Meditation Games Diary: 1/4/19

Today’s game was a really fast-paced puzzle game developed by Egor Dorichev. You play as a red arrow trying to enter the green square in the level using the arrow keys to go in a straight line until you are stopped by an obstacle, and are forced to switch directions. It was created in Pico-8 and the description states, “There is only one way to get to the truth” which is a statement that seems completely false, and very important to the gameplay.

When traversing through the level, the red arrow can get stuck in walls, forcing you to restart and try again. With the description in mind, there should only be one way to complete each level, but that is not true at all. Some puzzles, if not all of them, can be completed in multiple ways. Using the objects in each level, you can put the red arrow in a lot of places, and more than one of them leads to the goal.

The way the description lies to you turned the already enjoyable experience into a better one. When I completed the puzzles a second time and found different solutions, I was amazed. What I once thought to be the One Truth was actually not the only one. It felt like I achieved something great and tricked the truth. This is what the game is about.

What you think is true can easily change when new information is available. We learn every day, and each time we learn about a subject, our thoughts on that subject change. It can be a huge change or a minuscule one. Political beliefs, for example, can develop and change over time. When we discover a new event in the world that we have to take a stance on, or we openly discuss them with peers to get an understanding of how and why our opinions differ, our thoughts change. Without enough information about a subject, we have our truth, but not the truth. We must search for answers to discover what the actual truth is. Regardless of what we believe in, we should always be searching for more to learn about the subject so that we can shift our thoughts closer to the truth. That is what the “one way” is that is described in the game’s summary. It is the search for the truth.

In Dorichev’s game, you are incessantly searching for the truth. You complete the first level and arrive at another level with a new solution to find. Each level represents the development of your beliefs. They get more complex as you continue to search for information, data, and support for your beliefs. Instead of “X is Y because Z”, you have a plethora of variables to work with.

So if we take the description for what it implies instead of what it explicitly states, everything makes sense, especially the ending, which displays a Pico-8 command line. All you see is > and a flashing red square, begging you to type something, but nothing works. That’s when I started typing every key on my keyboard in every single combination I could think of, and alas, I found the Truth.

The truth that nothing could be done. There was no truth, only the search for it in the last minute of the game. I learned quite a lot when trying to find the solution, such as what keys make Pico-8 take a picture or video of the game and put it on the desktop, and what keys close the game. Finding out these things while searching for an ending made me feel like I was so close to finding something there, but that was foolish of me because the search should never end.

You should always keep learning, whether it’s about a political topic, a type of food, or coding, there is always more to learn. You should be searching for information that will help you develop your truth every day, and once you find a truth that you feel is very strong and supported by a ton of information, keep searching.

Dorichev’s game was unlike the other Meditations games. Unlike the games before it, Dorichev’s game was a normal experience. It had fast-paced gameplay, regular puzzles, and awesome music. It was a very gamey game while the other titles have been symbolic of mental health, but I still learned a lot from this experience and will play it next year as a reminder to keep expanding my knowledge.

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