January 13 Meditation (Kimmo Lahtinen)

January 13 Meditation (Kimmo Lahtinen)

As I wrote a few days ago, I haven’t yet experienced the loss of a close family member. But this morning I watched an episode of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo in which the house being tidied belonged to a woman whose husband of 40 years had died nine months prior, so thoughts of loss and grief have been top of my mind.

The woman in the show was determined to make the physical reminders of her beloved husband more deliberate, by reducing the sheer amount and focusing on what truly – as Marie puts it – sparked joy. But when every item is a memory, how do you decide which parts of a person’s life to deliberately remember and which to allow yourself to forget?

Read More

January 12 Meditation (Daniel Ilett)

January 12 Meditation (Daniel Ilett)

For nearly a decade, I have been organising my life according (more or less loosely) to the principles laid out in a book by David Allen called Getting Things Done, principles so prolific among a certain nerdy subsection of the productivity-obsessed internet that they have come to be known casually as GTD. This year, I am re-reading the book for the first time, an updated version released in 2015 (much needed, given the first was published several years before the invention of the iPhone).

I track what books I’m reading on Goodreads, but I was reluctant to add this one. Productivity has become rather unpopular among my friends, and with good reason. Your productivity is NOT your worth! And my semi-conscious belief that while that might apply to my loved ones it does not apply to me comes from a deeply unhealthy place. I live my life by GTD because I live my life by an insatiable need for external validation.

Read More

January 11 Meditation (Rami Ismail)

January 11 Meditation (Rami Ismail)

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

Today’s game for Rami Ismail’s game-a-day calendar Meditations is from Rami Ismail, a person many people in the video games community know (including me) and many more people know of. It’s difficult to go about a normal life with so many eyes on you, to have the private made public. Many people know what kind of a year Rami had in 2018, which will probably give many players of today’s game a context to apply to it.

What I don’t know is if you would get any sense of that from the game alone.

Read More

Here (Stefano Gualeni)

Here (Stefano Gualeni)

Stefano Gualeni messaged me about what he called an “attempt at playable philosophy” on December 11th, so I am a day short of having put it off for an entire month. Not that I have valid reason to have avoided it for so long! I loved (and highly recommend) the only other one of Stefano’s games that I’ve played: Something Something Soup Something.

Read More

January 9 Meditation (Kirsten Naidoo)

January 9 Meditation (Kirsten Naidoo)

Kirsten’s game is lovely to look at, especially if you let it take over your whole screen. I love that the game world is a circle, and that the soft colours slowly change as you add the petals necessary to complete the flowers. I would quite happily play through a series of these simple puzzles.

Read More

January 8 Meditation (Lucas Gullbo)

January 8 Meditation (Lucas Gullbo)

Friends will know that I don’t get on with dogs. Some of them are very cute to look at, but I rarely want to touch them (it’s a germ thing), and I resent the frequent expectation that you’re supposed to appreciate – or at least politely endure – a muddy slobbering hairy animal jumping at you when its owner opens the door.

That said, virtual dogs are fine. And Lucas’ game (about a beloved family dog) is very sweet.

Read More

January 7 Meditation (Mattias Ditto Dittrich)

January 7 Meditation (Mattias Ditto Dittrich)

“No matter how much we try to control it, our mood will always swing back and forth.”

Seems intuitive. Moods change, at different rates for different people, and presumably with different states representing neutral or zero.

In Mattias’ game, mood is never still. It swings from one side of the screen to the other, changing shape (from colourful circle to grey square) whenever it crosses the central line. “Every time the mood changes we learn something,” the intro continues. “And the line grows.” There’s something noble about the notion that we need our changing moods to learn and grow, a counter to fantasies of eternal happiness.

Read More

January 6 Meditation (Bertine van Hövell)

January 6 Meditation (Bertine van Hövell)

Over Christmas, I helped the people with whom I spent the holiday put together a decades-old jigsaw puzzle with no picture to guide us. Its 600+ pieces were irregular, not at all like the kind you usually get today, and the project took us several days. Today’s Meditation – from Bertine van Hövell – is a jigsaw with similarly jagged pieces, and though it is (thankfully) much smaller and does not create an image at all, it does successfully convey a sense of accomplishment.

Read More

January 5 Meditation (Ludipe)

January 5 Meditation (Ludipe)

There are so many things I like about Ludipe’s entry for Rami Ismail’s game-a-day calendar Meditations. It’s a lovely demonstration of the flatgame format (and I really admire that Meditations has already offered multiple kinds of game – Unity, Pico-8, flatgame – in just a few days). Given it’s the weekend, I’m grateful that this game doesn’t require effort or skill (especially in comparison to yesterday’s game – I would not have had the energy for that today). And it does exactly what it’s meant to: it’s a simple but poignant illustration of grief, and how it can be exacerbated by the time of year.

Read More

January 4 Meditation (Egor Dorichev)

January 4 Meditation (Egor Dorichev)

Pico-8, the fantasy console in which Egor Dorichev’s game was made, is very cool. However, I probably would not have played this had I come across it elsewhere, which I think is because of a (regrettable) tendency to dismiss games that look “cheap” unless I have been told they’re worth my time. Rami’s game-a-day calendar Meditations, with its promise that it will not waste my time, has so far proven excellent at making me actually play some games.

Read More

January 3 Meditation (Lisa Brown)

 January 3 Meditation (Lisa Brown)

The games that creators have made for Rami Ismail’s game-a-day calendar Meditations have so far acted like journal prompts. Yesterday: introversion (or being a “naturally outgoing introverted person”). Today: depression. It’s hardly surprising; video game development seems to attract both introverts and people with mental health problems.

Again, this game’s representation doesn’t match my personal experience, which is fine – maybe even good – because interactive media can engender empathy for people unlike ourselves. But in this case I found I related far less to the protagonist than to the force working upon them.

Read More

Tempres (Tak)

Tempres (Tak)

For 2019, Rami Ismail commissioned Meditations: a collection of games by different developers, one for each day of the year. The first, however, is not new. Tempres (Tak) is the browser game that inspired Rami to organise this game-a-day calendar. I’d seen it before, failed to figure out the rules, and closed the tab. This time I was a little more motivated but still initially struggled, and unfortunately I think the package in which Rami presents the game is partly to blame.

Read More