The educational video games The Durga Puja Mystery and Durga Puja Beyond Borders provide an educational yet playful introduction to and elaboration and experience of Indian festival culture, by focusing on the arguably most popular and widespread Hindu festival Durga Puja. Today, Durga Puja is not only widely celebrated in India, but the festival is also a highly important event in the global Indian communities.
Educational video games and their research and development have thrived as an academic field in roughly the past ten years. Mishra and Foster (2007) in the possibly first comprehensive publication on the subject make five relevant claims for using games for learning purposes, claims that are still relevant today: development of cognitive, practical, physiological skills, social skills, and motivation. Game-based learning and utilizing game-based environments for teaching are increasingly discussed. Sometimes we find the term “edutainment” (Michael and Chen 2006).
Grounded in the wish to extend the benefits of educational games to South Asian Studies, the University of Helsinki, Finland (Xenia Zeiler) and the award-winning game development studio Flying Robot, Kolkata India (Satyajit Chakraborti) decided to collaborate. The underlying idea and wish were to develop two educational games introducing selected core aspects of Indian culture and society, by taking the festival Durga Puja as a content example.