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“Conversion Story” by Inari Porkka

Updated: Jul 14, 2023

Welcome to the Conversion Story wiki! This wiki is about the award-winning, genre-breaking, narrative indie videogame Conversion Story, which details the process of joining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The player takes the role of the protagonist and progresses through the church experience of the game's developer Inari Porkka.


Lv. 1. Introduction to the missionaries

The game starts with the player agreeing to meet the missionaries. The setting of the first level is the player's student flat, which the missionaries enter after ringing the doorbell. Most of the action takes place in the kitchen/lounge-like area. In two player mode the player's Brazilian roommate is also present. The gameplay consists of friendly discussion, which is surprisingly responsive to the player’s input. Players have speculated that the dialogue is a driven by a unique mix of scripted dialogue, large language model AI, and specific input drawn from the creator’s diaries, but the studio has not commented on how the technology works. At the end of the level the player acquires a Book of Mormon and a commitment. To complete the level the player must accept both. Players who refuse experience a custom ending in the form of a dream, which often seems to reflect the themes of their conversation with the missionaries.

Lv. 2. Reading the Book of Mormon

The next level is the second home themed level. Most of the action takes place in the bedroom. The gameplay consists of reading the Book of Mormon, a process which can unfold in a mix of words, images which depict the book’s content literally, and images which appear to depict the book’s concepts symbolically. No two readings unfold the same way and there is debate among players about what the commonly occurring symbolic images mean. After reading, players can choose to pray to ask if the book is true, although this action can be bypassed by entering the secret area to the left of the screen, where the player receives direct revelation simply from reading the book. At the end of the level the missionaries return and present the player with a question about the Book of Mormon. To complete the level the player must recognise the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, which also awards the player their first Commitment Points. Players who do not complete the level return to Lv. 1 and can pray, reject the missionaries and reach the alternate ending, or continue to study the book in a loop.

Lv. 3. Keeping the commitments

The third level contains several minigames, where the missionaries give the player several commitments, which, if kept, give Commitment Points. The commitments that the player must complete include attending sacrament meeting (at least three times), adhering to the Word of Wisdom, and adhering to the Law of Chastity. Voluntary commitments include going to the Young Single Adult Family Home Evening (available on Monday evenings), Institute (available on Thursday evenings) and various holiday events and conferences (seasonal), as well as the shopping for modest clothing minigame, which also lets the player customise their character. When players choose not to keep commitment, the game visuals undergo a subtle desaturization, unnoticeable at first but with a clear dulling effects on extended repetition. After accruing enough Commitment Points, a cutscene plays, where the missionaries go over the commitments one more time and invite the player to be baptised. Answering yes in the dialogue prompt unlocks the next level.

Lv. 4. Baptism

The fourth level is the first of several short chapel-themed levels. The player enters the chapel and completes various tasks, such as changing into the baptismal clothes, attending the baptismal service, and finally, being baptised. Depending on the earlier choices in the game, it is possible to request specific non-player characters (NPCs) to speak or perform music during the service.

Easter Egg: Selecting "Nationality: Finnish" in the character customisation at the beginning of the game results in “Be Still My Soul” being played as one of the hymns in the baptismal service.

Completing the level awards the player the first of two needed Membership Points. The sprite of the player character will also appear slightly more saturated for the next few levels.

Lv. 5. Gift of the Holy Ghost

The fifth level is the second chapel-themed level. The game play consists of participating in the beginning of the sacrament meeting minigame, which transitions to the Gift of the Holy Ghost task, where the player must navigate to the front of the chapel to participate in the ordinance.

Completing the level awards the player the second needed Membership Point. The sprite of the player character will also be even more saturated for the next level.

Lv. 6. Sacrament

The last chapel-themed level continues directly from the previous one. The level consists mostly of the rest of the sacrament meeting minigame, but the ordinance of the sacrament now has a new mechanic of Renewing The Covenant, which will come into play more in the post-game.

Side quests on this level include Sunday School, Relief Society (if the player character is female) or Priesthood meeting (if the player character is male), and a Munch And Mingle.

Once the player exits the chapel, a cutscene plays that implies a time skip: the player is depicted visiting church and various activities regularly over the course of two years, being interviewed by the bishop and stake president, and entering a temple.

Lv. 7. The mission

The seventh level begins with a cutscene, where the player character is seen applying for a mission, receiving their call to serve, leaving for the Mission Training Center and participating in the activities therein, and finally entering the mission field.

The gameplay consists of 18 periods of time referred to as months, during each of which the character can choose five of the various Missionary Activities to do with their companion NPC before the next month begins. The companion is assigned randomly and changes occasionally. The discussion players have on level 8 often appear to draw on data from their own past playthroughs: as missionaries, they often encounter questions they once asked and see people making choices they once made.

After completing the level, a cut scene plays where the character's parents come to the mission field to pick the character up and they travel home together. There is an implied time skip, after which the character is seen boarding a plane to their mission reunion in the United States. The scenes that follow show the character meeting their future spouse (as selected in the initial character creation screen), getting engaged, being in a long distance relationship until the to-be-spouse arrives on a plane and they get married in a courthouse. One more time skip implies that a year passes, after which the next level unlocks.

Lv. 8. Sealed for time and eternity

The final level opens with the spouse NPC as a companion. The player must attend a temple recommend interview with the bishop and acquire a recommend for a temple marriage. If successful, a cutscene then plays of the player and the spouse arriving in the temple. During gameplay, however, what appears to be a rote interview can quickly veer off into strange territory as the game’s language model simulates a bishop. Players disagree as to whether the bishop’s sometimes strange behavior is due to a feedback loop in the game’s AI language model or is an intentional design feature. Many players found the bishop character so disagreeable that they preferred to avoid the recommend interview with him. Due to an apparent programming error, it was possible to proceed to the temple without acquiring the required marriage recommend, after which the game became stuck as players couldn't return to the chapel for the required temple recommend interview. The game was later patched with an additional scene where the stake president comes to the temple to do the recommend interview. The stake president route is now considered an official alternative method of acquiring the needed temple recommend.

Post-game. Endure to the end

After the fairly linear eight-level structure, the game abruptly changes. The post-game is a massive multi-player open world environment, where players can customize their character, home, and family, have jobs, hobbies, church callings, etc. The world is primarily depicted using tools of realism, but with occasional bursts of supernatural occurrences or vivid dream and vision sequences. Players can connect with friends and play together in online mode.

This piece was published in 2023 as part of the Around the World in Mormon Literature contest by the Mormon Lit Lab. Sign up for our newsletter for future updates.

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