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May Incatec

Under Hollywood History, all historical North/Central/South American nations are lumped into one exotic and often barbaric people: the Mayincatec, featuring aspects of the Maya, Inca and the Aztecs, plus many others. It's a tossed salad of exciting bits from all their histories, with a topping of myth and fiction. And the dressing is blood.

Common Mayincatec traits:

  • Human Sacrifice: Cutting out the heart of a living victim atop a ziggurat (step-sided pyramid).
  • Virgin Sacrifice: Ironically, the Aztecs, Mayans, and Inca primarily sacrificed males - female sacrifices aren't unheard of, but they tended to be special occasions or practiced by other tribes in the area. To be sure, it's not as prevalent in this setting as others featuring human sacrifice.
  • I'm a Humanitarian
  • Cannibal Tribe
  • Lots of priests, religion and monstrous gods.
  • Big stone temples with distinctive stonework, usually equipped with traps and underground labyrinths, ready to collapse.
  • Feathered headdresses, clubs studded with chunks of obsidian, loincloths.
  • Corn harvests, sun worship.
  • Complex stone jewelry: earrings, necklaces, chest pads.
  • Ornate and colorful decorations, geometric patterns. Intricate and scary carvings.
  • Jungle settings and an abundance of wildlife: snakes, spiders, jaguar and monkeys. In case of Incas, llamas may pop up.
  • A drug culture — coca and hallucinogens.
  • Panpipes, and bands of panpipers.
  • Conquistadors often feature as conquerors of the Mayincatec.
  • Desiccated bodies in ceremonial outfits: unwrapped mummies.
  • Gold, lots and lots of gold. Sometimes enough to build a city. And hidden treasure. Idols. Cursed artifacts.
  • Sometimes hidden advanced technology and/or links to Ancient Astronauts.
  • Giant line drawings out in the desert, like the Nazca Lines.
  • The Long Count Calendar, which has 394-year b'ak'tun cycles one of which ends on December 21, 2012. The historical Mayans did not predict any sort of apocalypse on this date, but it has nonetheless resulted in the Mayan Doomsday trope. Incidentally, the Mayan calendar is frequently erroneously portrayed with the Aztec calendar.
  • Sometimes, when the producers do the research, an extremely sophisticated grasp of astronomy.
  • If they use a specific god, it'll most likely be Quetzalcoatl, the Plumed Serpent. Since they'll probably know nothing beyond his name, they'll likely show human sacrifice to him, although he was perhaps the only god in many pantheons who didn't ask for it.

Generally the Mayincatec are more likely to be the villains than the heroes (unless there are Conquistadors around). They are prone to Historical Villain Upgrade. Some Alternate History stories have them survive to the modern day, resulting in a Modern Mayincatec Empire.

In Real Life, the Mayas, Incas, and Aztecs were all different; their actual history is interesting and diverges from the trope quite a bit. However keep in mind that the trope is frequently also valid in modern Latin America.

Please see Pre-Columbian Civilizations, Native American Mythology and Aztec Mythology.

See Also: Hollywood History and Very Loosely Based on a True Story. Compare Spexico and Banana Republic, for when this happens to modern Hispanic countries. Also compare Injun Country for composite versions of Native American cultures from North America. The Western equivalent is Ancient Grome.


Examples:

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    Advertising 
  • Kahlua Liqueur ran a TV ad campaign featuring Mayinctecs.
  • Hagaan Dazs Ice cream ran a campaign attributing the conquest of the Mayans and incidentally, the bringing of chocolate to Europe to Cortez.note 
  • In the trailer for Beverly Hills Chihuahua while Papi talks about how his ancestors fought with Aztec warriors, it shows an aerial view of Machu Pichu, an Incan city.

