February 2 Meditation (Tyson Moll)

February 2 Meditation (Tyson Moll)

February 2 Meditation (Tyson Moll)

Is this the first Meditation that has multiple endings?

Tyson Moll has made a small game about Groundhog Day, a North American tradition I – like, I imagine, many Brits – first heard about when I watched the film of the same name a few years ago. I did not like the film, despite my soft spot for stories that involve time travel (I recently read and enjoyed The Psychology of Time Travel, for instance), because I find the idea of a man using trial and error to find the perfect formula needed to attract a particular woman very creepy. I was also uncomfortable with the formation of the central relationship in the film About Time, which I watched very recently, although the small children and Bill Nighy almost won me over.

Anyway, the Groundhog Day tradition itself involves no time travel. It’s a binary tradition about predicting the arrival of spring: if the groundhog emerging from its burrow does not see its shadow, then spring arrives early. This year, the famous groundhog Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow, but CNN reports that he has been wrong more often than he has been right.

In Tyson Moll’s Meditation, the two possible outcomes are triggered by the flip of a coin (presented in the foreground of an image of a baseball field), which you control with a click. I played it twice to try each outcome, and while the groundhog looks exactly the same in each, the only difference being whether the emoticons scrolling across the screen are happy or sad, I was strangely pleased to have a Meditation that I knew could offer different players a different experience.

You can play the non-Meditation version of Tyson’s game on itch.io, which is where I learned that Meditations aren’t supposed to have text or a start screen, and that the reason the game doesn’t terminate itself (and Take Me Out to the Ball Game just keeps on looping while that groundhog looks back at you) is because that feature had to be removed in order to make it Mac compatible.