One thing that I hear every so often as someone who has a number of years under the belt as far as work in the games industry is concerned is that this isn’t an easy profession to get into. It takes a lot of pain, suffering, blood/sweat/tears, and endurance to be able to try to do good work or sustain oneself in games. There’s also the darker side of the industry in which people often talk about working conditions, studio environment, and work/life balance, all of which contribute to an environment that’s continuously threatening to unravel you. At times, it’s difficult to try to depict what this feels like, but this Meditation Games entry does it with such a simple portrayal that it’s almost painful in its truth.
We’ve all been exposed to the fetch or help quest mechanic at some point in our gamer careers. The concept is simple – an NPC needs something, perhaps an item or some assistance or even something as simple as an emote, and you get it for them, after which you receive their gratitude and a tangible reward of some sort. It’s an age old mechanic and it’s one of the most reliable and treasured in games that have such quests.
As amazing and multi-faceted as we humans are, and for as much as we see ourselves as the most intelligent of species on the planet, one of the good parts about studying or appreciating the rest of nature may be that those species that exist in nature are, at times, still capable of eliciting some sense of wonder from us, some way of showing us that they have something to offer and to be worthy of paying attention to. Cicadas, which the developer focuses on for this Meditation Games entry, are perhaps one of the most prominent of these curiosities.
Some of the games in this series are games that don’t have a straightforward or apparent message to them, instead relying on the player to try to figure things out for themselves as far as what might be said. At times, this message or conclusion might be different than what might be the intent of the developer, but in some sense, that might be part of the point, as one of the goals of the project seeks to create game experiences through self-driven interpretation.