When you make music, especially if you’re making music with others, it is a layered, constructive process that creates something wonderful out of individual parts. From practicing the initial piece to putting it together into the final product, there’s a certain sense of satisfaction in creating something that has a composition to it and knowing that you contributed to making it happen.
I feel like the majority of games these days, whether they are small and simple titles or large AAA masterpieces, tend to shy away from depicting actual real life events (and if they do, to present them in a way that’s “game-ified” so that it isn’t as real to the player). I don’t blame developers for this – after all, many gamers treat games as escapism, a way to get away from the real world for a little bit and indulge in one that has nothing to do with it. But that doesn’t mean that it can’t be done effectively.
Something that I feel is underestimated sometimes these days in a world of games known for their visuals are the audio cues that make a game. We get caught up in being amazed by the graphics or the story, or the scenery that we sometimes look at audio and treat it as an afterthought.
The way my schedule goes, I tend to not get very much sleep. That happens for a variety of reasons but most of all it’s because I keep up a bit of an aggressive set of projects and personal obligations, resulting in a lot of stuff that happens to roll through my brain on a daily basis. So it is that Sarah Imrisek’s entry into the Meditation Games project hits a bit closer to home for me while still not being as heavy as some of the other subject matter that the developers so far have gotten into.
One of the great things about this project is that we get to take a little bit of a peek into the developers on a personal level. For many of the ones I’ve seen so far, the projects they create are very close to them, in some cases a kind of extension of themselves. That means that a lot of the games that I’ve seen are not only reflections of certain significant life events or daily routines but also of their mentality in dealing with those routines. A lot of this leads to some interesting imagery, which is exactly what I saw when playing around with Zk’s entry today.
The scattering of ashes has long been a tradition in multiple religions, often symbolizing a return to nature, to the origin of where you came from, or a journey back to someplace outside of the physical realm. The addition of it being done in a place of significance to the recently departed adds to the power and weight of the moment, one which removes the difficulty of a loved one passing somewhat as one imagines a last moment with someone who enjoyed being at the place of scattering.
Sometimes even the admitted minimalist experience of the Meditation Games project can be taken to be as literal as clicking once to play the game and get the message across with only one small change of color. Such as it is that today’s entry from Jordan Magnuson operates in order to convey the idea that there are certain moments in life that will change your entire worldview.
A lot of the games in the Meditations project so far have been very close to home as far as the developer’s life is concerned, and quite a few of them deal with death or loss in some way. That’s not surprising to me – I think that there is a sense that games are in a way a coping mechanism for many of us, and those with the skill to develop games perhaps even more so. Such as it is that today’s entry, dealing with the memory of the developer’s regular time with their grandmother – a time that the developer clearly treasures as a moment of calm and simple enjoyment in the company of someone that they love.
Even the simplest presentations of games can be relatable on a very basic level, especially when they send a message through their mechanics and their visualization that hits close to home. Such as it is with today’s entry from Daniel Ilett, which elicited from me feelings of my very very brief foray into Stardew Valley with its bright sprites and rustic setting, with the seemingly simple yet still somewhat challenging goal of herding a bunch of unruly sheep into the pen.
One thing that I keep having to tell myself when trying these little bite-sized games from the project is that there isn’t necessarily a way to “win” the game. As gamers, we’re pre-disposed to try to go from point A to B, making our way through the game’s world in order to try to find a way to get to the end of it – or in the case of some open-world games, to get to the point where we feel we’ve exhausted all the possibilities.