335/365 – Meditation Games #335 – Patriotic Rhythm

Developer: Vlad Oancea

Launcher Quote: “Well, today is the National Day of Romania. I’m not much of a patriot, but I have this vivid memory of when I was very young and my parents took me to the parade in the city. For a little boy, all those men in funny suits, soldiers, thanks and music bands marching in the street seemed so fancy and impressive. They really left a mark on me, so I decided to make this game about that day. Happy birthday us, Romanians, I guess.”

This game, which is about an national march celebrating Romania, spoke to me personally on a number of levels. I’m a former marching band geek, so I know what it’s like to have to march in a parade in perfect sync, and I used to do the rhythm game thing back in the day, so it was fun to have to enter in those inputs and remember those days I practiced on a well-worn DDR machine in an Asian market mall. In many ways, a rhythm game is exactly how you would have to depict being able to march in time, as the combination of the music, the playing, and the marching pace were all factors that combined into being able to do so in a performance setting and still look good and crisp doing so.

The national celebration aspect is a little less important to me, but perhaps is still something to point out. We live in times right now where pride in one’s country is easily twisted towards selfish purposes, and is used to justify things that aren’t really about patriotism but are a shield behind which are hidden some not-so-great things. The developer isn’t really sending a message here about that, especially as the experience is meant to be more an impression left due to the marching and uniforms rather than the nationalism, but it nevertheless bubbled to the surface in my thoughts about what the game meant to me and what it was like to experience it. Even though the developer doesn’t intend to send these messages, the interpretation and thoughts they elicit are a part of why playing these games has been so interesting.

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