Laura Michet’s Meditations game had a wonderful description, but the gameplay completely lost me. I did not know the significance of my actions and did not understand the mechanics of the game. I don’t think this was intentional, and I may just be unable to comprehend games today, but my absence of knowledge was quite eye-opening.
Before I talk about the game and its lack of narrative direction, it is noteworthy that Fangle Spangle, a Youtuber who also covers Meditations, asked Michet about the game’s narrative issues, and Michet stated that the game was not allowed to have text, and due to this restriction, Michet could not accurately depict the scene she was attempting to depict. (Ethical note: I have had a positive Twitter interaction with Fangle Spangle, and I am very fond of his work. The inclusion of him into this article was based on his interaction with Michet and not influenced by my positive views towards Fangle Spangle).
The description of Michet’s game describes time and how the world changes over time. The gameplay, however, consists of picking up white things around an object that I can’t identify. I do not know what the white things are, or what the setting of the game is. Over the course of the Meditations series, it has been somewhat easy to interpret the games, but for this one I am clueless.
Its lack of story or context shows how valuable text can be in a game, and how important a story is. While none of the Meditations games have had text, some games need it to convey their message. So this experience has made me think about Meditations as a whole and if some games would have been improved or hindered with text in them. The text takes away from gameplay but can cause a drastic change in the effect of a game’s narrative.
I may not have understood today’s game, but I do understand how adding text would have helped it. Was the restrictions placed on Meditations games necessary? I don’t really know how to answer that. I certainly do not think this game specifically would be harmed by putting text in, but earlier games, like the game from February 3rd, would have been hindered by reading text. It is a neat thing to think about and I am thankful for today’s game for giving me the opportunity to understand that ups and downs of text and dialogue.