PrincipLeS

"You never change things by fighting the existing reality.

To change something, build a new model
that makes the existing model obsolete."

Core

Values

Koi

Love Paradox

The story takes place in an otherworldly, surrealistic realm – yet every part of it is an attempt to mirror the complexity of both our external world and internal mind.

Recognising that there are no easy answers, the game looks to reconcile seemingly irreconcilable political, psychological and spiritual oppositions that young people are forced to grapple with today.

Zen

Eschew Doctrine

A diversity of different ways of thinking is needed to think clearly. open inquiry, viewpoint diversity, and constructive disagreement.

It borrows from varied and sometimes opposing traditions and philosophies, 

seeking in the union of opposites a higher wisdom.

It attempts to offer an alternative to the fixated, tribalistic group think that dominates discourse today.

This is ‘spiritual entertainment’, presenting ideas to be played with and considered.

Nothing in this game should be viewed as true or false, but merely interesting, the player should play with these concepts, and if they work for them. Wonderful. And if not, they should drop them freely.

Fish

Embrace Hardness

Atheism, properly understood, makes no claims on the nature of divinity.

It can be reduced to no more than ‘I do not have to believe something just because you say so, without evidence’.

In this form it is merely a philosophy promoting a liberated mind.

This is embraced in the world of Hark, especially in the land of the Delvers, and Clenchers, where rationalism and stoicism are celebrated above all.

Weaving

Weave Emergence

Provide a space for the player to be elevated beyond the ruts of their thinking.
 into an enlightened, that goes beyond tribalism and group identify, 

finding the beautiful commonality between different kinds of ways of perceiving reality, and by bringing them together, to help a higher order of thought to emerge from the field of emergence.

 

Studio Ethos

 

Hark will be launched as a social enterprise. We will use metrics beyond financial viability to help the game appeal to impact investors.

Success will be measured by users completing meditations and game elements, combined with integrated user feedback on their journey, reporting benefits they have found from the game.

Design

Principles

Below are the various techniques, strategies and concepts, that will allow the game to deliver on the above goals. These involve lateral thinking, attempting to attack the concept of gaming from a new angle, and introduce a new paradigm of game design to help introduce a new pattern for how a player can interact with and benefit from their digital media.

Reduce Polarities

Postmodern Gameplay

 Challenge the player, their perceptions and their very notions of what they are doing in the moment.

For example, as you move through an environment in the game, there is a pranayama breathing timer, so that you have a constant reminder to be aware of your breath, even as the players’ mind starts to disappear off into the escapism of the game world.


Jung

Un-escapist

 
Everything links to the player’s life providing a voyage of self discovery. It must be applicable to the real paradoxes and challenges they face every day.

Shiva

Digitally Ergonomic

with non-addictive gameplay, and by balancing the visual and auditory senses with as many quiet lulls, providing stillness and quietude, as there are powerful high-stimulus moments. everything about the game and its production serve to help to come, heal and soothe the human mind not to over stimulate or exploitatively commodify their attention.

Integrate peaceful and still experiences into the medium of the lively computer game – where the player could find an escape from overstimulation, via the same immersive digital portal that young people are primarily drawn to.

At a time when much of young peoples’ minds, learning and character development are shaped through their exposure to digital media, central to Hark’s ethos is the healthiness of its’ effect on the player: It pioneers a ‘digitally ergonomic’ relationship between player and electronic interface. One that is restorative to the senses, and that provides a medium for meditative, deeply restful and healing patterns of thought.

It allows these to be given room to breathe and emerge even while interacting with a medium that typically drains and exhausts the mind.

noun-neuron-3156173

Feeling First

Starts with the emotions the developers want players to feel. From there, they design the mechanics and the gameplay and story. It’s a flip on the traditional approach to game creation leading to unique, moving emotional responses in players.

lotus2

A World of Pure Imagination

  Like great books, Hark attempts to provide a ‘less is more’ approach, providing cues to help realise the rich potential of the players imagination in visualising and making real the world.
noun-turntable-4182205

Remix the Past

Taking the best materials from literature, art and music and repackaging it for a modern audience in an eclectic mix.

 

There are no direct references to specific deities, religions or individuals. Rather the player will encounter find game characters and settings who have been influenced by a combination of many of these. They are a complex metamorphosis of many different concepts, often with paradoxes and contradictions introduced into them, enriching their personalities beyond that of stereotypes.

 

deities

Deep Immersion

 
It must be deeply immersive so it must enthral the player in the plot, the artwork and the soundscapes so they feel they are in it.

No Pandering

Never pander

 It must not pander to the players and overstimulate their reward circuitry. They must feel they have earned it.

Respect the player’s ability to respond to the game in their own unique way.

stoptheworld

Stop the world

When they least expect it – startle the player – reaching out, arrests the players normal sense of reality and creates space to contemplate. Allowing for the thought that the game is speaking to the player from another world (And perhaps it is!)
No Grinding

Zero Grinding

No fake or artificial rewards are set in the game. The only progress is what the player learns, and the journey that they take.

I-Ching

A Pantheon of Allies

Hark! trials the idea that, like Sesame Street, advanced concepts, in this case life tools and mindfulness, can be more digestible to young people when presented by appealing characters.

Hark! is an immersive world populated with interactive characters; spiritual mentors who ‘reach through’ the screen to engage the player in meditative awareness,

It offers an experience 0f mindfulness delivered directly through interactive characters, embedded in an evocative story.

On the one hand, this provides a more compelling experience than traditional meditation apps and recordings.  Additionally, it provides a far more valuable and mind expanding experience than traditional games.

And even, we hope, one that can be an aid and source of solace in dark times.

“Digital Minimalism: A philosophy of technology use in which you focus your online time on a small number of carefully selected and optimized activities that strongly support things you value, and then happily miss out on everything else.”