175/365 – Meditation Games #175 – Journey With Darkness

Developer: Marcus Horn

Launcher Quote: “Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.”
– Mary Oliver”

We haven’t had very many entries in this series that pull quotes from poets or poetry in general, so to see one that came from there was refreshing to see. Some quotes left intentionally vague and open to interpretation such as this one are fitting for a games project that relies a lot on the player’s perception and interpretation of the things that they get to play and experience.

That being said, I do have the advantage of remembering the quote that was given and what it meant. One of the interpretations of what Mary Oliver was saying was that you carry the knowledge that one day, the one you love most will be gone from you. You don’t know it at the time, but that knowledge is like a darkness, an awareness that we’re mortal and we’re destined to die one of these days. More than that, however, for those you leave behind, you’ll have made them realize that the life and laughter you gave them are part of a package that contains that mortality.

The game sort of shows this through a journey through a tunnel, one that leads into darkness while providing some level of continuity through the circular shapes that appear and echo through the tunnel. While these serve as a way to punctuate and break up a kind of endless, standard journey through life, it also shows a kind of symmetry when it comes to mortality – you begin emerging from darkness and end going back into it when you die. In many ways, while this may seem bleak it’s also realistic, and comforting in a way. Perhaps that’s the gift that the game is meant to give – that we all go down the same journey, carrying that same darkness of mortality with us, and that despite all the unique echoes and memories we create, that we are all equal in the end in our own human limitations, regardless of what we achieve when alive.

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