    Anime and Manga 
  • The entirety of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure starts out with a cursed Stone Mask created by the Aztecs. Although we later discover it is the creation of an immortal advanced race of people known as the Pillar Men. It still doesn't explain why they dress Mayincatec. Or even weirder, using steel weapons in one of the flashbacks.
  • The Mysterious Cities of Gold The heroes encounter the Maya, Inca, and Olmecs. In a twist, the Olmecs are Ancient Astronauts and the main villains.
  • A startling Gecko Ending to Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro has Yako investigating her father in Brazil, and meeting a tribe of Yakuza Aztecs.
  • Nazca is about reincarnations of ancient Incan warriors. In Japan. Using scenery based on Spanish colonial buildings. Wielding steel swords.
  • Naruto features artwork illustrating a Mayincatec civilization built on a most certainly not nuclear energy source that was later treated as evil, because it gave humans too much power.
  • The paintings during the opening credits of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind look a lot like South American-Indian artwork.
  • One Piece: Enel's "cover arc" featured an ancient civilization on the moon that used South American-Indian artwork. It's not clear if the moon-droids are good or evil — they're fighting against traditionally evil-looking mink/weasel-men in Spanish armor); regardless, they're now in the hands of Enel....
  • ∀ Gundam had the heroes passing by a country that seems to be a blend of Mayan, Incan, and Hispanic influences.
  • RahXephon uses the Mayan Long Count calendar, but also the Aztec terms ollin, ixtli, and yolteotl. In fact, knowing what those words mean in Aztec thought is essential for even understanding the story.

    Comic Books 
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe
    • The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck has a literal example — a statue on the Isthmus of Panama with Aztec, Incan, and Mayan influences in its design, commemorating trade across the isthmus.
    • The classic Carl Barks' Donald Duck story Lost In the Andes has Donald and the nephews discover a lost, vaguely Inca-ish civilization where everything is cube-shaped or full of right angles, even the people and the wildlife. The natives are friendly, but consider it a terrible crime to produce anything round. Naturally, the nephews have brought bubble gum. Hilarity Ensues.
    • The NES game have him visiting Inca jungle.
  • The Chaams in Thorgal, The Land of Qa.
  • The Zzutak Animators from early Marvel Comics
  • The Tick parodies this with The Deertown Aztecs — a former sports team that crashed in the jungle and now attempt to live their lives according to the only book they had: "Aztecs On My Mind." They have a temple pyramid complete with traps.
  • In one of their early adventures the Teen Titans encounter the half-animal demons of the pyramid temple at Xochatan ...in the Andes. (For clarification: "Xochatan" sounds awfully Mexican and not remotely Andean.)
  • The Adventures of Tintin: The Seven Crystal Balls and Prisoners of the Sun.'' The Incas are portrayed rather sympathetically, as even though they try to sacrifice the heroes, their interactions with outsiders have rarely been positive. Oh, and they suck at astronomy, as a plot point.
  • The Aztecs and the fall of Tenochtitlan figure big in the backstory of Hellboy: The Island. The Aztec priests had gold tablets inscribed with the true history of the Ogdru Jahad and the creation of the world.
  • Superboy Annual #3 (part of the Legends of the Dead Earth event) features a colony world called Aztlan whose settlers adopted a Mayincatec culture. One of the early colonists was a metahuman who inspired the others by fusing the myth of Quetzacoatl with the legend of Superman, beginning a line of Supermen and Superboys who believed they were granted their powers by the god.
  • The Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis comic adaptation opens with Indy being offered as a sacrifice to (and turned down by) "the Aztec god of war, Tenochtitlan" (although it turns out to be All Just a Dream). Tenochtitlan was actually the capital city of the most warlike group of the Aztec Empire, the Mexica; its site is the oldest part of Mexico City. The Mexica's patron deity and the god of war, was Huitzilopochtli.

