The Descent of the Serpent, the first video game from Google Arts will teleport you to the Mayan civilization

The Descent of the Serpent, the first video game from Google Arts will teleport you to the Mayan civilization

The Descent of the Serpent

The first video game from Google's Arts and Culture division is available: it's called The Descent of the Serpent and it's a very simplified Zelda like that will make you discover Mesoamerican culture. The game can be played in a browser or in the Google Arts and Culture application for Android and iOS and was created in collaboration with the National Museum of Mexican Anthropology. Don't expect breathtaking fights or brilliant puzzles, The Descent of the Serpent is an edu-game, or an educational video game, whose first objective is to teach you the history, culture, arts and crafts of the Mayan population. It is quite short but full of trivia and legends that will keep you glued to the screen.

Let's find out together The Descent of the Serpent, the first edu-game from Google Arts & Culture.

The History, with a capital S, of the new Google game

The characters of The Descent of the Serpent The premise is very simple: you will take on the role of a visitor to the National Museum of Mexican Anthropology when Tezcatlipoca, the "smoking mirror" god of the night and temptations, decides to steal an important artifact of the collection. Suddenly a statue comes to life and will give you the task of going back in time to recover 20 icons (which make up the stolen artifact) that Tezcatlipoca has hidden in the 4 labyrinths. If all the pieces of this relic are not reassembled in time, the world will be affected by floods and cataclysms. You can not help but accept, if you do not want to relive the plot of 2012.

Before starting the adventure you will have to choose one of 4 disguises that will give you the appearance of an animal typical of the Mesoamerican sacred fauna. There is Huitzilopochtli, the wolf, Xolotl, the dog, Xbalanque, the jaguar, and Mictlantecuhtli, the owl. To make you Virgil for your journey into the past there will be Quetzal, a character inspired by a colorful bird typical of Mexico. There will be four for each level and they will explain the setting, the type of items you need to find and how to progress to the next level. The controls are very simple: on desktop you will use the classic WASD buttons to move and the space bar to interact with things, on mobile there are a joystick and a screen button.

How to play Descent of the Serpent

The Descent of the Serpent items Starting Descent of the Serpent for the first time, the feeling is that of being in an old-fashioned The Legend of Zelda albeit with very limited mechanics, maps and enemies. The game is divided into 4 mazes, each of which contains 5 artifacts to find (which are shaped like gold coins) plus a number of other collectibles. Each of these objects will tell you a glimpse of life in the Mayan civilization at the height of its splendor. Only in the first level you will find a musical instrument, a loom, a ritual chalice and a calendar, all with links to the Google Arts And Culture website where you can find more detailed descriptions and high definition photos.

There are 2 difficulty levels: challenge mode and story mode. In the first, you will feel all the pressure of having the weight of the world on your shoulders because not only will you have a timer for each level, but you will only have 5 lives. The game, in fact, has different types of enemies that you cannot fight but only avoid, if you are hit 5 times in a level you will have to start it all over again. The story mode, the one we recommend to read the descriptions calmly and let yourself be fascinated by the history of the Maya, has neither timer nor lives: if you come across a crocodile or a malicious spider you will only be immobilized for a few seconds and you can continue exploring. Each level has an unlockable map by visiting its 4 obelisks scattered around the labyrinth, each of them will reward you with other curiosities and legends about the Mesoamerican civilization.

An experience to learn from

Lo The Descent of the Serpent style is reminiscent of 8bit Zelda Whether you're a fan of history or not, this little Google Arts and Culture experience has a lot to give. From simple and fun gameplay to all the anecdotes and legends from a culture often ignored by school books. It's not without its flaws though, as the walking animation often jerks and an internet connection is required to play. A few technical obstacles, however, are a decidedly low price to pay for an experience that will transport you to the jungles, mountains and beaches of the ancient Mayan civilization.

Italy also had a similar experiment in Father and Son, the video game developed for the Archaeological Museum of Naples, but being an experience linked to the visit of the museum itself, it is very limited in its use. The Descent of the Serpent, on the other hand, is an independent video game designed to instill curiosity and wonder in the player, wherever he is. History buffs might even decide to organize a trip to Mexico after playing, an ambitious goal but certainly within reach of the Google Arts and Culture experience.

The other projects of Google Arts and Culture

A video of The Descent of the Serpent The Descent of the Serpent is the first full video game from Google Arts and Culture, but this young branch of Mountain View has already proved prolific in bringing culture and digital together. If you have never tried Blob Opera, now is the time to do it because this machine learning experiment will give you some truly genuine laughs. It is also a great meme generator. Then there is Puzzle Party, a collaborative experience in which multiple people, simultaneously and remotely, can complete a digital puzzle depicting a famous work of art.

Leaving the Google galaxy, then, at the crossroads between video games and learning, one cannot fail to remember the Discovery Tour mode of the last 3 chapters of Assassin's Creed which is nothing more than a guided tour of the historical environments reconstructed in 3D for the titles. In 2016, CivilizationEDU was released, a school version of Civilization V with the aim, according to Take Two, to "provide students with the opportunity to think critically, recreate historical events, consider and evaluate geographical ramifications. of their economic decisions, and experimenting the cause-and-effect relationships between military, technological, political and socio-economic development ".

The simple gameplay and setting of The Descent of the Serpent encompasses a very valuable experience capable of to entertain and stimulate curiosity towards a moment in the past far from the European imagination. Tiny technical obstacles do not go to the detriment of a perfect marriage between videogame and culture.


A fun and light way to learn history Accessible and free It is the first step of a project that bodes well DOUBTS In the exploration sections it tends to go to chess The challenge mode is likely to be too punitive Have you noticed any mistakes?

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