Developer: Ray Perry
Launcher Quote: “I wasn’t prepared for mandatory education. Emotionally. Socially. It’s never the individual incidents that beat you; it’s the persistance of them all. The constant belittling and derogatives that you try to ignore until eventually, you wake up years later, limited to a boundary of your own design, evocative of the same high school vignetts that you’ve experienced. You believe what they’ve told you all this time. You want to change but whatever habits you formed to survive remain. Maintaining (the status quo) is comfortable and the allure to fall back is always there. You make mistakes. You hesitate, you backstep, you wake up again and again and again, in the same place you were when you started. But, as long as you don’t stay there, as long as you have the will to change things and push yourself to the limits, you’ll find that – while you are the architect of your mental prison – you are also the best person to break out of it. And when you’re outside of your cell, you’ll find that the prison was as real as you made it.”
Sometimes it’s the simplest presentations that provide some of the most interesting and impactful messages with this project, which is why this particular entry is impressive to me. It consists only of two shapes, one solid circle you control and an ever-expanding outline circle, and with a simple mechanic of getting out of the outlined circle there’s a message sent about getting out of something that restricts you and expanding your horizons.
What’s nice about this particular entry is not just what you do but how it gets done when you do it. When you move the solid circle outside of the zone, there’s a bit of a resistance, a pushback, as if to try to prevent you from going out of it, before you finally break through. Then the zone expands, and the distance you have to travel to get out of it gets ever greater. This is a simple but significant depiction of how hard it is sometimes to struggle outside of your comfort zone, your mental blocks that you put into place, conscious or not, that prevent you from getting yourself out there, and the sometimes ever-expanding difficulty of repeating that process and continuing to challenge yourself.
The best part about this, I think, was the ending, where you do eventually go off the screen and out of the prison of the zone, and no further attempt to constrain you is performed. The message here, I think, is that it is possible to expand beyond your means, try to break your boundaries, and be unconstrained by a mental prison of what is ultimately your own construction, as the developer says. It’s a lesson in trying to be able to not just push past your problems but to also push past limitations of your own choosing – a good message to send for anyone aspiring to more.