Hinduism in Video Games

Did you know that there are computer and video games based on Hindu mythology? Actually, they are pretty much all the Ramayana, cause who can resist that action-packed story? 🙂 Most are for kids and I’m disappointed that there aren’t way more!

Hinduism at About.com has an article highlighting a few flash games: http://hinduism.about.com/library/weekly/aa092300a.htm

This free games site has a Ramayana game too: http://www.f-r-e-e-games.com/Games-Adventure/Game-Ramayana.htm

There’s even a Facebook app game based on The Ramayana! Or, at least, there used to be. Their page doesn’t seem to be directing anywhere right now. What a shame!  https://apps.facebook.com/ramayanatheepic/

Somehow Hindu mythology-based games don’t seem to be gaining traction. I’m not sure why. We see a lot of video games with influences from Roman and Norse stories. Why not Indian stories? Yet games that people try to get going disappear!

This blogger’s friend asks an excellent question: “an Indian colleague asked me why so many Christian themes emerged in video games when rich narratives from other faiths do not?”

Oh, maybe this is why. Apparently Sony came out with a game based on Hanuman and someone took offense and demanded it be withdrawn. It seems it is still being sold, but only in India. And the same guy campaigned against the game Asura’s Wrath, which the blogger uses as an example of a game with Hindu mythology elements. Does Asrua’s Wrath still exist?  Ah, looks like it does. He’s also against a game called Smite, a battle arena game with characters of Gods from several religions.

I can understand a concern about the portrayal of Hindu deities in a respectful way, but at the same time having a sense of humor about it helps Hinduism’s message spread a lot further. The Gods love games, drama, plays, and merriment. What could be more perfect than them getting to be characters in computer and video games?

Mahabharata: The Dawn of Kaliyuga looked promising, yet the last news I can find of it is from 2007. So disappointing! It sounds like it would be really cool. There’s also supposed to be a Ramayan 3392 A.D. MMO though it’s hard to tell if it ever actually came out.

Some students had a really unique idea for a non-violent first person shooter!

 “We had Vedic abilities: astrology, Ayurvedic healing, breathing (meditation), herbalism, Gandharva Veda music, architecture (which let you purify demonic areas) and yagyas (rituals). During the game, you could acquire the siddhis of clairvoyance, levitation, invisibility, shrinking and strength. Your aim was to achieve pure consciousness by cleansing your six chakras in ascending order. But your current karma (depicted as a gray pall over your character’s silhouette), if it covered any chakras, prevented you from cleansing them. So you had to remove karma by completing quests before you could purify yourself.” –http://www.joystiq.com/2006/10/18/a-non-violent-first-person-hindu-shooter-using-the-unreal-engine/

Wow, that sounds totally awesome. I would play that game! But it was beyond the ability of those students to bring it to fruition. Hey, that was seven years ago! How about trying again?

It seems that this MMO features Devas and Asuras, but uses Hindu myths as a backdrop only and has no actual stories based on them.

Perhaps it is easier to get Indian-themed video games when you’re actually in India, though some say they aren’t very popular even there.

Video games are a fantastic medium for modern story telling and it’s a real missed opportunity to share stories and ideas from Hinduism with not only our own children, but a wider world.



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  • Mr.Notyou

    Oh I understand now, that was the beginning of my research. I’ve come to see the parallels between them. Thank you though