114/365 – Meditation Games #114 – Heart Cycle

Developer: John Cooney

Launcher Quote: “Bicycles bring me incredible joy. The sights, smells, the world rushing by; every romanticized sentiment that could be made about bicycles to me is real and special. I’m not a hardcore cyclist by any means, but I find my life is better when I carve out an hour to go for a ride. While I’m passionate and humbled I have a career in making video games, I also find game development wildly difficult, time-consuming, and stressful. But when I ride a bike I find these challenges much more bearable. A bicycle creates a place I can clear my mind, get exercise, feel joy, and come home reset and ready for the new challenges ahead.

I chase down my joy on a bicycle. While I selfishly hope you share some of my passion for bicycles, I more importantly hope you’re taking time to chase down some joy for yourself.

<3 John.”

I can see how the developer compares being on a bicycle to being on a chase, one that never quite ends but is part of the appeal of being on a bike in the first place. You’re exercising, but you’re also free, riding where you want to be and looking towards a distance that you can choose to have last as short or as long as you want it to be. Some people who enjoy biking tell me that it’s the combination of this travel and the act of pedaling your way that feels like you’re getting somewhere under your own power, whether that is literally or figuratively.

It was interesting that for this game that you not only had to pedal, but you also had to do so in the right rhythm in order to build your speed and keep yourself in time with the heart in the center of the bicycle chain. This goes to show, to me, that riding a bicycle isn’t just about straight up pedaling without thinking, but that you have to also feel the rhythm of doing so, that you build your speed with the right kind of pedaling that doesn’t burn you out but also provides enough power in order to propel yourself forward. You’re also made to make adjustments to that rhythm, making sure that you have the right changes to speed to go faster and move into that pace that seems to make you fly.

Metaphors abound for this kind of game, but the one that was most obvious is to not only know when to clear your head and do something that you love to do in order to get yourself re-focused but to also know when to make adjustments to the pace of what you’re doing in life, to ensure that you’re not burning yourself out or going at such a slow speed such that you would let the world pass you by. It’s not only a lesson about things to do to relax yourself but how to do so, and is a dual message that I think we could all use a reminder for.

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