68/365 – Meditation Games #68 – Life Hurdles

Developer: Charlie Francis Cassidy

Launcher Quote: “March 9th is the day I finally got approved for hormone replacement therapy. A happy day by all accounts. But the times leading up to it, far less so. The process itself felt more like jumping over arbitrary hurdles rather than making any actual progress. Hundreds and hundreds of dollars spent on psychologist fees and here I was. I’ll always look back on this day happy, but angry at the system and what it put me through.”

Most runners or platformers tend to assign challenge in the form of hurdling obstacles gaps, and other such things which stand in the way of progression. When they’re appealing as well as challenging, they tend to become an iconic part of both playing the game as well as building jumping skill for later, more advanced levels.  But when they become too difficult or when you’re repeating the same section over and over again in an effort to move forward, it can become more of a chore, a trial, and a rough spot for a gaming session.

Today’s runner, involving a seemingly simple hurdling challenge, seems to purposefully make it seem like the latter, and there’s a purpose behind Charlie doing that for us. The launcher quote talks about Charlie’s long and difficult road to being approved for hormone replacement therapy, and how every time it seemed like progress was being made, there was another obstacle to hurdle over to try to move forward. It’s a commentary on the difficulties of today’s health care system wrapped into a common game mechanic that can be extremely frustrating at times, if not monotonous and extended. Even though the presentation is limited to a couple of shapes and the movement of platforming over the various obstacles, the message is pretty clear.

Today’s game is one of the few out there that have made a bit of a general social commentary on one of the challenges of dealing with the medical system, and I’m thankful for that. On some level, games are and have been a vehicles for doing this, even if there has been some resistance or denial that this is the case. Like film, music, and other forms of media, games is a valid platform to talk about these issues – and even in some of the most basic of portrayals you can send a clear message.


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