January 22 Meditation (Grace Bruxner)

January 22 Meditation (Grace Bruxner)

I don’t write a lot of Facebook statuses, so my Facebook Memories are mostly full of pictures of baked goods of yore. But every now and then I’ll get a glimpse of my younger self talking to people I haven’t seen in years, or being deliberately obscure. The other day, I saw a status from my university days in which I was informing everyone that the system for scheduling seminars had gone live, presumably so that I could try to ensure that my classes were populated with people I liked.

Grace Bruxner’s Meditation is basically about that.

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January 20 Meditation (Grhyll)

January 20 Meditation (Grhyll)

I sold a copy of Tetris Effect last week. Had a couple of friends over, let them have a go at my copy, and over the course of the evening they went from “I suck at Tetris” to “I’m going to go home and buy this immediately”. If you haven’t played Tetris Effect and can access a copy, I really recommend it. It’s Tetris as you know it, except the audio and visuals respond to your every move, making you feel like a musician – or maybe a conductor.

Grhyll’s Meditation is kind of like that, in miniature.

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January 19 Meditation (John Vanderhoef)

January 19 Meditation (John Vanderhoef)

Yesterday I had coffee with a producer whom I have continually failed to convince of the merits of video games. Of course, I’m used to the usual criticisms of video games as isolating indoor activities – the usual cries for children to go and climb trees instead (as though you can’t, as I did, do both) – but this producer represents an additional challenge: he doesn’t like fiction.

So I suppose I ought to show him a documentary game, like today’s Meditation by John Vanderhoef about the 1995 crash of a helicopter called Cullen.

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She and The Light Bearer (Toge Productions)

She and The Light Bearer (Toge Productions)

I was going to play more Assassin’s Creed Odyssey today, but instead I played She and The Light Bearer. I saw Cassandra Khaw tweeting about it, and was lured by the promise of a point-and-click adventure “thick with story” that’s inspired by Indonesian folk lore.

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January 18 Meditation (Andrew Gleeson)

January 18 Meditation (Andrew Gleeson)

I love to sing. And I don’t have a 9-5, so I spend a lot of time home alone, belting songs from musicals while I send invoices and do laundry. For me, perhaps unsurprisingly for a person who talks for a living, it’s a way to fill the silence. In Andrew Gleeson’s Meditation, it’s “for those who feel adrift in this endless void”.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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