There’ve been a few entries in this project that have presented stark or not-so-uplifting messaging when it comes to what’s been presented, either to teach a lesson, provide a thought, or make the players consider something that needs to be looked at without any kind of rose-colored lenses. But few of the games’ developers have outright stated that their intent was to evoke a specific, not-so-great emotion when doing so, so when playing this understandably depressing game, I had to respect the developer for being up front about what they were doing.
It wasn’t until I was a pet owner that I truly appreciated the kind of effort that owners (and frankly, the pets that have the disposition to be friendly) put into interacting with other pets and to perhaps try to get them to make friends with each other. After all, I thought, they’re just pets, and in many ways a well-kept pet is one that has a whole family from which to get their interactions and affection from. But If this game shows anything, it’s the need or potential for pets to seek out their own kind and in their own way make friends of their own.
The shortness of days is something that I’ve come to expect as the Winter Solstice comes around, and by the time I get to this, the shortest of days, I’m used to the fact that by mid to late afternoon, it gets quite dark, and the evening seems to come upon things suddenly, if not accompanied by the cold and the snow that usually gets paired with it. I do tend to think of it as just another day most years, but there are times when I do feel it come upon where I live with a bit of harshness as far as how severe the day changes to night.
Very few of the games in the Meditation Games project are ones that seem to subvert expectations. A lot of what is communicated, both in the game or in the launcher quote, tends to be something of a “what you see is what you get” kind of a thing, with some games content to allow interpretation by the player, or which try to send messages that the player can agree or disagree with – but for the most part, they tend to be games that don’t make any drastic shifts that you aren’t expecting. It took to near the end of the project year, but this particular game ended that trend.
I’ve felt pretty keenly the kind of feeling that the developer has communicated with both the launcher quote and the game with the content in question. Creativity, and being blocked by your own mental space in trying to encourage it to come to the surface, has always been a bit of a challenge for me. There’s a bunch of things that I try to ensure I have in my head that seem like good ideas that I tend to put pen to paper about, or make electronic notes for, that come to me as ideas for writing, podcasting, or otherwise creating. But the fact of the matter is that people who do come up with a bunch of ideas, as I tend to do, seem to have the greater challenge in trying to sort those out in order to move forward with making something.
Trying to visualize doubt and the kind of mental miasma that tends to gum up the works is a bit of difficult prospect – after all, those kind of things are more mental constructs and concepts than they are truly physical or corporeal things. That being said, they are no less impactful, especially in the context of trying to figure out how to try to deal with them or cope with them, or worse yet, suffer from them.
I wrote previously about Katamari Damacy in the context of it being a destructive force, one wielded with an ever-increasing boulder of stuff that you roll up into it. But one of the things that I didn’t talk about was one of its appeals – the idea that as you accomplish and collect more, your field of view changes. In all the stages, you start out very small, looking at very small things, and as you collect more and more, your field of vision expands, allowing you to see more of the setting in larger and grander detail. It’s a kind of mouse maze that expands up, panning the camera back so that you’re able to expand your field of view even as you look to get further through collecting more to do so. It’s definitely the kind of mechanic that I was reminded of when I played this game, which focused on collecting things that allowed you to expand your path view in the game environment.
The pain of losing someone or otherwise not having them in your life anymore is, I think, a bit of a dull pain that never really goes away. It’s something that can be, of course, moved on from, and is also something that tends to recede with time, but it’s never something that goes away if you ever have any care for the person in question. The thing with that kind of pain, a pain that we probably all feel or carry with us in our lives at some point or another, is that it can be triggered by any number of things that bring you reminders, memories, and then the pain itself out of hiding.
Playing this game immediately reminded me of an old classic that I loved way back in the day – a game called Katamari Damacy. The game had a simple goal – score the most points by rolling up pretty much everything in your path in the time allotted, getting larger and larger the more stuff you picked up. It was, at its core, a fun but ultimately a destructive experience – after all, you’re basically destroying whole worlds and sometimes even universes with your ability to roll your little boulder of stuff into a bigger boulder of stuff to capture larger and larger targets.
I’ve never been a particularly good swimmer, and the times when I’ve actually had to do so were done with a sense of dread coupled with the ongoing idea that were I to end up where I’m not supposed to be in the water that I’d probably be in serious trouble. As such, I had a bit of a difficult time playing this game, where you’re trapped in a room as it fills up with water and the objects within are affected as the water level goes up.