Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04
Welcome home! Please contact lincoln@newbuddhist.com if you have any difficulty logging in or using the site. New registrations must be manually approved which may take up to 48 hours. Can't log in? Try clearing your browser's cookies.

The Buddhist video game breaks conventions

BrianBrian Detroit, MI Moderator
edited January 2013 in Buddhism Today

Comments

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    At the risk of sounding naive, and of 'not getting it'.... isn't it rather like watching a fly-on-the-wall documentary about a guy practising Buddhism....?
  • BrianBrian Detroit, MI Moderator
    No, I think it's nothing like that. When you watch a documentary, passiveness is implied; we do not interact with television.

    Video games are wildly different. The expectation is interaction and control. People's first inclination is to control the character, to win, to accomplish something. Discovering that this causes you to "lose" is the jarring part.
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    Oh so you do get buttons and a joystick... and I guess, some kind of interactive dialogue giving you directions, instructions and responses..... I'd love to try it - just to say I've tried it.
    Mind you, with my techno-know-how, I'd probably get the Buddha to bust a blood vessel......
  • Not sure about the message of this game. "Doing nothing = mindful", "doing something = unmindful". Plenty of people can do nothing unmindfully. And plenty of people can do something and still be mindful. Learning to do the latter is one of the major goals of many modern lay Buddhists. This game seems to reject that endeavor entirely and further reenforces the stereotype that Buddhism and meditation are about being passive and escaping reality.

    Granted, there's minimal information about the story line and game play, so perhaps there's something more to it.
  • BrianBrian Detroit, MI Moderator
    Doing nothing isn't the point though. The preexisting convention of "activeness" that is inherent with stepping up to a video game console is the very catalyst behind the thoughtful meditation that almost must ensue after understanding the game. You're forced into insightful meditation by analyzing why you thought you had to "interact". You're not just "standing there, doing nothing" (in my mind, that's what watching TV is), you're actively participating by being insightful while not interacting.
  • I see. I think a practicing Buddhist could gain a lot from this, as well a player that receives proper instructions on gaining insight (I'm not sure if the game provides instructions on detachment and mindfulness).

    I was just thinking that, for the uninitiated, i.e., if this game were just sitting in an airport somewhere, I think someone would just immediately lose the game and think, "Lame. Good for Buddhists, but I have a job, a family and a mortgage to pay," and walk away without being forced into insight. "Bad mindset in, bad mindset out," seems to be the pattern.

    Have you seen the actual game play? I did a search but I couldn't find anything with more details about it.
  • OK, being a child of the 60s when pacman was invented, I see the challenge. To stand there with buttons and levers in front of me and NOT touch them? Do you know how many hours and quarters I spent learning how to mash and yank on these machines fast as I could? Torture! Pure torture!
    DaftChris
  • BhikkhuJayasaraBhikkhuJayasara Bhikkhu Veteran
    wasnt there just a thread about this a few days back?
  • BrianBrian Detroit, MI Moderator
    No. That was a game called Journey that has absolutely nothing to do with this discussion.
  • I will admit though that as described, it doesn't make any sense at all. So you just stand there and watch the screen? Also, "doing nothing at all" is apathy, not being in the present moment. Being present means to respond with a clear mind to the present situation, not passively refuse to engage with life.

    But as an art project, it does sound interesting.
  • ZeroZero Veteran
    It's interesting - I like it - though I think they fell into the duality trap by having 'game over' upon intervention - that said, I can also see that by following the convention, one is met with a conventional response, though in this case it is negative reinforcement only... thought provoking project...
  • BhikkhuJayasaraBhikkhuJayasara Bhikkhu Veteran
    edited January 2013
    actually the thread the other day had an article that spoke directly about this "game", but it doesn't matter.

    Now a Buddhist game I'd like to see is one set in the time of the Buddha where you can be a disciple and wander around india listening to dhamma talks by the Buddha and the famous disciples, visiting charnal grounds, meditating in the forest, going on pindapat etc. Kind of like grand theft auto but Buddhist style in ancient India where you can visit all the famous cities, deer parks and locations in the Suttas. You can "pimp out" your robes with different color patches (since the robes back then were sewn together from death rags) and stuff like that. THAT is a game :).
    sean42bodhiEvenThird
  • Hmm...my own game design, if pressed?

