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The Silk Road
The Silk Road: the ancient trade route that connected Asia with the West. From the Chinese metropolis of Xian to the shores of the Indian Ocean, across high steppe and over hot and silent deserts. Marco Polo, Ganghis Khan, Islam, Buddhism, silk, jade, lost treasures and exotic cities: the Silk Road was the Internet of Asia from AD 200-1200 where religion,, technology, goods and secrets passed through the courts of emperors and the caravanserais of merchants. From trade and technology to culture and ideas, The Silk Road is the story of unparalleled human achievement and exploration.
A Digital Multimedia Journey
The Silk Road CD-ROM takes the user on a digital journey rich in adventure and discovery, introducing the Peoples, History, Languages, Religions and Explorers of the ancient route and the Silk Road today. Ideas and information are presented through a variety of interactive multimedia: rich images and collages, sound, music, color and design. Choose your own routes through markets and hidden caves; follow the maps and hypertext to see how Buddhism spread from India out along the valleys and over the mountains to China. Investigate Zoroastrianism, read about the importance of Kashgar and the Tarim Basin, build a yurt, hear the sounds of Tibetan monks, test your skill and earn a diploma from the University of Dunhuang.
The Silk Road makes full use of the latest concepts in interactive multimedia. There are interactive Time-Warp maps, an extensive hypertext, a music library with sounds both ancient and modern, including an original soundtrack. Chances to test your knowledge and understanding of languages, history, peoples, and explorers; choose a new path or return along roads already once followed. The Silk Road presents new ideas and information each time you explore. You find original content produced by an international team of artists, historians, writers, photographers, anthropologists and musicians.
Requirements: Windows - 486SX-25MHz processor, Windows 3.1 or above, 4MB of RAM, 640 x 480, 256 color monitor, MPC compatible, 8-bit sound card, double speed CD-ROM drive.
Tested OK on Windows XP.
Requirements: Macintosh - 68030 processor, System 7, 2.5 MB of available RAM, 640 x 480, 256 color monitor, double speed CD-ROM drive.
WingTips, March/April 1997
"The Silk Road, a new CD-ROM from Vancouver based DNA Multimedia, takes users on a modern journey along the ancient route by which precious silk would make its way from China to the European empires of more than 2,000 years ago.
"With spoken narration, color maps tracing the route, native music as accompaniment and hundreds of top-quality color photos to illustrate this historic journey, The Silk Road takes users from the China Sea to the Arabian Sea. From the modern Chinese city of Xian across the Taklamakan Desert and through the treacherous Khunjerab Pass into Pakistan and its modern cities like Rawalpindi, the road also takes travelers from the world of Buddhism into the Islamic splendor, and past such centuries-old wonders as the hidden library in Dunhuang and the Sunday market in Kashgar.
""But more than just a National Geographic-style look at the modern versions of ancient wonders, The Silk Road allows computer users to learn more through interaction - studying the history, the people and the many languages of the region. Designed for all ages, the CD-ROM even features a game designed to test users knowledge of all things presented in The Silk Road.
"After a brief introduction, we are taken to The Market, which is a mainstay of the villages along the way as well as the central point of this CD-ROM program. Users are allowed to choose their own path of what they'd like to study first. By clicking on one of seven topics, users can get in-depth information about every aspect of this historic trade route.
"For example, the history section uses a narrator along with ancient drawings to re-create the conversation between Chinese Emperor Wudi and Chines explorer Zhang Qian from 138 B.C. that was the start of the Silk Road. Wudi instructed Qian to travel west in search of allies in their generations-old war with their northern neighbors, the Huns. On his journey, Qian lost more than 100 men and horses, and was captured and held for 10 years by the Barbarians, but escaped and managed to reach Ferghana, west of the Taklamakan Desert. He found no allies for their battles, but did return to Wudi 13 years later with a fabulous breed of horses, which were the equivalent of modern F-16 fighter jets in the warfare of the time. Wudi ordered a route established in order for his armies to get more of these valuable horses, and the Silk Road was born.
"The road got its name a few decades later when it was used as the route by which the empires of Greece and Rome got silk. The cloth was a mystery to the Europeans, who thought it grew on trees. By the time silk had reached Rome from China, the cloth was said to be more valuable than gold.
"The Silk Road was also a bridge between cultures, as religions like Buddhism made their way from origins in India around the Himalayas to China via travelers on the Silk Road. While exploring the dangers of ancient camel and caravan travel on the road, the CD-ROM also illustrates how modern highways and truck travel still present plenty of headaches for travelers."
"The section on explorers touches on major expeditions over the Silk Road from Qian's early travels to the well-documented journeys of Marco Polo in the 1200s to more modern explorers like Sweden's Sven Hedin, Paul Pelliot of France and American Langdon Warner, who 're-discovered' the Silk Road within the past 100 years."
ComputerLink, The San Diego Union-Tribune, Tuesday, October 15,1996
"This is a historical adventure along the ancient trans-Asian trade routes that arose about 2,000 years ago when the Chinese sought the excellent horses of Ferghana, today's Uzbekistan. Later, it accommodated explorer Marco Polo and carried early trade items between China and Europe, extending from the Arabian Sea to the China Sea.
"What keeps you in front of the screen in this title are not artificial puzzles or roadside shoot-outs, but a fascination in the subject itself, the variety of the peoples along the road, their languages, religions and culture.
"Which is to say this is one 'edutainment' title that does not skip off the surface of its subject like a flat rock off a pond's surface. There are an estimated 30 hours of activity here. And, its culturally matched music, deft and interesting use of voice, and beautiful graphics may well draw you back for encores.
"In a cyber-journey from Iran to China, you are exposed to a dozen major languages, for example, and can learn to speak simple phrases in all 12 - including Urdu, the language spoken in what is now Pakistan, Uighur in Tibet, and, of course, Chinese. You also meet the peoples of these areas today in original images.
"In other interactive features, you can play a simple form of buzkashi, a game in which hundreds of men on horseback fight over a stuffed animal skin, build a shelter called a yurt, and try to figure out which headwear means that Chinese Hui women are single, married or venerable.
"There's a great timeline feature that allows you to manipulate your cursor from 400 B.C. to the present as you watch changes in the distribution of religion, the alignments of the Silk Road, and the ebb and flow of governing dynasties.
"There is a contest involved. As you accumulate knowledge, you can take tests at a cyber-university in languages, ethnology, religion and history. Success at each gives you part of a code sequence that you can finally assemble and take to 'the cave,' where your interest and memory will be acknowledged.
"This is a superb title, full of interestingly presented information, and even a bit of wonder..."
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