The Culture Arcade is coming soon, with a ton of great games on display! Can’t wait? Why not watch  Megalithic, Caeda and Dr. Random play through and discuss the first two hours of Mulaka, a 3D action-adventure game based on the rich indigenous culture of the Tarahumara

Explore the cosmological landscape of northern Mexico

Megalithic steps in the shoes of a Sukurúame, a type of shaman of the Tarahumara indigenous peoples. Either he is a shaman and he hasn’t told us, or he is just really good at metroidvania type of games, because we are off to a flying start.

Well, we don’t actually fly (just yet), but we do get to bounce on the back of a pheasant as part of our search for three mystical stones. Good thing our shamanic vision allows us to see things that others cannot, because the Samalayuca is as beautiful as it is confusing and dangerous. After a quick boss battle and a cutscene that tells us the intriguing history of the War of the Trees, we steam on to Paquime. A beautiful living pueblo in this game, but nowadays famous as UNESCO world heritage.

Mulaka is really a little gem with outstanding aesthetics and an intriguing world based on a strong and beautiful indigenous culture. There are many more things that we could say about it here, but why not watch the video! Or… better yet come and play it yourself at the Prince Claus Fund and VALUE’s Culture Arcade!

Talking points:

  • Shamanism!: from the general, including animistic worldviews and neo-shamanism to helper animals and the nitty gritty of shamanic practices and plants in Tarahumara culture.
  • The tendency of pop ethnography to boil down cultures to one ‘defining’ trait. Something that Mulaka does not do: while the Tarahumara are world famous long-distance runners, the game shows the full breadth of their culture!
  • How this game compares to Never Alone.
  • The ecology of northern Mexico.
  • The Pueblo archaeological culture.
  • Why we feel that this game is a great example of developers that know how to scope a project!
  • Why this game is a great fit for the Culture Arcade.

Part 2