11/365 – Meditation Games #11 – To Space Or Not To Space

Credits: Rami Ismail, Timbre, colinmcardell, bigmanjoe, syseQ

Launcher Quote: “Some choices are terrifying no matter what you try.”

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.

But that’s not really the point of this project. Rami has explained as such on the Meditation Games project site that the message being sent can vary, from being “light and curious” to being “sad or difficult”, and more. And so, confronted with the quote that stated that choice is sometimes not always pleasant, and that some choices lead you to terrifying outcomes, I was shown a simple button press that I was supposed to choose (or perhaps not choose) to employ. At first, I tried to find a way to get rid of the blatant symbolic refusal that came up when I tried to press the space bar – to try to get around it so that it wouldn’t come up, or that I could sidestep it with another button press – but inevitably I got back to pressing the space bar.

And then something curious happened. I wanted to rebel. After all, who was this red symbol that it could deny me the button press, and why wouldn’t it let me space bar if I insisted on doing so? That’s when I began a one-key attack, pressing the Space Bar despite the red screen, eventually getting kicked out for my obvious insolence.

Like with a bunch of these games so far, I’ve found that the minimalist presentation basically boils down game tropes and elements down to their fundamentals. How many times in a game have you followed the path where you’re assumed to do things a certain way, either as part of the plot where you end up turning on former masters despite their restrictions, or in a game that offers choice, no matter how awful it may seem, that goes against the grain or the standard expectation? That’s what I was reminded of as I decided to make the choice to press the space bar, to choose rather than have the choice made for me, even if it ended up with me being removed forcibly. As far as depictions of life choices go, there’s no simpler presentation of what we as humans go through trying to choose to do (or not do) one thing or another that takes us in certain directions. Whether or not we want to go as far as to have to go through hardship and perhaps even disdain from others is another story – but maybe that’s part of the point of showing you such binary decisions for today’s game – to see how far you’re willing to take and stick with the choices you make, even if they’re as simple as insisting on pressing Space when told not to.

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