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The Bytes Fantastic: Mind - Path To Thalamus

The trailer for Mind: Path To Thalamus is a dream-like series of beautiful landscapes, with a backing of melancholy piano and sorrowful synths. Promising environmental manipulation as well as a jolly good stroll through the corridors of memory and (of course) regret, it reminds me of Linger in Shadows, the demoscene project that broke through onto PS3. It all begins with a voiceover, which I managed to ignore, but it ends with another snippet of monologue that croaked out of my speakers, along with the mental image of a beatnik sitting on a windowsill and sucking on a Gauloises while contemplating the shape of the smoke, and pondering how fascinating he must look from afar. Mind is heading to the Rift.

Mind comes to us from the mind of Carlos Coronado, creator of the spiffy Warcelona mod for Left 4 Dead 2. I’m fully on board with the environments but the narration, slight though it is here, could be a sticking point. Here’s what the Greenlight page has to say about that:

Accompannied by the snarky yet heartfelt narration of this comatose patient, the player will guide him through fantastical forests, dark caverns and deceptive worlds of water and ice that directly relate to his emotional state at each point in his journey.

‘Snarky yet heartfelt’ doesn’t sound like the best combination, although if the game pokes a little fun at Mr LilyRose, I could probably find it in my heart to play along. At this stage, we don’t know if the opening line of the trailer refers to some kind of accident or a deliberate act that has filled Mr LilyRose with regret, but the fact that he is in a coma suggests we might be looking at the former. A tragedy that ends in the death of one partner and the mind-bending philosophical journey of the other.

There’s a weirdly warped Manic Pixie Dream Girl vibe to some of these stories (and hints of stories) about the death of a woman inspiring some fellow’s soul-searching inner voyage. Like the Dream Girl, the Dead Woman enables the chap to think and to feel things that would have remained locked away without her presence, or lack thereof. “How many times will I kill her?”, asks Mr LilyRose. Probably just enough times to resolve your inner struggle and become a more well-rounded individual. Hurrah!

Those are Friday thoughts after a long week of watching trailers that alternately explode or muse – sometimes both at the same time. I’m not trying to claim that there’s nothing to be said or explored from such perspectives and narratives – heck, Silent Hill 2 is one of my favourite games – but it feels like a thing worth nothing. Maybe not. Carry on.

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Adam Smith

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