The story of Rama as related in the Hindu epic Ramayana has always enjoyed a strong universal appeal. No wonder, the original author of this epic work, Valmiki is regarded as the adikavi or the first poet. But little did he know, that his account of the exploits of Lord Rama, millenniums later, would be the subject of numerous Web sites, CD-ROMs, and computer games.
Thai Ramayana Game
In 2000, a video game based on the Ramayana legend won Thailand's national game software competition. In fact, the Ramayana game was the thesis project of three computer science majors from Bangkok's Faculty of Technical Education.
The prize-winning game portrays several wars between King Rama and Ravana, the evil ruler of Lanka who abducts Rama's beautiful wife, Sita. In an attempt to find his wife, Rama, aided by brother Lakshman and a battery of monkeys, reach the Lankan island. In the game, Rama and Laksman must successfully manoeuvre through four rounds of fight in order to rescue Sita.
The Thai threesome turned to the epic Ramakian, as the Thai version is called, for its unmatched fighting scenes and more than fifty interesting human and semi-human characters appropriate for an action-packed video game, like Super Mario or Street Fighter.
The online games site Indiagames.com is known for its mythological Flash games, the most popular being Mrigaya, again based on a Ramayana subplot. King Rama's golden deer flees into the jungle. To bring it back, Rama ventures into the forest and encounters demons. Kill these demons by clicking on Rama's bow and you are on to the second round - finding and capturing the prized animal among a herd of spotted deer.
Also interesting are the games based on Arjuna, the geat mytical archer of the Mahabharata. Propped up with background sound, voiceover in three languages and excellent Flash animation, these online games have quickly become popular, thanks to their epos themes.
Ancient and medieval India was a fertile breeding ground of popular card and board games. Historians are of the opinion that Chess, Snakes and Ladders, Playing Cards had originated in India from where they were taken to foreign countries, where they developed into their present forms.
Playing cards was
a popular pastime of Indians in ancient times. Here too the epics step in. These
cards, known as Krida-patram, were made of cloth and depicted themes
motifs from the Ramayana and Mahabharata.
The Interactive Epics
Image Infotainment's CD-ROMs on Hindu epics and mythical stories are packed with features that provide a good interactive experience. These animated storybooks not only feature the full narration, they also include timelines, read-along option, chronological indices of events and characters, and search facility. The Ramayana CD, which also includes puzzles and games, like building and shooting cost around $ 40.
In a way, these new avatars of immortal epics - be they video games, online games, or interactive CDs - are worth their price in bytes, for they're marvelous ways to introduce today's young people to the rich cultural and spiritual tradition of their ancestors.
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