Austin, Texas—Andomeda Entertainment, a Texas-based video game developer, is working on SoundSelf, a mindfulness game to help you meditate.
SoundSelf is a VR meditation game that the developer, Andromeda Entertainment, tells us will feature a “technodelic transformative meditation experience”. Sounds funky!
As a meditation teacher I am always both excited but cautious around new innovations in mindfulness. They tend to go one of two ways. Either they represent a genuinely significant step forward for mindfulness (like Headspace, for instane), or they are simply a commercial cash-in on the current trend (like we recently saw with the release of the Mindful Barbie… sigh…). So which side of the coin does SoundSelf fall on?
The SoundSelf Game Is A Step Forward For Mindfulness And Gaming
This is the very first game from Andromeda Entertainment. But despite its babyface, this fledgling developer has a mission that could not just change the gaming industry but also bring innovations to the mindfulness industry.
The mindfulness industry saw its biggest year ever in 2019, becoming a $1.4billion-per-year industry, mostly thanks to the likes of apps like Headspace and Calm. Headspace and similar apps moved mindfulness forward into the realm of technology and showed us the potential for how tech can advance meditation.
But there’s still far more room for innovation in the mindfulness industry. And one developer that could bring that innovation is Andromeda Entertainment, whose vision is to develop “deep interactive experiences that nourish the mind and body.”
It’s a lofty ambition for a games developer, but then again, Andromeda Entertainment was founded by Robin Arnott, a man who describes himself as an “experimental game designer [and] consciousness hacker.”
This dev has big dreams
Arnott certainly has visions for both the gaming industry and human consciousness. He calls gaming a “powerful tool for shaping people’s consciousness.” Which, to be honest, makes me think of all manner of dystopian sci-fi movies, but I’m sure Arnott has more moral motivations than the villains of said movies.
Arnott has discussed the way that games have historically been a bane to human consciousness and general health. “We have an opportunity to flip the distraction of games into a healing interaction,” he said at the gaming convention E3 in 2019. “As Western art and culture grows to embrace the tides of mindfulness, our tools have to evolve.”
We have previously seen several what I call meditation video games. Those games, however, are really just relaxing titles with ambient music. What SoundSelf aims to achieve is something far grander, the state of meditation, or “Samadhi”.
“Can a videogame give you an experience of stillness? Of the transcendence of self? Of samadhi? Absolutely,” said Arnott.
Sorry, What Is SoundSelf Exactly…?
SoundSelf is an interactive meditation in VR where the controller is your voice. It promises to be a deeply immersive experience. Unlike most games, which aim for excitement, SoundSelf promises to draw you into a “deeper state of slumber” according to the official website.
It can be played using either a VR headset or your regular Windows or Mac setup. A webcam and microphone are required in order to control the game.
The developer promises that the game will help with relaxation, improved mood, and improve activity in the part of the brain associated with self-identification, although whether or not these promises hold water we will have to wait and see.
Regardless of the eventual success or failure of the game (and I am cerrtainly hoping for the former), this is a significant step forward for gaming. It’s a move towards healthier games that actively improve mental health. And it is yet another innovation for the ever-progressing mindfulness industry.
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