He jibbers about more Gardening mumbo-jumbo crap, and by this point, I've learned to tune out anything that sounds remotely New Age or hippie-esque. Therefore, I almost miss it when he tells me to clear my mind and that with calm, even breaths, I can control the ball at will. "We call it Peaceful Breath," he says. Oh man. Whatever you say, dude; I hope you got paid as much as Great-Aunt Baggins over there. I click on the ball.
I know I'm supposed to be calm and centered instead of three seconds away from losing it entirely, but I can't help it. His faux-mystic demeanor is so unnatural and stilted that I'm finding it hard to stop giggling and achieve my Peaceful Breath. In fact, the more I try to breathe slowly and deeply, the funnier his hokey speech becomes. I think I've developed spontaneous ADHD. Man, I'd be the worst Zen Buddhist ever.
I shake my head and start over, forcing my breath to be deep and powerful, like the inhalations they teach you in Pilates. But the ball stands still. The cello music seems to get louder, even angry. Bigger, deeper breaths now, like a yak in heat. Still nothing. Andrew looks over at me and snickers quietly. I try again, but that ball just isn't going anywhere.
With a sigh, I look away from the screen to clear my head. My eyes light on my fish, a little aquatic Buddha, swimming in his tank across the room. Watching him methodically pace his tank, figure-eighting around his shipwreck and schooling with his own reflection, I feel much calmer and lighter. The giggles have stopped. I breathe shallowly, but slowly and easily as well.
The man abruptly laughs. "There it goes! Very good!" and I'm amazed to see that the purple ball has levitated its way off the screen. It took me more than five minutes to get that ball to move, but eventually, I got it. I feel very strange and pleased with myself. For all its New Age hokum, the core game mechanic in The Journey to the Wild Divine is actually really cool.
Noticing my grin, Andrew smiles, too. "Good job," he says. "You did well."
I ask him what he thinks about The Journey to the Wild Divine. He pauses before replying. "Videogames have gotten kind of a bad rap, because for a long time, they were just about instant gratification, something to do when you didn't have anything else," he says. "But videogames don't necessarily have to be just for entertainment. You can use them for you, instead of allowing them to merely take up your time."
While optimistic about the potential for thought-controlled electronics and devices, Andrew insists that Journey to the Wild Divine's importance isn't the technological advance, but in better understanding the power of our complex minds. "Our brain is pretty much set up to do whatever we want it to do," he says. "You can teach yourself anything, and to an incredible degree."
Will we come to a point where computers become neuroprosthetics, electronic devices that can literally read our minds? After this, I still don't know. The Bionic Arm is incredible progress, but judging by Journey to the Wild Divine, we've still got a long way to go.
Thankfully, too. As fun as it was to levitate a ball with my thoughts, I'm not sure I'm ready to ride off into the sunset on a purple zebra. At least, not yet.
Lara Crigger is a freelance science, tech and gaming journalist whose previous work for The Escapist includes "Playing Through The Pain" and "How To Be A Guitar Hero." Her email is lcrigger[at]gmail[dot]com.