January 4 Meditation (Egor Dorichev)

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.

Despite the intro message – “There is only one way to get to the truth.” – this one didn’t strike me as having the same kind of meaning as January 2 or 3. (I don’t think it’s even true that there’s only one path to each puzzle solution.) This might be because I lack the interpretative skills, or because there is no moral to be found, or because something that was supposed to happen at the end of the game never did. After all, I cannot see any reason for this screen to prompt this reaction (unless it’s a joke? Maybe it’s a joke):

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I have another reason for suggesting it’s possible the game is broken. I (like others) missed the prompt to press x to reset the current puzzle and instead, when I got stuck, clicked the “reset” button at the bottom, which restarts the entire game (now that, surely, is poor design). BUT I only had to do this a couple of times, because the third time I got stuck I mashed my keyboard in frustration and the little arrow I was controlling jumped to a more salvageable position. I do not think this is an intentional effect.

In an ideal world, of course, you won’t get stuck. The designer has done a brilliant job of introducing new mechanics (blocks that appear or disappear after they’re touched, multiple arrows that you control at once – why am I such a sucker for this particular mechanic?) slowly and in a risk-free environment before testing your understanding in the next puzzle (how very Nintendo).

Maybe I would have enjoyed this more if I’d realised I could press x, or less if I hadn’t found out I could cheat, but we’ll probably never know!