There’s an odd beauty found in the the simplest of games. Take for instance pOnd, a ‘one button zen game’ built around several important ideas that you don’t find often in video games. pOnd will ask you to forget all of your preconceived notions about video games and take a moment to breathe.
To call it a simple exercise in breathing is such an understatement though. pOnd is a story about life, death, and what little meaning there is in the moments between. It’s given me so much perspective, personally, and I must suggest you try it for yourself. You may be surprised with what you come away with.
The basic premise is simple: you’re a man talking a walk, breathing in all that nature has to offer. You press down the spacebar to breathe in and let go when you want to breathe out. pOnd symbolizes the spirit of nature with a number of glowing orbs on the screen which you will have to breathe in. The number of orbs will alternate, helping you exercise your lungs as well as reach a state of calm and tranquility. Try breathing along with your character on-screen to get the full experience, so you can walk away fulfilled.
You must finish the game perfectly, and I’ll repeat this for emphasis: you must finish the game without mistakes. There is an important scene at the end of pOnd that will only appear if you time your breathing in time with the orbs. If you exhale too early then the game will end early, and though you may feel fulfilled, you’ll lose the introspection and reflection the true ending provides. Don’t worry, a full runthrough of the game should take less than 5 minutes.
What an ending it is though. If you think the journey of pOnd is beautiful and honest and pure, then the ending is the golden thread that ties this game to your soul. If you’ve played pOnd completely, then you understand and we are truly family, friend.
So try pOnd here, at Peanut Gallery, and please leave your thoughts in the comments. Their servers are a little flustered, but keep trying! It’s well worth the wait. Deep breaths, Ranters, tomorrow will be a beautiful day.
[Update: Sorry Ranters, it looks like pOnd’s host site, the Peanut Gallery, has bit the bullet. Not sure when the site will be back up, but when it is I heartily recommend you return and try pOnd out.]