39/365 – Meditation Games #39 – Remembrance

Developer: AYolland

Launcher Quote: “sometimes when i think about you

i wonder what boring, mundane stuff you’d be up to

and that stings.

sometimes when i think about you

i think i could’ve been a better friend

i’m not always sure i deserve to miss you

or at least not this much.”

Loss is a part of life, and loss of loved ones or people who we find precious even moreso. Games, like other media, take a stab at times at eliciting the feeling of loss, whether that is through poignant scenes preceded by a variety of character-building meant to establish an emotional connection, or through making you get used to the fact that you have someone with you during the course of the game before you lose them, or through the doomed character themselves being a significant part of the plot. The results are typically varied – not everyone can really create the scene that occurs when Sephiroth kills Aerith in Final Fantasy VII, after all – but the ones that do succeed tend to make a lasting impression.

Today’s entry seems to focus in on the post-loss, remembrance part of these events, whether they be in games or in real life. The mechanics are simple – find the thing that was precious to the now-lost person, and place it as a memorial on their grave – but the presentation reminded me of those old top-down RPG games that had you examine items and move between screens to advance gameplay. It was a neat call back to those days of games, but I also think that not being able to present any text at all forced me to have to understand there were places and things I had to do before I could meet the game’s goal. It’s a testament to the fact that you don’t really need to have text or exposition to make these games work, even if they’re presented in a way that normally would necessitate that (the days of button-pressing past text dialogues from characters are ones I remember fondly, though maybe not if I couldn’t make the text go faster, heh).

Like any remembrance, the bringing of the flower to the grave circles the game back around to the beginning, opening scene where that self-same flower type was given from the character when they were alive. Flashbacks are common when it comes to these sorts of scenes, as a way to create that sort of emotional weight to the scene and the character as you, the survivor, eventually let them go (but never forget them). The way it works in real life often includes this sort of memorial reverie, and like in the game, serves to at least give you a little comfort at the fact that even though the person is gone, the memories still remain, regardless of whether the surviving character feels worthy to have them, or even be there. That’s another game storytelling mechanic for another day, but for now, seeing the message presented so simply, but yet carry the same weight, is enough.

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