    Films — Animated 
  • The Emperor's New Groove is pretty definitively set in the Incan Empire, although the word "Inca" is never said, and Kuzco's themesong guy refers to them as "Mesoamerican", which the Incans really weren't. Still, the mountain-and-jungle setting, the farming of llamas and alpacas, and the overall art style are all specifically Incan.
    • The animated series The Emperor's New School has decided to be a bit more specific and explicitly confirm that they are Incan, usually by way of jokes such as "Incan Idol."
  • The Road to El Dorado features a sort of generic South American native culture that has a lot of aspects of this trope albeit VERY Mayan flavored. Including the sacrifices—though that's mostly the bad guy trying to do those, presumably to fuel his Blood Magic.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Indiana Jones:
    • The Hovitos underground temple from Raiders of the Lost Ark.
    • The Maya-style temple in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. the film has aliens living with the ancient Maya and teaching them about agriculture, never mind that the characters are in Peru, closer to the Inca than the Maya, and even so using Inca may have been inaccurate geographically speaking. The civilization is supposed to be an Expy of El Dorado located in Brazil, with references to the Maya and other Mesoamerican cultures. The temple also included artifacts from civilizations all over the world.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl features cursed Aztec gold with Aztec-style skull carvings. The figure carved on the treasure chest itself is the "Gateway God" from the Gateway of the Sun at Tiahuanaco, Bolivia, hundreds of years and half a continent distant from the Aztecs.
  • Mel Gibson's controversial Apocalypto portrays the Maya as the The Evil Empire and a small village in the jungle as pure, innocent victims. There are obvious close parallels to Braveheart. He seemed to want to portray the Maya situation when part of the civilization collapsed and the cities had fallen into ruin and decadence. Except that he basically took every Aztec stereotype and gave them to the Maya. While they did practice human sacrifice and the period at the end of the classical era of the Maya was marked by increased warfare, neither are portrayed properly. It also has the priests offering the sacrifices to Kukulkan (Quetzalcoatl for the Aztecs), the one god in the pantheon that abhorred Human Sacrifice.
  • The Fountain by Darren Aronofsky, averts the trope by sticking steadfastly (and accurately) to Mayan imagery and symbolism. Xibalba, the Mayan underworld is represented as a golden nebula. The historically-based section note  features Conquistadors, Mayan warriors and priests, and a step-pyramid temple based on the actual archaeological site of Uxmal wherein lies the Tree Of Life. Within the work the Mayas are a collapsed civilization (which they were when the Conquistadors arrived.) The hidden pyramid is their last, secret hiding place, clearly already decrepit and neglected, with only a few dozen devoted guardians.
  • In Puma Man the villain wears a golden Aztec mask containing alien mind control circuitry. He is fought by Puma Man, a "man-god", sired by ancient alien Aztec pumas and equipped with a magical Aztec golden belt. Most of the real fighting is done by his mentor Vadinho, an Aztec priest to the space gods... who lives in a temple in the Andes. Inca territory. Gah!
  • Kings Of The Sun, a film about a deposed Mayan king escaping to the future United States and meeting another native American tribe led by Yul Brynner.
  • The first Alien vs. Predator film takes place mostly within a typically Mayincatec pyramid... buried in Antarctica (thanks to Ancient Astronauts). The experts who examined the temple seemed to think that it had features common to ancient cultures across the globe, but the main vibe was definitely Mesoamerican.
  • B-Movie Aztec Rex. Conquistadores led by Hernán Cortés meet Aztecs who worship two surviving Tyrannosaurus Rex. Hell Yeah!

