Monday, April 9, 2012

Gimpy Gamer: Leela

Does a meditation game really work?

I just played Deepak Chopra's Leela on an XBox 360 Kinect And I think it works.

Leela is kind of a experiment, in my view, an attempt to game-ify meditation practices. There are sections that are more active, Play, and more introspective, Reflect. Completing levels unlocks new ones, and the ones completed become deeper upon replay.

The active parts of the game focus on isolated body movements in Movements and then combined movements in Sequence. Minion One made fun of my hip wiggling, but that was alright. 

One of the only problems with the game is that if the Kinect loses track of you, the game does not recognize it. When I started Stillness I had to grab my mat and cushions, and then the game bugged a bit, losing me and not giving me control hands on the screen to choose the next section. So I bumped out and restarted the game...

The Kinect/XBox menus only intrude at the storage device menu. Otherwise the game creates and sustains a very peaceful, but focused mood. I have duplicated the menu choices here for you so you can get a good look before you decide whether or not to play. I think it is a success, and it my hope to get it out and play it a couple of times a week. 

Oh, and on a personal note: I found it easier to get the family to respect meditation time and space if I take over the living room to do it and there are visuals and sound. Something that they could see and hear that delineated a personal time and space bubble. That may have something to do with having greater success.

The game has gentle, spoken guidance from Chopra himself. There is also a female voice that is equally effective. The reminders and help are sometimes a little creepy in their prescience. By that I mean that shortly after my shoulders had started to slump at one point, I think, I heard a reminder to keep them natural and correct.

(Notes on access and ability follow below game sections.)


Play, Reflect, Options

Note: there is often a Learn option which will repeat to you whatever instructions were needed the first time through.

Movements, Sequence, Mandala (which you can share on Facebook)

Origin, Life, Power, Love, Harmony, Intuition, Unity

Basic, Foundation, Heart, Ethereal, Wholeness, Guru, Leela

Stillness, Oracle, Ambient

Guided Meditation, Breath Practice, Silent Meditation

Guided Meditation:
Begin, Flow, Energize, Open, Connect, Vision, Be


Gimpy Access: 

Obviously, a completely able bodied gamer is going to get the most out of this game. However, as long as you have some limb use you can use LeeLa. If you cannot stand, you can still enjoy and use the half of the game labeled Reflect for meditation. 

Some folks with chronic muscle/joint pain may find the Play section eases that for a short while - it does for me, at times. Although, you have to be at a certain ability level to even try to get that relief...

Controller use is limited to the standard choosing a profile and saved game destination.

The game is captioned. 

Overall, this is one of the more accessible XBox 360 Kinect games I have played.

If I have missed an access point, please let me know and I will address it as best I can!

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