7/365 – Meditation Games #7 – Learning Mood Swings

Author: Mattias Ditto Dittrich

Launcher Quote: “No matter how much we try to control it, our mood will always swing back and forth. Every time the mood changes we learn something, and the line grows. Use the mouse to interact with what’s happening. The game ends when the line is long enough.”

Today’s entry was the first that actually explained the game mechanics and instructed me in some way, which was interesting for a couple of reasons. First, it allowed me to play and figure out the game much faster. A good tutorial, even if it’s only a couple lines, can’t be underestimated especially after the more immersive, figuring-out experience of the first 6 days. Second, it still allowed me some of that figuring out, but mostly because I’d made assumptions about things – how I was able to interact with the objects (I didn’t actually know the line could be rotated except by accident) and how quickly I could make the game come to its conclusion. In this way, it was kind of the best of both worlds of guidance and actual experience.

I half-expected the game to operate a little like Pong when I first saw what to me was a familiar paddle and ball. I’d spent a decent amount of time with Pong back in the day when the heyday of arcades was a thing. But seeing the object be to extend the line by “catching” the object moving back and forth as it changed was still just as satisfying. Simple interactions are some of these games’ stock in trade, and with its three geometric shapes this was among the simplest so far.

But simple is good here, given the intended message. I’m not terribly sure about the notion that we’re in a binary state of moods that go back and forth – after all, there’s typically more than two moods you can be (although if the idea is couched in the context of how being bipolar can sometimes operate, that notion changes). But I can definitely see the learning message. When younger, it’s more difficult to control moods – you can have trouble getting them under control or changing them as needed to fit the situation. You can sometimes misfire or just miss changing your emotional state at the right time. But as we gain more experience, as we learn how moods and emotions work, it gets a lot easier to control and change them – to catch them as they move throughout our psyche in response to stimuli. It’s no surprise that the longer line makes it easier to deal with moods in this context.

Another interpretation, based on the fact that the mood object wasn’t always moving back and forth in a straight line, was that our emotional state is something we should and do work to control every day in response to things that happen. In that sense, moods and emotions are sort of like a wild set of impulsive feelings, needing to be reined in and caught/flexed appropriately to the situation at hand. Whether or not that gets easier in this context is another story, but we do nevertheless still learn something from them.

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