Less About Thinking: DYAD and the Metaphysics of Gaming

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  • It is indeed the unique gaming experience when one achieves a moment of stasis, a state of equilibrium caused by opposing equal forces. In the case of Dyad, those forces – the player/agent and the game – relate mutually to internalize something which is wholly external or other.

    Created by Shawn McGrath (RSBLSB Games), Dyad is an abstract, elemental combination tube racer, first person shooter and puzzle game which comes together to create an engaging – nay, visceral – gaming experience. McGrath designed Dyad to be a learning experience wherein the player/agent develops the mechanical nuances of the game in order to more effectively communicate with it and ultimately with oneself. From this the metagame emerges. Dyad begins simply yet becomes more and more complex, demanding an increasing level of concentration so that the play becomes wholly automatic. As McGrath asserts, the game “juxtaposes the concept of flow or meditation on top of what you are doing and it becomes a commentary on your state of mind when you enter a meditative state [emphasis added].”

    The notion of juxtaposition on top as opposed to against is crucial in that it implies a transcendental pairing of the player/agent and the game, forging a dialogue between the two which leads to a semblance of meditative stasis. Dyad is “less about thinking and more about…a motoric [sic.] type of play.”

    Aesthetically Dyad is hypnotically nebular, blending a phantasmagoria of colors which lure the player/agent into the desired motoric state, in effect isolating the body from the equation. One becomes very much like the Cartesian ball of wax, yet once the corporeal is shed, instead of discovering the intellect, it is a moment of pure balance that is achieved as the agent and the game play into one another.

    In demoing the game, McGrath unveiled The Machine [see video below], a motorized simulator made of scrap metal, wood, a projector and powered by a windshield wiper motor from a freightliner truck. Thoroughly stripped down yet surprisingly fluid, The Machine allowed players to take that necessary one step closer to the game and gain a true sense of what McGrath intended in regard to the relationship between the player and Dyad.

    Yet PAX East was not the only place where one could play Dyad to its full potential. Schematics and source codes for The Machine will be available online in the coming weeks, well before the game’s intended summer release on the Playstation Network.

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    Peter occasionally says something relevant on twitter. Metatweets welcome @PeterLangCrime

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