Sunday, November 23, 2008

How to reach Enlightenment through a Video Game?

I for one don't know much about mysticism and enlightenment (especially Kabbalah which gives me a headache just thinking about it) but I do find it very interesting. Which is why I was surprised to hear about a PS3 game in the works that deals with just that.

[Statement from the Official Website]

The Night Journey is a video game/art project based on the universal story of an individual mystic's journey toward enlightenment.

Visual inspiration for The Night Journey is drawn from the prior works of Bill Viola. Narrative inspiration comes from the lives and writings of great historical figures including: Rumi, the 13th century Islamic poet and mystic; Ryokan, the 18th century Zen Buddhist poet; St. John of the Cross, the 16th century Spanish mystic and poet; and Plotinus, the 3rd century philosopher. The interactive design attempts to evoke in the player's mind a sense of the archetypal journey of enlightenment through the "mechanics" of the game experience - i.e. the choices and actions of the player during the game.

The player's voyage through The Night Journey takes them through a poetic landscape, a space that has more reflective and spiritual qualities than geographical ones. The core mechanic in the game is the act of traveling and reflecting rather than reaching certain destinations - the trip along a path of enlightenment.

The game is being developed with video game technologies, but attempts to stretch the boundaries of what game experiences may communicate with its unique visual design, content and mechanics. The team has created a set of custom post-processing techniques for the 3D environment that evoke the sense of "explorable video," integrating the imagery of Bill Viola's prior work into the game world at both a technical and creative level.

Other than the fact that I don't think the average gamer will play this game I can't see how this game will work. Most video games has the player move through levels to achieve goals or finish objectives. Although I have read that there will be some goals or levels to achieve before moving on the main objective of the game is to explore and reflect on what you explored. It is a very interesting idea but I don't know how it will sell in the market once it's released. It might have a small following of devoted players but I can't imagine kids getting psyched about reaching enlightenment in "The Night Journey".

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