Developer: Maz Hemming
Launcher Quote: “In 1605 some Catholics got very angry at being mistreated by the Government and tried to kill the King. This didn’t go well and I’ve been doing a webcomic on how well it didn’t go. That aside, it was afterwards law to celebrate the King not dying, by having bonfires with effigies of one of the fellas on the top. There’s still events each year all over the country, from marching through the streets with flaming torches to damp sparklers and cider in a mate’s garden.
When I was younger my dad was on the city council, so we got to go to some VIP council areas in big council-held events, before they started being financial-sponsor only in the 00s. The VIP areas were usually warm and quiet, and had buffets. Nothing too fancy, but better than overpriced damp burgers, noise, and rain.
This was the only time I went into the cricket ground, the famous poem was on the screen, written in digital fire. There wasn’t a bonfire, but where I was was warm, and outside there were fireworks and inside I had one of my favourite jacket potatoes.”
Everyone knows about the normal major holidays of the year – Christmas, New Year’s, and the like – with some of the country-specific holidays following close behind. Interestingly enough, it’s the non-US specific holidays and customs that get a bit of the short shrift, and today’s entry reminded me of one of the ones mostly celebrated in the UK, Guy Fawkes Day. You’d think that a presentation of a customary holiday or day would be accompanied by more fanfare, but as this entry in the Meditation Games project shows, the celebration or day is not always the most memorable thing about experiencing it.
The developer spends just about all the time that they have having you simulate putting toppings onto or into a baked potato, as that and the mildly spinning sparklers and fireworks are the most significant moments of their experience at a VIP event for Guy Fawkes day. There weren’t really any depictions of the failed Parliament explosion plot, no big and sweeping messages being delivered as a result of the holiday – just a simple experience of having a tasty baked potato and watching the fire and fireworks.
At first glance, this might not seem all that great of a portrayal, but when you think back to year-after-year holiday celebrations, it’s really the moments that happen during them, moreso than the holiday itself, that gets the recognition and what sticks in your mind. You create memories that happen from year to year, either with family and friends, or with yourself, and that’s what stays with you the next time around. The developer’s enjoyment of a potato and some sparklers, reflecting on a past experience they no longer have access to or is as simplistic, is a message that I feel is still significant – a reminder that simple, personal experiences can almost always override grand, sweeping gestures meant to capture more. Guy Fawkes Day, with its torches and bonfires, has always been as bombastic as the USA’s Independence Day, but underneath that show and making up its experiences are simple ones like enjoying loaded potatoes and feeling content being in the calm in the middle of a holiday storm.