    Literature 
  • The Case of the Toxic Spell Dump by Harry Turtledove.
  • Captive Universe: a Generation Ship is launched to the stars. The population of the ship is given a copy of the Aztec's culture which is depicted as brutal but ideal, from the designers point of view: it is very stable and crushes all curiosity and restlessness.
  • Where's Waldo Now? has Waldo in the middle of a giant Aztec vs Conquistador battle. The Aztecs seemed to be winning. This may seem surprising, but during the Noche Triste (Sorrowful night), the 30th of June 1520, the population of Tenochtitlan (Mexico) rioted against the invaders and drove them out with heavy losses. Cortes came back with a vengeance...
  • Parodied as the Tezuman Empire in Discworld novel Eric by Terry Pratchett. Their god Quezovercoatl is a feathered boa, which is almost the same as a winged snake. And is actually a low-level demon about six inches high.
  • MAR Barker wrote five novels based in the world of Tekumel, a world he created from aspects of virtually all Pre-Columbian Meso-American cultures. He created Tekumel for the same reason that Tolkien built Middle Earth: so that he could have a world to use as a linguistic playground. In Barker's case the languages he created were based on Indo-Asian and Meso-American languages, and the cultural mix is the result of deliberate choice, not lack of research.
  • The Mask of the Sun by Fred Saberhagen features Aztecs and Incas from alternate futures where each survived and prospered trying to tamper with history as we know it to create their (mutually incompatible) histories. And the titular mask is a device from one of those futures that gives its wearer precognitive hints.
  • Everworld features the Aztecs still existing (along with many other ancient civilizations) in an alternate universe, ruled over by the Physical God Huitzilpoctli. As a result their whole civilization seems to revolve around getting him human hearts to eat, to the point that the people themselves are forced into eating the rest to survive.
  • In The Dresden Files the leaders of the Red Court follow this. Of course, as Blood Magic using vampires the sacrifices are only to be expected.
  • Presumably on account of very little being known about them, when the Olmecs appear in S.M.Stirling’s Island in the Sea of Time books, their culture appears to be just a compilation of different Mesoamerican stereotypes like viewing strangers as gods and practicing human sacrifice.
  • In Orson Scott Card's Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus', where the author has somewhat Shown His Work in researching the Native American cultures, specifically Mesoamerican and Caribbean ones. He then postulates what would happen if Columbus never sailed West (the Tlaxcalans, even more bloodthirsty but much more progressive than the Aztecs, would rise to power, conquer their continent and then cross into Europe to Take Over the World). Except that the Tlaxcalans were nowhere near as bloodthirsty, war-loving or expansionist as the Mexica, the main ethnic group of the Aztec Empire.
  • In his Earth (The Book), Jon Stewart implies the collapse of the Mayan civilization due to Cortés. Except Cortés didn't have anything to do with the conquest of Yucatan. He focused his efforts on conquering the Aztec lands. It would be other Spaniards who would attack the Maya later. In fact, the Maya wouldn't fall until over 150 years later, and their civilization was already in decline even before the conquistadors got there. They're still around, by the way.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Exxilons in the Doctor Who serial Death To The Daleks have elements of this as well; they're the Ancient Astronauts who visited the Incas, and their Great City looks a lot like a step pyramid. In the Doctor Who New Adventures novel The Left Handed Hummingbird they also accidentally left some technology where the Aztecs could find it.
    • Averted in The Aztecs, where some research was done to make it historically accurate.
  • Kolchak: The Night Stalker episode "Legacy of Terror". An Aztec cult is trying to resurrect the mummy of their god Nanauatzin. They sacrifice perfect people by cutting out their hearts. Features scary bird masks, feathered headdresses and a sacrifice scene at the top of a flight of steps at the local sports stadium in lieu of a step pyramid.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Inca Mummy Girl", where the titular mummy was a victim of human sacrifice.
    • Except that some Incan mummies are believed by archaeologists to have been human sacrifices to the mountain god, Inti, so it may be an example of Truth in Television.
  • The Crystal Maze: a game show that featured an Aztec Zone which was full of sand, temples and Bamboo Technology.
  • Nick Arcade's Ancient Tomb level from The Video Zone.
  • Legends of the Hidden Temple bases its entire design on this trope, most notably with Olmec, the giant stone head who served as the show's co-host.
  • The Feathered Serpent, an ITV historical drama from the 1970s featuring Patrick Troughton as the bloodthirsty high priest.
  • On QI, the resident idiot Alan Davies makes this mistake. Stephen Fry calls him on it.
  • Averted by Horrible Histories: the Mayans have not been featured at all, but the Aztecs and Incas are accurately treated as two distinct cultures.
    • Played straight with the hairstyles, of all things. Incan women are shown wearing Horned Hairdos, when it was the Aztec women who wore their hair like that.
  • During his time aboard the ISS, Larry in NUMB3RS makes himself a quipu, a recording device used by Andean South American cultures (e.g. the Inca) consisting of threads of llama or alpaca hair encoded by knots in a base ten system. It was primarily used to record numerical data for tribute payments. Unfortunately, Larry, who appears to know much about them, claims they were used by Aztecs (that North America). Furthermore, he claims to have encoded his memories on them, even though right now it's only being speculated that the quipu were used for more than numerical data and no other meaning has been decyphered.

    Music 
  • Neil Young's Cortez The Killer is all sorts of confused. It mentions Cortez, Montezuma and human sacrifice - so Aztecs, right? But the very next verse (yep, right after the stuff about human sacrifice) we have "Hate was just a legend/ And war was never known". So maybe not the Aztecs. The Inca certainly "lifted many stones"... but they never met Cortez. The Incas, being the biggest empire with the biggest and best equipped army in the Americas before the Europeans showed up, don't seem to have "never known" about war, either.
  • Animusic: The large temple at the end of the video for "Heavy Light" resembles Aztec design. (The drum + laser arch drops circles of light which play the drums.)

