Non-game games: Playne, Kind Words

I bought a bunch of games during the Steam winter sale after saying I was definitely not going to do that. Among the things I bought are two things that aren’t really games as such, “Playne” and “Kind Words [low fi chill beats to write to].”

I was going to say that Playne is a PC-based meditation app in disguise, but it really isn’t in disguise at all. It’s just about meditating. It’s got a timer, a circle that grows and shrinks for you to breathe along to, and a fox who tells you that you’re going to save the world by meditating. I knew what it was when I bought it. I have wanted to start meditating for a while now. Why not do it with a fox?

Kind Words is a “game” that lets you send out short anonymous letters and receive short anonymous replies. Many of the letters are people trying to work through their problems, but sometimes people will send out letters asking for a list of things that make you happy or what you like about yourself.  You can thank people for their replies with stickers, which are used for both decorating your room and to send out to thank others for their replies. You can also send out paper airplanes– very short messages sent to the community at large with no reply option. Messages are delivered by the mail deer, which is like a mail carrier, except it’s a deer. The mail deer is very positive and encouraging too. As the title suggests, it comes with a variety of music tracks that can be changed via the radio on your shelf in your little bedroom, which is all there is to the game world itself. Thus far, Kind Words has been positive and uplifting for me.

I enjoy both these titles. I think they are both fine examples of the artform that video games have evolved into. The possibilities for applying video game technologies and mechanics to created new kinds of virtual experiences are truly endless.


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