Google’s Arts and Culture team has created a cute Zelda-like adventure for those looking to further their education in ancient Mesoamerica.
Known as The Descent on the Serpent, this game was made in collaboration with Mexico’s National Museum of Anthropology (thanks, The Verge). It starts off with the player visiting a museum. However, out of nowhere, the Lord of the Smoking Mirror, Tezcatlipoca, rushes in and steals an artifact on display.
This clearly can’t be good news, and soon a talking statue, which is also on display at the museum, asks for your help returning the artifact before the equinox happens. Of course, you are more than happy to offer your services on this quest as you do “love exploring”. The talking statue then swiftly transports you back in time to ancient Mesoamerica where you need to find 20 icons to return to the city of Chichen Itza.
Before you can set out on your exploration of this world, however, you must of course don the proper disguise. There are four of these to choose from: Huitzilopochtli the wolf, Xolotl the dog, Xbalanque the jaguar, and Mictlantecuhtli the owl. I went with the dog, because, well, it’s a dog and he kind of looks like a cartoon version of my own dog, The Captain.
Once you are disguised, your adventure begins in the jungle, at the foot of Chichen Itza’s El Castillo or The Temple of Kukulcan. By interacting with a nearby ‘signpost’ you will learn more about El Castillo and the titular Descent of the Serpant. In this area, you will also meet a bird named Quetz who will share information about this world with you.
I won’t go into any more details here, and allow you to explore the rest of the game at your leisure if you so wish. It is certainly adorable, and a fun way to learn more about Mesoamerica’s history. I will certainly be letting my kids have a spot of time exploring this world once they are home from school.
If you are interested in having a go for yourself, you can do so now via your browser (as I did), or through the Google Arts & Culture iOS and Android apps.