This time of year, at least where I am, is always one of my favorite times. The weather finally stops teasing being warm and actually begins to be warm, that subsequent warmth isn’t terribly and overbearingly hot but is instead comfortable and nice to go out in. Sure, if you’re an adult you no longer get that “school’s out” feeling that you get when you used to get three months off of class out of the year, but ther eare other ways in which the summer holiday gets celebrated as an adult – either with beach trips, or barbeques, or by summer events.
The process of moving has always been multi-faceted in many ways, beyond just trying to pick up tent stakes and move somewhere else for whatever reason. It’s an opportunity to think about how you approach things as you start over in a new place, a way to reflect on memories that you’ve had while you’ve been living where you’ve been, and in the case of this developer’s Meditation Games entry, to organize your life and also figure out what goes with you.
There’s a few analogies that have been attempted to try to explain to people who don’t typically have anxiety attacks what it’s like to have them and live with the fact that they can be had at any point and for a variety of reasons. A big part of trying to couch it in this way is to try to ensure that there is the right kind of empathy and also approach that comes with trying to better understand those that live with anxiety. Of the many that I’ve been shown, the one that the developers in this Meditation Games entry use, that of a fog of darkness and a struggle and a continuous journey towards a light of hope and clarity, is among the best I’ve seen.
Back when I was younger, I tended to be very afraid and apprehensive about any kind of public speaking opportunity, no matter how big of an audience I had. It could have been as big as a crowd of people at the mall, or as small and intimate as my family at home before a meal, but it always tended to freak me out and make me nervous. The primary reason for this was the fact that I always felt that the eyes that were on me, that followed me around as I spoke, and which showed me that attention was being focused on me, were judging me, unblinking, and unwavering. The weight of those eyes on me felt like a two ton car being set upon me.
One of the reasons that I stuck around with music for a bit, at least when I was a musician and band geek in my formative years, was the fact that music, depending on where you were and what you had on hand, could always be found if you looked. Whether it was percussion on a set of buckets or a reed on a certain kind of plant or some other thing that was able to make sounds, the fact that music could be found even if instruments weren’t readily available was part of its appeal.
Some people out there aren’t too keen on games trying to teach them lessons about living life, or in some cases taking a look at life and perhaps having a bit of stark or harsh outlook on its trials and tribulations. They want games to be light-hearted, fun escapism, never really taking a chance at reflecting what might be waiting out there in the jungle of IRL. But I can’t really agree with this outlook – in part because I feel that robbing games of being able to send real messages about life is limiting the medium to what kind of power and influence it can have for good, and also in part because we need games to express those kinds of observations as a means to have games be taken seriously as medium generally.
Unifying and consistent themes when it comes to certain old school game genres are always interesting to see to me, even if people find them just a little bit repetitive on some level. When it comes to the shmup genre, I’ve always taken solace in the fact that inevitably, many of them focus in on science-fiction-y or technology elements. These either focus on aliens or artificial intelligence gone wrong, resulting in an overwhelming army of targets following the same flight patterns punctuated by the occasional floating enemy and of course, the boss that takes multiple shots and an exact accurate weak spot to fire on. And of course, a lot of dodging of bullets, missiles, and other projectiles.
One of the things that I think this project has uncovered that’s been neat to me is the fact that old school game presentations seem to get a new coat of paint. Because the developers have had parameters set as far as how they put forth what they do as well as ensure that the games they develop take about 5 minutes to play, the result for some of the entries is a simple graphical setup and mechanics with equally straightforward goals. This entry, which reminded me of the top down exploration/action puzzlers of days gone by, is just another example of this.
Some geeky folks, meeting the stereotype of those that prefer to stick around indoors or eschew the outside for the internet, seem to disdain the idea of a mixer – a term to describe an informal party meant to get people to be acquainted. Maybe it’s the fact that forced social interaction where there normally would not be isn’t their cup of tea, or perhaps the fact that people tend to feel that this kind of building bonds needs to happen naturally rather than in an artificially generated setting like a party or a dance specifically for that purpose. But these same people tend to underestimate that mixers can also serve as a means to conveniently find those who you already have something in common with, such as the developer joining a local queer group.
One thing that’s always fascinated me about photographers is the fact that they’re more often than not very patient people when it comes to taking shots. Maybe this is because traditionally this hearkens back to a time when photographers were limited in some way by the amount of film they had, and had to make sure that their shots counted, but even in the age of digital, trying to find that perfect shot, that excellent angle, that captures the moment is one requiring a great deal of patient forethought.