Developer: Roey Shapiro
Launcher Quote: “Every day, you progress. Sometimes it’s backwards, and sometimes it’s forwards, but it happens and quite steadily. Some days, you really do learn something that makes you go, “OH”, allowing you to pass an old and familiar barrier. Some days, you don’t. Each and every day, life continues: it gives you a thumbs up as you rub the sleep out of your eyes and get going.
But once a year (or in some cases, every four), you turn one year older. For me, it always feels like a cosmic gloved hand bestowed upon me a super power, or actually aged me an entire year in the transition from yesterday to today. I take a look at myself and only see an arbitrary label, and I have to ask myself whether the number that has stuck itself to my back actually changes how I pursue my goals, or confront the challenges that prevented my progress yesterday.
How will this help at all, I ask. Am I the same?
It can be more difficult to tell than one might think.”
One of the things that I think I like the best about the Meditation Games project is how developers use different genres that, while on their surface may seem like just making another enjoyable and interesting game experience, may also be hiding another message or thought. Reading over the launcher quote for this one seemed to prime me for trying to find this sort of deeper meaning in what seemed to be just a normal platformer experience, and having played it, I think I see what sort of message may have been sent by the little blue character you control with the jumping and rolling skill.
Platformers as a whole have progression built into them as a necessary mechanic in order to basically get to the end of them and finish things up. I say this because nobody ever starts out as a complete and perfect expert in a platformer – you take as part of the learning experience the consequence that you will likely be making mistakes, having your character on-screen die a lot, and generally come to terms with the fact that any good platformer has an enticing challenge that requires repetition to overcome. In the case of this one, it’s the very idea of progress, of being able to move forward and get further with every bit of effort (and the game’s genre lends itself to showing that to you in multiple ways and in guiding the player to understanding what to do). That progress can be marked by life events and milestones like birthdays and swaps to doing something new, and accepting that progress, both in the sense of moving forward and sometimes not doing so, is a part of life.
There aren’t any answers that either the game or the developer provide in this kind of platformer progression lesson, but it’s likely because each person has their own way of answering the questions that the developer poses, just as each person might have a slightly different way in which they progress and finally master a platformer game that’s been made. We’re left a bit to our own devices when it comes to trying to make sure that the progress we make is good, or that at the very least that we aren’t going backwards, instead. The point is that we’re aware it’s there, and that we ask ourselves the question of progress every day that we’re able to.