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Meditative trance via SoundSelf immersive video game

Meditative trance via SoundSelf

Are you ready for an out-of-body experience while staying safe at home? A calming, meditative trance may just be what you need in this time of crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Publisher Andromeda Entertainment says that SoundSelf: A Technodelic is the first video game to produce transcendent states of consciousness guided by your own voice. SoundSelf will be available on April 22 for Mac, PC, Steam, and Oculus Rift. This immersive experience aims to take you to a higher state of consciousness.

Hypnotic world of sound and visuals

“Video games are an incredibly powerful medium for inducing trance states. Just look at any child fall into a game to see for yourself. Weaving music, cinematic graphics, and interactivity, there’s nothing else in the world that can capture a player’s attention with as much sophistication as a video game. It just so happens, however, that most designers are not using that incredible sophistication to intentionally shift the player’s consciousness,” Andromeda Entertainment CEO and Co-Founder Robin Arnott told Digital Life Asia via email.

It may sound strange to think of a video game inducing a meditative trance. But Arnott, who is the creator of SoundSelf, said video games have this huge untapped potential. And science seems to back the claim that virtual reality can be psychedelic.

“Look, every meditation practice that exists is a game. Breath meditation, for example, is a game whose chief mechanic is turning your attention back to the breath when you notice it has wandered. Once you see that, you can use video games to produce meditative states of consciousness. But because video games are so technologically sophisticated, they can hold that meditative state with incredible effectiveness and depth,” Arnott said.

Arnott’s own transcendental journey began with his first “peak” experience at Burning Man in 2011. Months later, Arnott had the central design of SoundSelf in his mind, as a digital adaptation of his own unwinding.

With the launch of the Oculus Rift in 2012, DSP programmer / game designer Evan Balster joined the project. SoundSelf has been in development since 2012, with a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2013 raising $36,766 for accelerated early development. This also enabled them to construct a Deep-Playa installation at Burning Man 2013.

The world needs more mindfulness

With anxiety on the rise due to the coronavirus pandemic, practicing mindfulness can help people take care of their mental health.

Arnott acknowledged that SoundSelf has become even more timely in the face of the unexpected disruption of normal routines.

“Here in the United States, the pandemic is a real pattern-interrupt for us. People are anxious, and they can’t lean on any of the habits that comfort them. But it’s a real opportunity to look deeply at those very habits and let go of what doesn’t serve us any more. That’s why contemplative practices are so important right now. I feel so grateful to be able to share a powerful and immersive experience of stillness and peace with the world, right when stillness and peace are just what’s needed,” Arnott said.

Interested in playing SoundSelf? All you need is a gaming computer, headphones, and a microphone. Then just dim the lights in your room, or don your VR headset.

The journey begins with you.


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