316/365 – Meditation Games #316 – Self-Destructive Love

Developer: Benjamin Kiefer

Launcher Quote: “Sometimes it’s hard to look in the mirror, but sometimes you have to look at yourself and accept who you are and be proud about who you are and what you have achieved.

That can be very hard though and accepting that you are worth something is trickier to some than to other and sometimes it even leads to very destructive behaviour. Don’t ever judge yourself by what you accomplished, be proud of who you are!

The theme of this game is a reflection of how I felt when I was in a rough situation. Its not the happiest game, but I hope it resonates with people who have felt similarly before.”

(A special thank you to Flyover Games, who have generously allowed me to use their screenshots, this one included, after I lost a few from my computer – go support them at the WaveCrash! website!)

We’ve sometimes seen a a theme in some games of the Meditation Games project where self-destructive behavior and its perils are pretty clearly laid out and shown to us in game form. The idea that we can destroy ourselves simply by behaving in a way that we think at the time might be in our best interest (or at the very least, removes some of the issues preventing us from coping with not being at our best) is a cautionary tale in quite a few of the games from this year. But I hadn’t seen something so inextricably tied to actual game mechanics until this entry.

In this game, you use a key in order to shoot things that are perceived to be your enemies and break down barriers and obstacles with the only weapon that is available to you – your soul. With a few well-placed shots, you can destroy the things that threaten to undo you, but as you play the game, it becomes painfully apparent that there’s a cost to using this powerful weapon. You start to visually see yourself blink a bit more red, faster and faster, as you destroy more enemies before you, until finally you inevitably collapse into a heap and die.

It’s a bit morbid of a presentation, but it gets the message across, and in this instance it needs to be clear – giving too much of yourself, even in the process of loving or protecting others, can eventually be as bad as allowing someone to do it to you. The idea that you aren’t able to win the game is just reinforcement of this, because attempting to win almost always tends to involve using too much of yourself to have anything left to get through things. It’s very much not only “put your own oxygen mask on before helping others” but also “don’t suffocate yourself to help them” as well. Such self-sacrifice, even though perceived to be noble, just isn’t something that is ultimately helpful in the long run, and it’s something even I have to remind myself of occasionally.

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