    Pinball 

    Tabletop Games 
  • The blood mages from Castle Falkenstein
  • Shadowrun: Aztlan. Something of an invoked trope in that it's explicitly noted in-universe that the Aztlan powers-that-be have deliberately thrown random motifs from old Latin-American cultures together to create a national identity to suit their own ends. One of the narrators of the Aztechnology sourcebook sarcastically notes that most of the Aztlan leadership are descended from European ancestors and have little to no grounding in the "ancient culture" they've "revived" at all.
  • In Nomine — based on the conflicts of gods and devils — features Quetzalcoatl, Mictalantechtli, Huitzilopochtli and other Aztec gods.
  • Wraith The Oblivion: unusual in having sympathetic Aztec ghosts.
  • Several Aztec gods are featured in the Rifts sourcebook: "Pantheons of the Megaverse". "World Book 9: South America Two" features the Empire of the Sun, a Magic- and Technology-using state ruled by the actual Incan gods. In addition, they also have several Nazca influences, not due to poor research, but rather an alliance and assimilation with the ancient Nazca Line Makers and their descendants.
  • One of the pantheons player characters can choose from in the tabletop RPG Scion is the Aztec one. It features Mictlantecuhtli, God of death and the underworld, who is a sadistic SOB even by the standards of Aztec Mythology, and that is saying something. The "Aztlanti" pantheon are not the only Central American pantheon; they're just one of the last ones left following the war with the Titans. Others are still around, but not nearly as powerful. The Atzlanti signature character, Dr. Aaron Tigrilla, is fairly sympathetic — he was a surgeon who got around that "necessary blood sacrifice" bit by sacrificing the leftovers of heart surgery to Tezcatlipoca. As you can imagine, this didn't go over too well when the board found out. He eventually becomes the god of extirpation, and works to patch up soldiers in the war against the Titans note .
  • There are several examples of this in Exalted, as well. Firstly, the characters used to represent the language of Old Realm are pretty much directly based off of Mayan hieroglyphs. Also, the First Age was either completely loaded down with this trope, or it was mostly limited to the areas in the Southeast around Rathess, depending on your edition.
  • The Lizardmen in Warhammer, Fantasy Counterpart Culture of the Mayincatec. Culturally they're closer to the Maya, with the interest in astronomy and prophecies and the like; however one of their major gods is based on Quetzalcoatl, and the jewelry they often carry is more Aztec-inspired, as is their focus on blood sacrifice. To complete the hat-trick, they have a habit of mummifying dead rulers and displaying them as relics, which is taken from the Inca (said mummified remains are haunted by Slann's spirit and are the most powerful magic users in the setting).
  • Empire Of The Petal Throne, (1975) published by TSR. It's set in the world of Tekumel, created by M.A.R. Barker (see the entry in Literature).
  • Several Dungeons & Dragons sourcebooks, including Deities & Demigods, have presented versions of the Aztec pantheon suitable for use in campaigns.
    • The jungle continent Xen'drik in the Eberron campaign setting has a Mayincatec flavour.
    • The Forgotten Realms campaign setting featuresnote  the continent of Maztica, far to the west across the ocean from Faerun, with a dominant culture, the Nexalans, based closely on the Aztecs. It was subject to invasion by the Amnians and their admiral Cordell and became the site of a burgeoning Faerunian colony. Based so closely on the Aztecs, in fact, that it might technically not count as Mayincatec: rather than generic ancient South American culture, the Nexalans are Aztecs. With a quick word-find-and-replace for proper nouns, and a light sprinkling of taking the mythology at face value (this was TSR policy at the time, though Maztica was one of the most severe offenders).
      • Additionally, the sourcebook Serpent Kingdoms, describing the society and history of the yuan-ti (a race of evil snake people) gives them some distinctly Mesoamerican-inspired architecture and culture.
    • A classic adventure set in the World of Greyhawk, Lost Shrine of Tamoachan, has the Player Characters exploring the ruins of an Maya-themed temple. Later, the Olman people from Hepmonaland and the Amedio Jungle in the distant south were introduced with a culture that was pure Mayincatec.
    • The Hollow World of the Mystara setting, being a collection of Fantasy Counterpart Cultures, has the Azcan as Mayincatec.

