96/365 – Meditation Games #96 – Tragedy Through Static

Developer Credits: Steven Zavala, Aaron Garcia

Launcher Quote“April 6th 2018.

I got the call my friend Jacob had killed himself. He was 26.

I met him in 3rd grade. he was the funniest person I’ve ever known. He invented the concept of “comedic integrity”, which is something like the opposite of regular integrity. It means to commit to a joke at all costs. even if no one else thinks it’s funny. Especially if no one else thinks it’s funny.

I was in the bar in Boston, 800 mailes from home, the sound of a party in the background.

So many people that didn’t know Jacob, that would never get to know him. It was my loss and theirs. I pitied everyone on Earth that would never even know Jacob had lived.

He hated himself as much as anyone else loved him.

I wanted to go back into that bar and tell everyone to stop having fun. There was no way they could enjoy themselves now that Jacob was dead.

Instead, I took a taxi back to where I was crashing and cried on the couch.

‘Catch you guys on the flippy floppy. Have fun.’

-Jacob’s last recorded words.”

When something horrid happens to you, or to someone that you care about, there’s a kind of mental cut that happens through everything that you’re doing at the time. You could be out and about, at home doing something in your normal routine, or in the case of the developer, at a concert where everyone is clearly having a good time and enjoying themselves. That cut slices right through everything, making everything else that isn’t relevant to the event seem like background noise and static.

This is why today’s game, which centers around hearing the news of a friend’s suicide, is so very appropriate and well portrayed. The objective is simple – click at the right time to dispel more of the static and hear more of the song, while improper clicks increase the static noise around you. The melancholy of the song in question becomes clearer the more you succeed, and it certainly has a haunting feeling that typifies how tragic news is usually delivered and received.

In that same vein, having a dual outcome (all static through improper clicking or the song, clear through many good clicks) is a bit how people tend to deal with tragedy, too. They can choose to lose themselves for a bit in the place or event or happening that they are at when they hear the news, choose to listen just to that static noise, or they can cut through that and choose to deal with it in the here and now, or otherwise involuntarily banish that static to know that “nothing else matters”. The developer doesn’t particularly leave it to either outcome to be the right one – after all, dealing with tragedy and grief is different for some folks versus others – but it does introduce an interesting element of choice that reflects how something so awful can be addressed.

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