Today’s game was Tempres, made by Tak, where you see ten gray bars that light up when you click or press the spacebar. It is a puzzle game where you must discover the key to lighting up every gray bar. This is a discovery that I will leave a mystery, and will instead describe how the discovery made me feel, and what I learned from Tempres, which is to love my work.
Tempres is the game that inspired Rami Ismail to create the Meditations project, as it offered a short challenge that was very minimalistic, yet complex. The design of Tempres is almost flawless, as it relies on experimentation that eventually leads to knowledge of the solution. Once you find out what to do, it is quite easy to complete, but before that it can get somewhat boring as you struggle to find the answer. I found it within a minute or two of playing, and then I was astonished by its juxtaposed design.
Tempres tried its best to teach me patience, but its ending, which displays a timer, works against that lesson. I felt misdirected. Everything I worked to accomplish was not good enough. I replayed Tempres many times, but due to a lack of in-game leaderboards or a speedrun.com entry, I never felt good enough. I think this was the point.
In life, you are often misdirected by your own thoughts of doubt. Imposter Syndrome has hit me, and many of my friends, as we struggle to see the importance of our work. We look on social media and see countless articles that we believe are largely better than the ones we write. Occasionally this inspires me and makes me work harder, but other times it makes me look at my work in shame, knowing that I will never achieve the greatness that I want to achieve.
Tempres’ lack of leaderboards makes you look at your time and determine if it was good enough yourself, instead of comparing it to other scores. You are not giving value to yourself as a number on a leaderboard, instead, you are left wondering if you are happy about the time itself. As a speedrunner, this hurt. There are times when my speedrunning journey would have ended if I wouldn’t have looked at the leaderboards and noticed that I was so close to the top. Tempres taught me that I was wrong for letting the speedrunning leaderboards guide my journey, or letting the views on my articles to determine what they are worth.
After playing Tempres, I learned to love my articles and it taught me that the times where I didn’t meet goals that I set for myself did not mean that I wasn’t good enough, it just meant that I was new and still attempting to find the solution in the puzzle of life. Tempres is a great way to learn that you are important, and that envy will stop you from achieving your goals. So tell that Imposter Syndrome to go away, you have some great work to do.