Oftentimes there is a presentation in these games that I’ve played that isn’t immediately apparent when looking at them or when reading what was said in the quote (which I unfortunately lost for this entry as I didn’t retrieve it before writing this). You’re left with playing with the item or thing in question that the developer creates, and the game, in many cases, just ends. In this case, you have a little orb or glass that fills and eventually gets all the way full, but which is meant to evoke an idea for memory and for, I think, running out of space to hold any more.
One thing that I think isn’t encouraged more often that this game tries its damndest to get across is being happy for and celebrating the accomplishments of others. We live in a world where oftentimes the message is that we need to look out for number one first, and that we should do whatever we can to get ahead in life, for our own enrichment and barely anyone else’s. That may come with some kind of modicum of success, as those that are driven to enrich themselves do often find some level of success, whether it’s financial, in their career, or in other places.
A lot of the entries this year have focused on, not surprisingly, being in the right kind of mindset to think about and reflect on things, a sort of meditative state that allows you to appreciate what you have, think about what’s been done, and then move forward from there as a means of re-focusing things. There are few times of the year that dictate that sort of necessity than the holidays do, with their focus on getting ready for family get-togethers, shopping for gifts, or simply trying to get through the coming weeks and the effect they have on normal stuff. This is when a simple appreciation of nature and a calm setting tend to help the most, and that’s what we’re seeing here.
Some of the games in this series have tried to convey a kind of sense of what you’re supposed to be thinking, but don’t immediately connect that to the game that they ultimately have designed for the day. There’s nothing wrong with this, as I think in these instances you have more freedom to determine how you’re supposed to feel and come to your own conclusions, as I’ve purported for many games throughout this project, but in no other entry is this more apparent than the one that got presented here.
Games as escapism is perhaps one of the primary reasons a lot of gamers tend to play them. There’s a sense that you can go ahead and, for at least a little while, lose yourself in another world or another setting where the only things that are important are trying to have fun playing the game and doing so while using the mechanics the game uses. It’s a kind of process where, like anything you learn, takes some time to get used to but ultimately is able to be looked at as a satisfactory process where you accomplish some sense of mastery of the games in question.
One of the reasons why I continue to like playing games, even though I’ve been at it for years now, is the fact that some of the best games have interconnected things baked into them, whether that is through narrative, through player choice or action, or as a means of continuity between games in a series. To have a way of trying to see that the things you do in one place or in one game might have an effect later is one of the joys I get out of playing them, because it means what I do has not only advancement but agency.
I thought about a curious topic that playing this game on the day it came out made me think of, and that was the idea of why I’m such a completionist when it comes to fetch quests in games. Sure, part of it might be the rewards and also being able to look at an area and say that it’s complete, but I think a lot of it might be because of the fact that I personally find fetch quests to be quite fulfilling. The idea that I’m delivering something to a character who might need it, sometimes desperately, gives me a sense of joy at completing it, because I feel like I’m helping. It’s probably also the same idea behind why I tend to send cookies around every year at Christmas.
The funny thing about time, I think, is how our perception of it tends to change how we experience events. We get nervous and watch the clock when we’re excited or afraid of something that’s happening. We ask for five more minutes to sleep in and it seems like it either passes very quickly or very slowly, depending on how we’re feeling about getting up. The thing about time, however, is that its just…well, time. It’s inexorable, consistent, and doesn’t go any faster or slower than we basically think it does.
The saying “stop and smell the roses” or, its more popularized version in 80s movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” of taking the time to look around while you’re going through life, is an age-old piece of advice that I think has a lot of applicable meaning outside of just life as a whole. It can apply to a variety of experiences in life, such as going through school, getting involved in activities, meeting friends, building a successful career, and a bunch of other types of events. In all of these, what you learn during the journey and how you decide to experience it is said to be just as important as getting past that hump and moving on to the next thing.
One of the things that I think has left a lasting impression on me from playing the games in this project is how simplicity can serve as a means by which we express big and significant ideas, feelings, or messages. Because there have been parameters surrounding these games that don’t allow for much in terms of explicitly explaining how to do things or what the point of the game is (at least in-game), developers have been tasked with sending their intent through the game’s play, visuals, or sounds, and that’s exactly what happens here in terms of paying respects to someone the developer misses.