279/365 – Meditation Games #279 – Walkabout Sliders

Developer: Claire Morley

Launcher Quote: “It’s an unusually warm evening for October.

The warmth from my layers of jumper, coat and the lack of breeze makes me feel like I’m inside, not outside.

I haven’t listened to music much while walking recently, but now with my earphones in the street noises fade away and I retreat slightly from reality. 

The warm air with golden autumn light glares against my vision, pushing me further away from reality and it feels like a dream.

I zone out as people fly by, blurs of office shirts and Halloween evening wear.

The music seeps through me, emanating beautifully and I stare into dreamspace reality.

My thoughts wander over my future, and where I might go, what I might do and who I’ll miss when I go there.

I view my fears and try to see them from the outside, not the inside.

The fear of the unknown in a known that I long for.

The beginning and the end merge and there’s a melding of dream and reality.

I look up and see a thousand tiny flies, dancing and glowing in the autumn sunset. I never would have seen them without that illumination.”

One of the things that games with a bunch of personalization options like to present to players is the idea of sliders – a way to make tiny, incremental adjustments by moving one of the settings slightly left or right (or, if you prefer, all the way over if needed). Personally, I’ve never been a big user of them – maybe that’s a function of both my thought that I prefer to play as the developer intended in the defaults, or my own relative “meh” feeling about feeling the need to make such miniscule adjustments, but I know people who do, and who appreciate being able to tweak the sliders to what’s desired for an ideal gaming experience.

This entry takes the slider concept and applies it to the developer’s own experiences when taking a walk, with the customization in the form of layers, light, and music. Moving them around seemed to blur, brighten, or change the world around me, and it was interesting to play around with the settings. Whereas many sliders are obvious by design as far as what they adjust, these were less so, and that, I think made it more appealing to play the game, up until the time limit of 5 minutes that I’d set for myself. I ended up taking a bit of a balanced approach, with almost equal parts light, layers, and tunes, and came out with something that’s probably akin to my own routine of walks with headphones. But I can see how the developer, or someone else that was messing around with them, might want an experience that seems to completely blur those lines of reality, for whatever reason that was appropriate to them.

In the end, even though I don’t really use them, I totally advocate the presence and use of sliders in whatever games that need to use them for customization – primarily because the sharing of those sliders between players is part of the appeal. Players come up with innovative and interesting things all the time when they’re given the tools to do so, and even if I don’t use them, creative people all over the place tend to do so much better than I could with some cool results.

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