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“Keep working on this. Because even if it doesn’t become a game, it’ll be a book!” -Rotimi Akindele, circa 2007

The Life and Times of Theodore Addison: 5th Grade Challenge came into being as a scholarship entry, for not much money, and even then, I never heard back from the organization. But I’m getting too far ahead of myself. Let me go back.

Theodore Addison,” the lead character of my book series, was intended to be a video game character first and foremost. Ever since 2003, I had been picturing what kind of game I could make with Theodore. I knew God had to be in it, but at the time, I was doing that for creative reasons. Having God in a game made it reasonable for the game to veer into the mystical when necessary. Having Theodore (AKA Ted) be a genius opened up the sci-fi front, as well. I wanted my game to be as versatile as Mario, and deeper than Zelda. I was a story-driven person, with an eye for gameplay. It didn’t matter how good the story was if the gameplay was boring.

Still tracking with me?

In 2004, I was researching the Book of Revelation, the last book of the Bible, where everything would come to its climactic end. What better book of the Bible to harvest for ideas for my game? Only, there was one problem: I didn’t understand what I was reading. Solution: there was a guy in my art class (where we did virtually nothing), who taught people about the Bible. I could ask him. So I did, and he explained Revelation to me. It impacted me in a way that still stands to this day.

My friend, Chris Harlan, explained to me that in the days of Revelation, all the chaos and all the destruction is meant to signify one key message to the people: wake up! And though he didn’t direct the message at me, I took it to heart. It was time for me to wake up and start serving God.

What had been a research mission for a video game turned into an opportunity for personal transformation, and God seized the moment.

“The wind blows where it wants, and you hear its sound, but you don't know where it came from or where it's going. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” - John 3:8

I respect the move of God, and am not surprised by the unexpected. Since that day I’ve been seeking God on how to spread His message throughout the world, and have settled on this venue. Video games cost tens of millions of dollars to produce at the level needed to garner mainstream attention. That’s a high barrier to entry.

But if I make the stories from the games into books, I can introduce the characters to the world, build up a fan base, and eventually get to the point where the games can be developed. And that’s where I am, now. I had to study how to write a good story, how to publish a book, and how to market it. The fact that you’re here tells me it’s working. So, I welcome you to pick up my scholarship-entry-turned-book, 5th Grade Challenge. In the comments below, you can let me know how you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading.

About The Author

Jamaal Fridge is the author of The Life and Times of Theodore Addison book series. As an evangelist, he looks for ways to engage people with the Gospel, and uses books as one outlet. You can learn about him and other contributors to this work at this link.