Critisism of Metitative Games

After reading some criticism of the relaxing properties of the games that inspire me, I’ve realized that a meditative experience is not what I am looking for. Ben Serviss and Ian Bogost, creater of Guru Meditation for Atatri VCS/iPhone both argue that games like Proteus, Flower, PixelJunk Eden and The Endless Forest are not true meditation games, as the visual stimuli makes the player be more interested in the game than introspection.

“Yet as interesting as some of these games may be, trying to force introspection through an environment is not too different from sitting on a different pillow when giving traditional meditation a shot. They don’t succeed well in creating meditative states because their meditative style, focused introspection, is foiled by what they actually are: active stimuli. Even if not much is happening in-game, the player can still navigate and explore, and the curiosity to see what’s next thwarts any sense of true reflection. Since the benefits of true meditation come by closing every source of stimuli, using this approach doesn’t usually meet with success.”

Serviss does state that these games promote a sense of serenity and relaxation, which is more what I wish to go for.

“Yet while they do a better job of establishing a sense of flow, the slower pace keeps the player’s physical sense in line with their mental processes, creating more of a sense of serenity and relaxation than meditation and introspection.”

They both say that a meditative state is produced though repetitive action and as little visual stimuli as possible, which for a computer arts project is rather redundant. This has been useful however, as some of the games criticized here make for some good research into what it is that I do want to produce.


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