117/365 – Meditation Games #117 – Bounce Symphony

Developer:  Ryan Roth, Farbs

Launcher Quote: “Touch. Bounce. Listen.”

There’s a reason that wind chimes are popular with people, whether when you’re an infant or young person or adult, or someone much older. There’s a sense of mellifluous charm about the sound and symphony of tubes bouncing off each other, creating seemingly random sounds and melodies, but yet never really sounding like a cacophony or disruption to one’s ears. The fact that to one’s own ear a set of chimes one minute can differ from another that comes out the next is just a part of that random, musical appeal.

While today’s game isn’t exactly as random, it is certainly no less enticing. The mechanics are simple – you hold the ball with the mouse and then let it fly at the nearest solid-looking surface, causing a chimed sound to bounce off of it and then off of the next one, with some very interesting sounds potentially happening if you manage to trap the ball between two surfaces, having it whizz and bounce off of them and creating a whole metric ton of symphonic bouncing. Better yet is the fact that you get to shift between scenarios, starting off in a field with growing crops and eventually ending up in the night sky, bouncing off of the moon and the stars.

There’s no real goal with the bouncing of this ball against all these surfaces – at least not one that is organized and direct. You’re meant to enjoy the randomness, listen to the different ways you can create bouncing, ricocheting sounds, make the ball go as fast or as slow as you want doing so. In this respect, it’s not much different than the randomness of the wind chimes that I was talking about before, carried along by the wind rather than the flick of a mouse hand. Such exercises in games aren’t really meant to have a message that is being sent – rather the fact that the activity is what should be done is the message, if that makes sense. Like bouncing a ball off a wall to think, we’ve seen plenty of games in this series that are just simple things meant for players to do, to get them into a thinking or meditating state – this one just happens to be an activity that is as pleasing to the ears as it is to what’s seen and done on-screen.


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One thought on “117/365 – Meditation Games #117 – Bounce Symphony

  1. Hi Frank,

    Thanks for the review!

    I’ve been thinking lately about The Death of the Author, so it was interesting to see some of my own work interpreted via authorial intention. My own view is that it’s perfectly valid to view a work in authorial context, and perfectly valid to view it without, so there’s no skin off my nose here.

    Anyhow, for what it’s worth, I can’t speak to Ryan’s authorial intent (I forgot to ask him) but I can speak to mine. My intention was to create little pockets of time where the player can fiddle around with what’s in front of them, if and in whatever way they choose. It’s a bit like waiting at a bus stop (before smartphones). Maybe you’ll watch a line of ants. Maybe you’ll tap your foot to a song in your head. Maybe you’ll think about what to cook for dinner. The point is you’re going to be here for this little pocket of time, and there’s nothing you have to do, so you can spend that time however you like.

    Anyhow, thanks again for this piece!

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