Cullen Dwyer created something extremely special for today. His game is about remembering his dog, who sadly passed away. In Dwyer’s entry to Meditations, you play as the ghost of the dog, playing fetch with the hand of its owner at your burial site, and little by little, both of you fade away.
Even though I never had a dog, this experience was still a very emotional one. Losing someone hurts, regardless if it is a pet, friend, or family member, death is awful. This game is about remembering the good times you had with the person you love, and that is what hurt so badly when playing, because the memories were, of course, not perfect.
At the start of the game, the tombstone of the dog turns into a ghostly form of him. He runs but lacks legs, and the owner, Dwyer, lacks a body. He is just a hand who holds and throws the ball to the dog that does not look like one. The dog is quite obviously a ghost, so this experience seemed more like a dream than a representation of a memory.
Grief is hard to go through, but I think the hardest part is when you have a dream about the deceased loved one. It gives you hope that everything is okay before it is ripped away from you and you notice that it was just a dream and that everything is still awful. I have recurring ones where I can’t hear their voice, but I see them, and I see their mouth move like they are talking, but no words come out. It is a constant reminder that it is a dream and that nothing will be the same ever again.
Dwyer’s game perfectly depicts what having a dream like this feels like. At first, everything seems so great, but then you realize that this is a moment that will shortly pass and that you will most likely forget that you ever had it in a week or so, unless it occurs again. It is a blessing and a curse. You get to see them, laugh, and cry all over again, but you wake up missing them and still have the tears in your eyes unable to feel the happiness you felt when you were having the dream.
The game is bright and has a very happy feel to it. It does not feel like a sad game, and that is exactly the right feeling you should have. When you enter a grief dream, such as the muted memories I have, everything seems absolutely perfect. The fading away of the dog and the hand is exactly how it feels to realize that you feel a pillow on your head, or realizing that not everything is right in the dream, such as the muted words. It is a sign that what you are experiencing is just life giving you a glimpse of hope and then stabbing your eyes out with a plastic fork.
Dwyer’s game made me feel a lot of things and reminded me that I still have things to work out with my grief. It was a fantastic game and one that everyone, whether they are grieving or not, should play. Those who have grieved will have something to relate to, and maybe it will show people who haven’t grieved what it feels like to miss someone, and how much it hurts.