Meditation Games Diary: 1/23/19

Nick Kaman’s game is inspired by his near-death experience. In Kaman’s Meditations game, you are out in the ocean, unable to swim effectively as you struggle to travel to the island you are by. The visuals are very bright, the song, which is “Where Angels Fear to Tread” by Disclosure, is very exciting. This is contrasted by the dark and almost deadly experience that Kaman went through.

The graphics are stunning. Although the environment is mostly undetailed and consists of a lot of repetitive hill-like structures, the intensity of the colors makes every everything stand out. The water splash effects are interesting to look at, and the bright island in front of you draws your attention to your goal. While the water of the ocean is mostly one color, the island is beautiful and bright, almost giving off a paradisiacal vibe. You need to get to the island because the island is perfect, it is safe and untainted by the demons of the waters.

The gameplay is very alarming. You begin the game quite far away from the island, and you are dunked underwater every few seconds due to your inability to swim correctly. You use left and right clicks that correspond with moving your hands forward, and travel small distances until you finally reach the island. You are only able to get three or four clicks in before your head goes underwater and your sources of survival are rendered useless for a second.

Kaman created a frightening experience in a beautiful setting. You are helpless at sea, splashing as you move your hands frantically, and unable to stay afloat. This near-death experience reminded me of the times where I almost died and reminded me of the times where I have struggled to swim. When I was a child it took me a while to learn swimming techniques, and I still remember the feeling of moving my arms and legs rapidly hoping that my lungs would not fill up and flood my insides with water.

When you are trying to survive like this, the only thing you can focus on is the situation you are in, and the goal that would allow you to live. This is what makes the visuals so important. Although the island is not detailed, it is obviously the goal you must reach to survive. It is beautiful, heavenly, but lacks any sign of detail. The rocks don’t have textures, the sand is lumped up into hills where you can’t distinguish the pieces of sand, and the trees have no texture for the bark, but the leaves are detailed the most out of every object in the game. This is also extremely important.

The end of the game occurs when you reach the island and look up to the leaves of the trees. The leaves are a sign of revival. We often judge trees based on their leaves or lack thereof. Dormant trees and dead trees’ lack of leaves in the Winter give off a despaired aura. They seem to lack any hope of survival even though dormant trees will regrow its leaves in the Spring. Leaves growing is a sign of hope and creates a peaceful and hopeful aura.

When you look up at the leaves, you think about how you were so close to death but swam yourself out of its grasps. You look at the leaves with a newfound understanding of life, the exact thing that they represent. They represent growth, revival, and hope, and in this brief moment, you felt all of these things. Your ability to swim improved, you refused to die, and now you have a hope that you won’t ever have that experience again.

This experience was really fun, intense, and thrilling. Learning how the mechanics worked in such a dire situation was awesome, and the upbeat music and lovely visuals make me wish that I spent more time with it. 1/23/20 will be my next chance at playing Kaman’s game, and I plan to replay it several times so I can enjoy that scary, yet thrilling, moment again.

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