169/365 – Meditation Games #169 – Desert Castle Journey

Developer: Joe Bain

Launcher Quote: “The Castle

In June 2018 I was on holiday with my girlfriend in Tuscany. We had a hire car so we could drive around and explore the area. I’m not a great driver and she’s not the best navigator, so between us we took a few wrong turns and got lost once or twice.

This game is about getting lost but not minding. Sometimes getting lost is just exploring a new area, enjoying what you discover, and realising that you’ll probably get there in the end.”

It seems a little cliche, but the old saying about it being more about the journey than the destination probably applies more to road trips and travel away from home than with anything else, at least in the literal sense of the saying. After all, part of the whole point of a trip isn’t as much about where you end up as where you end up going in the process. Most trips that are planned are planned around several stops, spending time in a few different places, and accomplishing an overall goal of taking the time to not be in a destination that is either your home or at work.

Sometimes, however, things take an interesting turn that isn’t planned when it comes to traveling, as it did for the developer and their SO on a trip in Tuscany. The sort of haphazard way that you’re able to drift along in the game is likely meant to simulate the bit of lost wandering that the duo did along the way of trying to get to a destination they’d intended. That being said, it also seems to kind of simulate the sort of wonder of discovery when being lost. The road and landmarks, as well as even the tire tracks, all seem to pop up and create a sense of spontaneous travel and game action, which, if you think about it, is probably not that far off from what the couple experienced on the road.

Many games, I think, seem to try to fit this bill of having the journey be as important, if not more so, than the destination. There are, of course, mixed results, as the ending or destination of a game ultimately may determine, to some gamers, how much they enjoy the title. But it is a reminder that games are in many ways about the experience as a whole, and not just one part of it, even if that part of it is the ending. As in life, you’re reminded that there are things along the way that you learn, even if you end up meandering off of the beaten path or the journey that you planned. The key, it seems, is to remember and learn from those landmarks along the way, even if you hadn’t intended on getting there.


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