Ravouka

Little Mouse’s Encyclopedia

Video Game / Discovery.

If you know Ravouka, I promise to eat my hat.

Ravouka is a Czech mouse. So it’s not just any mouse. She is a mouse with a little bit of class.
She’s not going to go and get crushed in a mouse trap to steal cheese like all the others – that’s not the kind of thing she does.

She’s a very civilized mouse – she’s got her own little burrow, her own table, her own chair, her own newspaper, her own little slice of cake – she doesn’t tidy up her dresser very well, but she seems to be a bit lonely in life, so it doesn’t matter at all.

So far, she’s a special mouse, all right, but I won’t be spending my vacation with her.

No ? no, no way.

And yet – I may be long past my 7th birthday, but this mouse – which is a mouse for 7 year olds basically, is going to take me – and you with me, since you like me now, you come, bam, it’s said, it’s done – to ? discover nature, of course.

Put like that, it sounds a bit…. not so good.

Let’s go back to our 7 years old. You remember when we were there, not yet very high, and we had the great idea to collect mushrooms – the most beautiful are the worst. Or when we thought of collecting the most beautiful stones in the world. Or when we learned that it was possible to make a herbarium and we left to conquer the herbs of the world, to dry them – ah zut, it rotted the page, it is not serious, I’ll remove this page, it will be perfect.

And we stopped in the middle of the discovery process because making the difference between a little green thing and another little green thing, at some point, is okay.
And nobody among the adults was able to tell us what to mark in the herbarium.
And which mother accepted the pretty collection of insects patiently caught and collected in upside-down glasses? They all died crushed, our insects, no such thing at home.

So, not helped by the world, we gave up.
This is where Ravouka comes in.

She has a huge advantage: she will help us to collect fake herbs – it won’t rot, I promise – fake insects, fake larvae, nobody will yell “Crazy” at home – fake stones (no actually she doesn’t do that, but I liked to bring back stones I don’t want to know why): in a word, Ravouka allows to appease the families and to give to the 7 years old children all the information that the parents don’t know in general.

Ravouka is the mouse that explores the small natural world around us.
Well, this “us” is mostly “you”. When I looked up what it was, once again I came across a mouse that was teaching me things that didn’t exist at all in my environment – so it wouldn’t have saved me from the family disasters caused by my sudden childish enthusiasm for natural things.
This us is therefore a us of the European forests, American perhaps – these northern forests to summarize.

It walks around and any child with a minimum of observation skills will quickly notice that there are little paw prints on the screen that identify possible paths for your mouse.
You can stop it anywhere you like and if you are curious enough to click on the magnifying glass, you will learn that the ugly larvae that are wiggling around are future …. things, that they will take so long to develop, and that their predator is currently sleeping soundly – but alas, he is close enough.

It’s not a game – or at least it’s a game like the ones you and I might have played, the game of: but what’s this stuff?
No stakes – the fun is in the finding.

What makes this game really interesting is the great quality of the illustrations.
It is both very realistic and at the same time, not at all.
You can’t miss the oak leaf, the birch leaf or the beech leaf: everything is very very recognizable afterwards, in the real forest.
But it’s not ugly – it’s not too realistic – and it’s a real graphic work that left me speechless.

In fact, it is the kind of graphic work that is so well suited to stage adaptations.
I remind you, in case you think I have a prolific but scattered mind, that one of Altair’s major principles is to commission shows for the main part of the programming, and to stop suffering the more or less beautiful days of what others have wanted to do, whether we like it or not.

Imagined and drawn by Tereza Vostradovska, then put in the form of a video game by the studio Circus Atos – the story of Ravouka’s adventures only asks to expand.

If I had only one complaint about this game, it would be its soundtrack.
If I can remember myself at 7 years old, I can also remember that, at 7 years old, the famous soft and relaxing music could only make me angry and want to run away. And nature, if we start talking about real nature, doesn’t need relaxing music: it has its own noises, its own sounds, its own creaks, its own crumpling, its own melodies – and that’s enough to create a really nice atmosphere, which doesn’t give children the impression that they are being taken for little bombs to be calmed down by any means. That’s the only thing that bothered me – so the only thing I’ll see disappear if it happens on a stage.

A stage adaptation based on this story first, then on the game, seems very, very relevant to me – the discovery aspect is a major aspect of video games, and luckily, it’s also a major aspect of shows for young audiences.
When the chance grows to the point that the game has all the assets to create a show, we should not let this chance pass. Yes, that what I say & I say what I say and I think what I think – a serious girl, I tell you.

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Featured Image : Little Mouse’s Encyclopedia, by Tereza Vostradovska – Circus Atos

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