13/365 – Meditation Games #13 – Memory Fade

Developer: Kimmo Lahtinen

Launcher Quote: “Sunday, 13 January 2002

I used to visit my grandmother on Sundays. Nothing much ever happened on those Sundays. I would sip a cup of red currant juice and eat a bun, she would drink a cup of coffee. A simple moment together.

She was born before our country was independent. Was a child during the civil war. Lost two brothers in World War II. All things completely unthinkable to me, ancient history. She passed away some years ago at the age of 99. How much do you really know a person who’s lived almost a hundred years? Not much. Tiny fragments at most.

My fondest memories aren’t of major events or epic adventures. Those Sundays are one of the memories I treasure. But memories fade. I hope to keep that one for a while longer.”

A lot of the games in the Meditations project so far have been very close to home as far as the developer’s life is concerned, and quite a few of them deal with death or loss in some way. That’s not surprising to me – I think that there is a sense that games are in a way a coping mechanism for many of us, and those with the skill to develop games perhaps even more so. Such as it is that today’s entry, dealing with the memory of the developer’s regular time with their grandmother – a time that the developer clearly treasures as a moment of calm and simple enjoyment in the company of someone that they love. Of the games so far, this has some of the least input from the player, as the items fade one by one from the depicted picture, until you’re left with the developer and their grandmother – a picture that also seems to begin to fade right as the game ends. I think that this is appropriate for the message being sent – the developer talks about the fading of memory as if it was inevitable, and that nothing really is able to stop the fact that eventually a lot of what you remember about something becomes distant and harder to remember.

I get the opinion, but I also think that it might not be entirely true. There’s a very good chance that even though the exact detail and vividness of your most treasured memories may fade a bit, that they never truly really go away. Some of the most significant moments in my life, whether they were of crushing hardship and sadness or of the most keenly felt joy, still resonate with me on some level even though I can’t remember exact detail for any of them. Health and aging aside, I think people would be surprised at how much we tend to cling to the memories that mean the most to us, if anything else to be markers for our life journey. Either way, there is a way in which these memories are preserved longer than even we can remember them, and that’s in committing them to some kind of media, such as text, audio, video, or in this case, a game experience. In that respect, memories can never really fade away, and can be remembered by more than just the person who experiences them – a hopeful message to temper some of the inevitable ephemeral nature of our own memories.


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