    Videogames 
  • The Mystic Ruins and Angel Island in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. Some of the characters are even named after Central and South American locations. Sega paid a few developers around $250,000 each to go down to Mexico and base Mystic Ruin after the Mayan temples.
    • And the unrelated to Echindas Genocide City zone has some Mayincatec elements.
  • Aztec: an early videogame from the Apple II era. The Indiana Jones-alike protagonist had to explore the Tomb of Quetzalcoatl in search of a jade idol, facing beasts, snakes, spiders, traps and fearsome blowgun-toting warriors rendered in all their 80's graphics glory.
  • Greendog: the protagonist is a cool surfer dude unfortunately cursed with an amulet that prevents surfing. He must track down a lost Aztec civilisation and recover six pieces of treasure in order to lift the curse.
  • Tomb Raider: The City of Vilcabamba is based on the real-life last outpost of the Inca. It contains a gold idol modelled on a Tumi, a ceremonial knife used in sacrifices.
  • Call of Juarez, a Western-themed FPS has the protagonists seeking and finding Aztec treasures.
  • Fahrenheit (Released in America as Indigo Prophecy): Big Bad The Oracle is a Mayan priest who performed human sacrifice, magically living on into the present day. The other Big Bad is suspiciously Matrixish Artificial Intelligences the Maya fight against. It's a weird game.
  • Inca 1992, Sierra On-Line. Inca and Conquistadors at war in space!
  • Rise of Nations features the Mayans, Inca, and Aztec all separately, but the Aztecs do get the "Power of Sacrifice" as their starting power.
  • Rise of Legends has the Cuotl, a race of jungle dwelling natives led by alien gods, who use animate stone jaguars and snakes as combat units.
  • The jungle trolls from Warcraft are a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of the Aztecs. They have Mesoamerican pyramids, practice humanoid sacrifice and some worship the blood god Hakkar, who is portrayed as a winged serpent (read: Quetzalcoatl). Other trolls in different regions of the world have some Mayincatec architecture but the parallels aren't as obvious as the jungle ones.
  • Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure.
  • Zuma is a color-chain matching game given a Mayincatec design theme.
  • Banjo-Tooie: Mayahem Temple.
  • Age of Empires II does largely avert the trope, but has to use it to a certain extent to make the game function properly, such as using Eagle Warriors as a common unit to Mayans and Aztecs rather than just Aztec. Also, while both civilisations have exactly the same architectural style, this is due to putting its societies into aesthetic groups: Chinese/Japanese/Koreans/Mongols, British/Celts/Franks/Spanish, Byzantines/Saracens/Persians/Turks and Huns/Goths/Vikings/Teutons all look the same too.
    • Further avoided by the programmers since they did consider adding an Inca civilization in the x-pack, but decided to drop it when they found that it would require a completely different architectural style (the other reason was that they already had trouble designing two playable factions with no cavalry, and felt that they couldn't do a third that would come as different enough from either of them).
  • Empire Earth 2 featured a campaign about the Aztecs actually beating Cortes and eventually establishing a nation parallel to the United States.
  • Donkey Kong 64 had Angry Aztec, with a llama in the middle of a tropical jungle in an island with no mountain high enough to match the Andes. The level itself is mostly a desert. While Peru and Chile have desert coasts, llamas resides in the mountains that are nothing like the Aztec themed desert of the work at hand.
  • K. Rool's new outfit in Mario Super Sluggers has a marked pre-Columbian influence.
  • Huitzil from Dark Stalkers is a Mayincatec space robot.
  • The RTS/civilization game Theocracy is set in and around the Aztec empire. In the campaigns you play the Aztecs or other nearby tribes.
  • One of the scenes in Sanitarium takes place in a very Mayincatec village, where the villagers are terrorized by a bloodthirsty rampaging Quetzalcoatl. Except it's really your nemesis, so there's an excuse for out of character behavior. Also, you are at the time Olmec, a stone warrior god. Also, it all only exists within your mind.
  • Taiyou No Shinden Asteka II note  is a first-person graphical adventure game that has the ruins of Mayan city Chichén Itzá as a setting.
  • OutRun 2006 has a Mayincatec race track. It ends with the atlantes from Tula in the state of Hidalgo, sitting next to the pyramids of Teotihuacán in the State of Mexico, after crossing the pyramid of Chichén-Itzá in the Yucatán peninsula which is next to the Major Temple in downtown Mexico City.
  • Ultima: Worlds of Adventure: The Savage Empire has a liberal sprinkling of this trope. The primary example is the Nahuatla tribe, who live in a city called Tichticatl. There's also a lost underground city formerly inhabited by the Kotl, who were Mayincatec lizard people.
  • The ruins of La-Mulana appear to be located in Latin America and at first appear to be the work of ancient indigenous people. The boss Palenque is based on a famous Maya bas-relief often interpreted by cranks as evidence of Ancient Astronauts. The final year of the Aztecs' fifth age (2012) figures in one of the puzzles.

