66/365 – Meditation Games #66 – Polarization Mirror

Developer: Alex Caswell

Launcher Quote: “we were born on common ground,

a blank slate without blame

we are so polarized and pulled apart

even if our journeys are the same.”

Teamwork in games, especially as it relates to progression, has been an age-old tactic to try to make things interesting in games. The idea that you can’t progress unless you solve one part of the puzzle to allow another person you control to move forward is a tactic designed to make you think and understand that it isn’t always about you the protagonist or primary player all the time. This is especially true in games where there is more than one person playing and you have to perform cooperative actions in order to win the game.

More to the point, however, today’s entry is about  togetherness and trying to get past being blind to someone else’s journey just because it isn’t our own. The irony of going through the puzzle in the game is that the opposite sides mirror each other perfectly – they’re symmetrical and even though you can choose to progress in multiple ways ultimately you end up at the center, having had each square help the other out at some point in the process. Whether or not the two units are meant to know or are aware of the fact that they’ve been helping the other is left to someone’s imagination, but I like to think that there may have been a certain level of shared ignorance that  is meant to be conveyed with regards to how the other unit got to the same place.

The message, then, appears to be more than just teamwork but also one of sensitivity, of trying to understand that journeys can still turn out similar even if people start out on opposite ends of the spectrum. It’s a bit of an optimistic take on trying to call for a bit of putting oneself in the other’s shoes – albeit literally in terms of playing the game – but it’s not like it’s an impossible thing to believe that people with diametrically opposed viewpoints might end up seeing that the other person isn’t lesser than them – that they might be somewhat equal and that they may have taken a similar path if not the same one, just with different viewpoints. In a world where people are definitely more polarized than previously, it’s an attempt at a message to call for some kind of empathy, even if it might not be obvious at first. Games have a funny way of lobbing such heavy messages under the guise of simple and well-traveled teamwork game mechanics.

 

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