Children from all around the world enjoy playing the classic game of Snakes & Ladders. Most people are familiar with the game, but fewer know where it came from. In actuality, the game of Snakes & Ladders was created by ancient Indians and had philosophical overtones in addition to being played purely for fun.
The game of Snakes & Ladders originated as a Hindu game named variously Gyan Chaupar (meaning “Game of Knowledge”), Mokshapat, and Moksha Patamu. The creator of this game and its exact creation date are unknown. This game may have been played in India as early as the second century AD. Gyan Chaupar’s gameplay is comparable to that of modern Snakes & Ladders, but the game’s board and ultimate goal appear entirely different. The number of squares on the Gyan Chaupar board can vary, just like the contemporary Snakes & Ladders board. For instance, one version of this board has 72 squares, while another has 100. The traditional and modern versions are very different because in the former, a virtue, a vice, and the results of these virtues and vices, or something neutral, are placed within each box.
By creating Heaven & Hell, I wanted to bring back the same ideals that Snakes & Ladders once had because I felt the game lost its direction over the years. This project gave me a chance to reincorporate those principles, however, this time with a refreshed concept. There were many different concepts that we came up with while making this game, but the one that really stuck with us was the concept that you were in Purtagory, trying to purify your soul in a last attempt to enter the pearly gates of Heaven. Indeed, the only way to end up in Purgatory is if you died in God’s grace but still have a slight attachment to your previous sins. By keeping in mind the ancient theme of Snakes & Ladders, this story made the most sense as the older versions of the game had the message that your virtues will lift you up while your vices bring you down.
Here are the links to my teammates’ blogs and their contributions to the game: