26/365 – Meditation Games #26 – Back and Forth Living
Developer: Felipe Nunes
Launcher Quote: “Enjoy!”
The presentation of pixel type gaming brings me back to early days of my own enjoyment of games in general, when the most complex games were on multiple disks and you had to install them one after the other and when registration keys were written on the inside of the manual. But more than that, I remember those days and appreciate them mostly because of what use the developers made of what they had in front of them. Simple colors and pixel creations, the basic ideas of movement and doing things in order to accomplish game goals, and the like were all that was needed in order to present an idea or draw the player in.
Today’s game from Felipe was a great reminder of this, mostly because the progression is set to a very specific movement of moving back and forth, with the goal to ultimately move on and get out of the room. The events of the game, in this case set to what I believe are the appearance of more members of the family, are connected to this very simple movement but accomplish this goal of progression with players easily, so long as you pay attention to the subtle clue in the background that shows you what to do. It’s yet another reason why I favor the rule of no text in these games – the visual cues, even with a depiction as basic as colored blocks, still serve to tell the player without any words that they’re succeeding at moving the game forward.
As to the meaning, I’m reminded of how some games show time progression in the midst of the character’s action on screen, where each repetition is meant to show how the character, repeating the same routines over time, is actually showing years pass by rather than moments. We see the character on screen find someone to be with, get a pet, get kids, and eventually are shown the way to the end of the game via the exit. It’s to me a bit striking that so simple a mechanic can depict so meaningful a progression, not just in a game but in life itself – and it might even be a bit of a message as to the mundane-ness with which we sometimes approach life in repeating things like waking up, getting out of a room, then returning at the end of the day to sleep again, destined to repeat the same pattern again the next day. Perhaps it’s a reminder to do more than just move back and forth every day – or that it’s inevitable and unavoidable even with the most excitable of lives. Maybe it’s saying nothing at all and is just a game where you move back and forth to win. It’s these sorts of open-ended opportunities for interpretation that make this project really cool, even when things appear to be simplistic in these games.