Travel & Leisure
The Silk Road
What exactly is The Silk Road (DNA Multimedia Corp.) about? The copy on the back of the packaging gives a clue: “In the 3rd century Merchants and Explorers traveled the same road as Emperors and Thieves. Follow them in the 20th Century, on a voyage into the heart of Asia”. The program itself, however, is more ambitious than that – the metaphorical Silk Road educates about religion, language, history, peoples, and explorers. Better pay attention, because to attain entrance to the Cave of Wisdom you’ll need to pass a test on what you’ve learned. You can kill some time (or expand your consciousness) along the way by using the Mahayana Life Simulator to fine-tune your karma. Do it right, or you’ll be sentenced to 10,000 years in Hell. Is this all a joke? Certainly not. The disc’s real intention is to educate users about the 3rd century, and hopefully promote understanding about that area today. There are some interesting features here, including excellent graphics, nice maps, a swell time line, cute games and quizzes (build your own Yurt), etc. But you’re stuck with phrases like “clouds and winds and endless time,” accompanied by dreadful formula music. You are also confronted by such vaguely offensive (certainly not politically correct) assertions like the statement that the ancient Silk Road travelers were “na?ve” and that sometimes, “Christ, Buddha, Allah and the eye of providence” let them down. Our favorite, however, is the revelation that “Tibetans developed a surprisingly esoteric branch of Buddhism along with rich painting and architecture.” You can bet the Tibetans aren’t surprised.
– March 1996
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