Excerpt from the ScienceBlog website
Using an unexpected combination of Native American myth and Tim Burton-style artwork, students at the University of Utah have created the first video game in the Shoshone language.
Students from the Shoshone/Goshute Youth Language Apprenticeship Program, or SYLAP, which is hosted by the Shoshoni Language Project at the University of Utah, worked over the summer with the school’s Entertainment Arts and Engineering program to create a game called “Enee.”
“Enee” – which in Shoshone means “scary, fearful, frightening, oh!” – is a fitting title for the aesthetics of the game play. The game is based on traditional Shoshone stories and incorporates dark, edgy graphics in a contemporary style inspired by film-maker Tim Burton. The student project was led by Cora Burchett, Devin Gardner and Trent Griffith. Their assignment was to use modern technology to teach the Shoshone language and culture in an informational and entertaining way.
The main character of “Enee” lives in the past and is thrust into some of the traditional Shoshone stories. Through the game, Shoshone youth are introduced to the language and cultural elements they may not be exposed to otherwise. Playing the game requires the understanding of Shoshone words and phrases, so players are able to learn Shoshone in a way that is educational and also enjoyable, without using any English. By completing the game, one will have acquired knowledge of the older Shoshone stories and a grasp of basic dialog.
“I think it is great we can incorporate our traditional culture with modern technology,” says Cora Burchett, a student in SYLAP and one of the three game developers. “‘Enee’ carries on traditions that my grandparents taught me, and I believe that is very important to my future.”