    Unusually, the mix of South American cultures is explicitly explained in the backstory; the ruins of La-Mulana are the birthplace of all civilizations. Every area contains elements of different cultures and mythologies, suggesting that theses cultures actually borrowed theological, architectural, and mythological elements from La-Mulana. Lemeza notes this in one of his lectures on the Wiiware remake blog. Being an archaeologist, he is quick to point out the images, structures and elements, seen in multiple ancient cultures including the Mayan, Teotihuacan, Aztec, Tiwanaku, Inca, and even Persian civilizations.
  • Shadowbane has a bunch of lizardmen who inhabit heavily Aztec influenced ruins. While the blood sacrifice aspect isn't played up much, the game lore say that they were up to something pretty bad - that is, until the centaurs killed off their priesthood.
  • Walled City in Star Fox Adventures has a very clear Mayincatec look, complete with the pyramids, though its inhabitants don't have any Mayincatec traits. It is a likely cross between this and Asian architecture, which may explain the presence of dragon heads near the Arwing. Likewise, Cloudrunner Fortress is a blend of Greek, Japanese and Mayincatec elements.
  • Kehjistan in Diablo 2 combines Mayincatec building elements with South Asian jungles. It is also the seat of power of a monotheistic, very Christian influenced world religion, and most of it has a very Darkest Africa feel. They do practice blood sacrifice - to the prime evil Mephisto, probably without even knowing it.
  • Averted in Civilization 4 and 5, where you can play as the Aztecs or as the Incas, or even as the Maya in a later expansion, all as separate distinct peoples. And go on to invent plastics and launch a rocket into space. It's quite awesome, and ironic, to play as one of these civilizations and then conquer Spain. Especially on a map duplicating Earth where you can reverse the tide of colonisation.
  • Mayincatec designs show up a lot in Yume Nikki. It's anyone's guess why Mayincatec gods/symbols/abominations — among other things feature so much in the dreams of a Japanese Hikikomori.
  • Soldier Of Fortune II has a level in Colombia that has Mayan temple ruins, which is a gross failure in geography.
  • In Tony Hawk's Underground 2, one of the sections of the Pro Skater level has an ancient temple with native NPCs holding spears and wearing headdresses.
  • The Sealed Evil in a Can in Shivers originated from an unspecified ancient Central American civilization.
  • Crash Bandicoot is based on Oceanic places such as - and most prominently - New Zealand, but in many games there's plenty of Maya-esque imagery, especially in the first game of the series.
  • Game Freak loves America so much, they've dedicated at least one mon to each continent. The Kanto region gives us Zapdos, a thunderbird. Natives of Johto can get Natu, a quetzal, that evolves into Xatu, a totem pole. And in Unova, which is in the United States, you get Sigilyph, which looks like a living Nazca Line drawing.
  • Skies of Arcadia features the Ixa'Takans, a primitive Mayincatec Fantasy Counterpart Culture complete with with an invasion by the very Spain-like Valuans.
  • Persona 2 has "mystical" ruins created by Mayans mysteriously appear after the publication of a book of such rumors. Those ruins never existed before that. The book's release brought them into reality.
  • Spelunky has every Mayincatec trope in the book. Human sacrifice, priests with feather headdresses worshiping evil gods, underground trap-filled stone temples, and even a gold city. Oh, and throw in an Olmec head for good measure.
  • Shin Megami Tensei frequently includes Mesoamerican and South American gods in its Demonic Compendium, but they are almost always well-researched and specifically tied to their cultural origin. Of particular note, Soul Hackers and Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey (which takes its demon designs from the former) use Quetzalcoatl's "pale-skinned Caucasian priest" form rather than the too-literal (but inaccurate) "snake with wings" of the original series and the Persona subfranchise (Quetzalcoatl's "feathered serpent" form is actually Gucumatz, another name for the Mayan version of Quetzalcoatl, Kukulcan, and is depicted as a separate demon in the games.)
  • Averted in the Real-Time Strategy game American Conquest. All three civilizations have unique bonuses, building architecture and units.
  • Golden Sun: The Lost Age has the city of Contigo, which is in this style. Bizarrely, it's also the birth hometown of Ivan, who lives in Kalay and looks European, and Hama, who lives near Xian and looks Chinese. And they're siblings.
  • The Lost Kingdom park in Theme Park World, which name-drops Incan, Mayan, and Aztec cultures simultaneously.
  • One of the new characters to be featured in Mortal Kombat X is Kotal Kahn, who looks like a straight example of this trope at first glance, but he is an overall faithful representation of Huitzilopochtli, and his name bears resemblance to Quetzalcoatl.

