Launcher Quote: “Where I grew up, we couldn’t see the stars at night, but during the summer there were fireflies.”
There are a few insects out there that don’t make us recoil or have us try to want to swat them with a rolled up newspaper, and most of these insects are the ones that provide something of value to us when finding out more about them, or those that are interesting visually and which are a part of some very nice memories involving nature. Fireflies are the latter, and their pulsing lights have been the subject of many a missive, a nature show, or in this case, a Meditation Games entry.
There’s a sort of sense of community that’s established in this puzzle game regarding the fireflies in question, which is, perhaps, one of the most interesting things about it. You’re not just made to feel familiar with the fireflies you plays as, but you’re set on a path that has them helping one another to come together and unite. While normally you probably wouldn’t expect fireflies to have any kind of insect community or camaraderie with one another, having them tag one another by means of being able to mutually agree to get past obstacles in their way is a way of both endearing the insects to us and also, perhaps to explain why they do tend to hang around in groups on summer nights when their lights tend to fill our vision in occasionally beautiful organic brightness.
Even though there’s a bit of a stretch to assume fireflies are smart enough to hit switches, remove barriers or open doors for one another, this kind of humanization of things that, well, are not human is a part and parcel staple of many games. Any interest in communities that aren’t human and who have their own culture, way of operating, and skills has always been of interest to many gamers who play games in which these communities are shown, built, and worked with. In many cases, a blend of a familiar, positive impression of something like the lights of fireflies, with the fact that they have characteristics that lead them to seek one another out, is enough to endear them to us more than they already are out in the real world. The puzzle element is just the bonus cherry on top.