Videogame to teach Buddhist Principles

AKI, March 13, 2007

Bangkok, Thailand -- A new videogame has been launched in Thailand to help bring Thai youth closer to the fundamental principles of Buddhism. The religious affairs department of the Thai government came up with the idea to develop and distribute what is known as the "Ethics Game".

<< The main characters in the Thai videogame aimed at teaching Buddhist principles

The game's creator, Pakorn Tancharoen, is the director of the office for the moral and ethics development, admitted that he himself had "never played a videogame" and that he "spent weeks observing how children played", before developing the programme for the game.

The main characters in the game are Dharmmahapanyo, an old Buddhist monk, and three children - Charn, who is considered the life of the group, Nu Na, the only female child and Paloe, a pudgy boy who has a lot of fun playing jokes.

In the game, the children follow the monk on a pilgrimage. In the course of the journey they have to face many hidden dangers where they have to demonstrate their intelligence and their persistent goodwill in order to move forward. Any act of violence - even against animals - will result in an immediate deduction of points.

The five main principles of Buddhism - not to kill, steal, commit adultery, tell lies or drink alcohol - are fundamental to reach the highest level in the game, where they will then be called upon to teach farmers or peasants the fundamental rules of Buddhism.

The game's creator said that he was inspired to develop the game after having read a report about a child who attacked his mother after she refused to give him money to play a videogame.

Pakorn also said that they would like to produce a cartoon inspired by the videogame as well as organise a children's drawing competition to design the main characters in a sequel to the videogame, known as Ethics Game II.

The game was distributed for free and the first 10,000 CDs of the game were snapped up by children who can also download the game from the Internet at this website