    Webcomics 
  • The "Death Volley" chapter of The Adventures of Dr. McNinja is an adventure set in a classic Mayincatec trap-filled temple. The end of the chapter hints at what gets revealed later: that King Radical built the culture that created said temple.
  • Wapsi Square establishes a link between Mayan and Egyptian culture via Atlantis. Quite surprising for what started out looking like a Friends-style webcomic sitcom. The Long Count Calendar (See main article above) is key to the plot.
  • Pilli Adventure has had several Aztec monsters show up, including a beheaded ball-game player and an animated water-pot.
  • One Subnormality strip features The Pink-Haired Girl being sent a drink at a bar by "the merciless Teoxhl...something something", who turns out to be a giant Mayincatec-style stone idol. The drink is jaguar blood.
    "Gawd, these desperate older guys are so creepy. You just know he's hoping you're a virgin too."
  • You can see traces of Mesoamerican culture here and there in Nahast: Lands of Strife.

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons receive an Olmec head of Xtapolapocetl in one episode. It frequently reappears as a Freeze-Frame Bonus. In an aversion of this trope, when Maggie sees the head, she points to a card saying Aztec, and Lisa corrects her, saying "Not Aztec. Olmec. Ol-mec."
  • Combo Niños, despite being quite animesque, is pretty much loaded with iconography in this trope line.
  • The Histeria! episode "The Montezuma Show"
  • The Sun Warriors in Avatar: The Last Airbender resemble the Aztecs. Word of God says they added a few Asian traits into them.
  • Superjail! had an episode where they uncover the ancient city of Pummel-onia, a Mayincatec shrine to war and fighting. They even have a god of war in ceremonial dress that was trapped in animal form.
  • Subverted in X-Men: Beast and Jubilee are travelling around Peru, and come across an isolated tribe. Beast immediately notes that they are Mayan, not Inca, and about 3,000 miles south of where they should be.

    Real Life 
  • The Mexico pavilion at Epcot is built to look like an Aztec pyramid.
  • If there's human sacrifice in pre-Columbian North America (the only case after Columbus being the Pawnee), it will most likely be attributed to Mesoamerican civilizations.
  • The closest to a real life example of a Mayincatec culture is probably the rarely discussed Tarascan Empire in Western Mexico, a long-time enemy of the Aztecs. The Tarascans (who even today call themselves P'urhépecha or "Newcomers") speak a language isolate, were the first in Mesoamerica to work copper and bronze, and made ceramics with apparent Andean stylistic influences. It's been suspected for a long time that they descend from pre-Inca South American peoples that sailed to Mexico from what is now Colombia and Ecuador.
  • A complication in this trope is that it is often plainly apparent that there was a lot of cross-cultural exchange going on between the various city-building cultures of Mesoamerica. Elements like the Ball Game, some form of blood sacrifice (anything from token drops of blood to ripping out the hearts of whole village's worth of people one after the other), and substantial portions of basic mythological structures are often shared between multiple civilizations. As we can trace back complex civilizations in this region for at least a couple of thousand years, it would be quite surprising if there wasn't substantial appearance of similar cultural themes. But between Mesoamerican and South American cultures, not so much.


Lost WorldTropes of the JungleBig Creepy-Crawlies
Mary SuetopiaJustForFun/TropemanteauMetaphorgotten
Latin LandCultural BlendingNorse by Norsewest
Ancient AfricaHollywood HistoryPre-Columbian Civilizations
LEGO GeneticsImageSource/OtherSpace Police

alternative title(s): The Aztecs; The Inca; The Maya; The Olmecs; The Toltec; Hollywood Maya; Hollywood Inca; Hollywood Aztec
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