We’re on the home stretch with a catch-up for all of December!
Overthinking is a big problem sometimes with my own method of trying to create content. I try to think about something that might seem like its appealing, then take a huge amount of time trying to pile ideas on to it, sometimes drafting and re-drafting things that I didn’t find appealing the first time around, and trying to proceed slowly but deliberately. This might work a lot of the time, but for some instances, like trying to determine the best Boxing Day sale item, it’s better, according to the developer, to use natural momentum to try to propel yourself forward, so you don’t get bogged down in a sea of self-doubt and second-guessing.
A lot of times when you see games or events or media that surround Christmas, it’s all about the actual moment of Christmas arriving – whether that is Santa Claus arriving with gifts, of children enjoying gifts being opened and things being given to them, of the family sitting around on Christmas Day enjoying one another’s company while appreciating what they have, and other such heartwarming moments. Rarely is the aftermath the focus of such an event, but that’s exactly what the developer did with this Christmas entry, and the result is a refreshing and realistic insight into Christmas Day.
When trying to communicate unique experiences such as firsts, it’s not uncommon in my experience for developers to draw on their own personal experiences to do so. Oftentimes the challenge in depicting these sorts of firsts is the fact that you need to evoke the sense of wonder, freshness, and newness that accompanies such a beginning that makes it not contrived and at the same time accurately portrays what that first feels like or looks like. And there’s definitely an exponential increase in difficulty when it comes to firsts of a romantic nature, such as first kisses.
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.