People, not surprisingly, want things to be simple and straightforward for many of the goals they want to achieve in life. There’s a certain set of ideas and thoughts about getting to where you want to me and most times, people like to think that traveling to that point should happen in logical, purposefully set steps. While this does happen some of the time, for the most part one discovers that the path to get to where you’re at is not always as clear in front of you, is filled with forks, twists, and turns, and almost always involves re-shuffling your plans for some reason.
This entry in the Meditation Games series reminded me of not just the historical factoid that inspired its creation but also of the simple yet unforgiving nature of some of the early games I used to play. Such games demanded a constant, well-practiced execution of game mechanics, lest you fail at them and start all over again once you run out of lives. I remember fondly (and perhaps with some horror) some Atari games that were like this as well as some of the early Nintendo 8-bit games (you’ve never realized true frustration until you’ve tried to play through the same sequence in Ninja Gaiden 12 times).
Crafting your home is a lot like putting a puzzle together, which is why this entry in the meditation games project is such a good comparison to the activity. It’s a simple puzzle game where you fit the pieces together into what eventually looks like a house, and you’re then treated to a render of the complete picture, both from a drawing and a more detailed, artistic level. I was reminded of a previous entry where this was the case, but the message here, unlike in the previous entry employing puzzle pieces, was more about the puzzle being put together rather than the fact that you had friends that were helping you unite a common picture and goal.
This entry in the Meditation Games series really gave me a bit of a nostalgia bump, and that’s because of the presentation of the game as well as the animations and art. Back in the old days, when portable gaming was, even before the Game Boy, a twinkle in someone’s eye, the only way you could get your game on would be through pre-programmed, LCD screened handhelds that had a single game that you had to master. A simple set of single elements with no overlaps meant that what you could do with both gameplay and animation was very simple, but was also very challenging.
It’s interesting to see a more complex version of the Meditation Games entry from a couple days ago where you had to monitor the simple activity of a baby breathing. Here, the idea of oxygen is taken to another level, as this entry tries to re-create the Apollo 13 crisis and the need to be able to solve it in order to ensure that the astronauts could do the very basic thing they needed to in order to live and just breathe.
On one hand, putting pets on display is kind of a strange thing. Most of the moments experienced with pets that are significant happen at home, in the comfort of family, and are things that build that relationship with your pet that endear them to you (and vice versa). But shows, on the other hand, allow you to share the quirkiness and cuteness of your pets with others, or for those without homes, to be potentially brought into homes of their own.
This was one of the first entries to employ actual physical props in order to simulate the experience of holding a newborn while feeling and hearing them breathe and make noises, which was an interesting ask considering every other game has relied on the game itself in order to elicit a feeling or show you what a particular moment or emotion felt like, but it isn’t like having a prop is a bad thing. Motion and VR gaming in the last few years has ensured that we do some kind of physical action or have some kind of physical item in order to play, so asking for a package of rice isn’t out of the realm of possibility here.
Today’s entry seems to slightly break one of the rules that govern the project, which is that each game takes 5 minutes or less to play. This one requires a bit of extra time (6+ hours with minmal interaction, the result of which is the image above) but it’s for good reason. In the spirit of meditation and reflection, the cultivation of the flower over the course of a quarter of a day is meant to elicit cultivating your own spirit and needs over the long term, tending to and taking care of yourself as needed. It’s an overall message that has been a common theme amongst many of the entries this year, but this one is particularly unique due to the fact that it espouses a longer-timeline with the idea of patience and care over an extended time period.
The title screen of today’s entry seems like a bit of irony because the imagery seemed to remind me of the life of the ronin, a masterless samurai in Japan without any lord. It’s easy to get sucked into the romantic angle that modern cinema and popular stories tell us, that ronin are travelers that from day to day bring justice for the weak and fight for them, but in the context of today’s quote, the reality is much different.
We saw a previous entry where looking at the Aurora Borealis created a sense of meditative calm and peace, so it was only a matter of time before we had another entry in the same vein. This time around, the view is from cherry blossom petals falling slowly from a tree, which at first glance may seem like every relaxing or significant scene from cinema, but which still potentially has a deeper meaning.