Manna is a Los Angeles-based mobile app studio focused on creating high quality, biblically grounded content to help kids learn about God in fun, accessible and entertaining ways. Founded by a team of veterans from the tech and entertainment worlds, Deep Fried Manna seeks to always deliver eye-popping art, with engaging stories grounded in God's word.