    You start by standing at the door of an old Master's hut, and are asked the question, "Who are you?" and if you correctly answer "I don't know" you're sent on a journey to see various Masters, who ask you questions or give you tasks to perform such as meditate for so long or take a message to the previous Master, and according to how you respond you continue to the next Master. Eventually, you find yourself back at the door you started from, where the same Master asks you the question, "Who are you?"
    Beej42bodhi
  • BarraBarra soto zennie wandering in a cloud in beautiful, bucolic Victoria BC, on the wacky left coast of Canada Veteran
    LOL!
  • Meditation isn't a game man, you can't just like, conceptualize it as a form at attachment in a the some kind of far out game, man :p
  • This is an interesting concept. Video gaming requires, by its very nature, an attachment to achievement. It is goal-oriented. It is very much the same as life in the sense that you have to keep working at something until you finally succeed and move up to the next level. The challenge always being succeeding until you move up. In some games, when you reach the end, that's it. Nothing else. Fade to black...just like life. Video games, by it's very nature, is very anti-thetical from the concept of meditation. The very idea of simply being mindful without necessarily doing anything would be a challenge for seasoned gamers. For myself, this game wouldn't be much different than being logged in on Second Life and meditating at the virtual temple at the Buddha Center. Sounds like fun :)
  • I was given a gamebox and some games, including 'Grand Theft Auto'. Boring game, you go around, killing and stealing. However I learned a great way of playing it. Basically running and swimming to the countryside. Then enjoying the view. The highlight of the game was when I found a bunch of flowers. In best hippy style I offered them to a police officer, who shot me anyway . . . :)
    personBrianVastmind
  • Cinorjer I'll buy your game!
  • BeejBeej Human Being Veteran
    I play a game called Sound Shapes on the PlayStation 3 console. Its a super fun platformer game that also doubles as a musical creation tool. You are this little ball that rolls around collecting coins that function as music notes, which play in a loop after you collect the coins.

    BUT, the coolest part of the game is that you can create your own levels, and upload them to the server for the entire SoundShapes community to play. You arrange the notes and the 2D platforms, add background decorations, and interactive objects such as creatures and tools. You can manipulate shapes into almost any configuration, and even make highly stylized artistic arrangements/landscapes/portraits/etc. And the game is awesome!

    I just created my first Buddhistish type of level called: "Man Mantra Mandala", where the little ball rolls around a simple but expressive mandala, all the while collecting music notes which create a positive and joyful sound. It is my 34th level that I have created and its one of my favorites. And its been the number one hit in the community for the last week! You can go to soundshapesgame.com to get a better idea of what i am describing if you want to, or buy the game and search for TheBeejAbides, because I use the same username there too. If you grew up with Pitfall, Mario Bros, Sonic the Hedgehog you will certainly love this game. And you can even make your own Mandala type of level if you want to.

    I love the idea of the game that is the topic of this thread. I also love the idea of rolling around inside a mandala. They're both good for Buddhist practice.
    :) :)
    BrianCinorjer
  • I, as a buddhist and a gamer, really like this concept.

    It does remind me a bit of the game 'endless ocean' for the Nintendo Wii. In this game the player swims around and watches fish and coral and sealife.

    Just being.
    Just floating.
    Brian
  • BrianBrian Detroit, MI Moderator
    Endless Ocean was fantastic.
  • Beautiful game. Endless Ocean sounds nice too.
  • TheBeejAbides, congrats on your level being number 1!

    I've been told before that meditation on the breath is much like observing wildlife. If you attempt to do anything other than observe, you'll scare the wildlife away.

    It sounds like this game captures that essence of just observing.

    Somebody should definitely get working on a combination of Jayantha's idea and Cinorjer's idea.

    I would also love to see a game based on ancient Buddhist mythology, where one roams around as someone who starts as a god, and then gets thrown about in the in the hell realm, hungry ghost realm, animal realm, human realm, demigod realm, and back to the god realm. The goal of the game is to conquer the difficulties that each realm offers.
  • I play a game called Sound Shapes on the PlayStation 3 console. Its a super fun platformer game that also doubles as a musical creation tool. You are this little ball that rolls around collecting coins that function as music notes, which play in a loop after you collect the coins.

    BUT, the coolest part of the game is that you can create your own levels, and upload them to the server for the entire SoundShapes community to play. You arrange the notes and the 2D platforms, add background decorations, and interactive objects such as creatures and tools. You can manipulate shapes into almost any configuration, and even make highly stylized artistic arrangements/landscapes/portraits/etc. And the game is awesome!

    I just created my first Buddhistish type of level called: "Man Mantra Mandala", where the little ball rolls around a simple but expressive mandala, all the while collecting music notes which create a positive and joyful sound. It is my 34th level that I have created and its one of my favorites. And its been the number one hit in the community for the last week! You can go to soundshapesgame.com to get a better idea of what i am describing if you want to, or buy the game and search for TheBeejAbides, because I use the same username there too. If you grew up with Pitfall, Mario Bros, Sonic the Hedgehog you will certainly love this game. And you can even make your own Mandala type of level if you want to.

    I love the idea of the game that is the topic of this thread. I also love the idea of rolling around inside a mandala. They're both good for Buddhist practice.
    :) :)

    Any chance you can put a capture of that on youtube?
Sign In or Register to comment.