Though its existence remains inexplicable, Deepak Chopra's Leela now has a trailer full of trippy visuals, obtuse references to spirituality and lots of pretty colors.
Chopra, for those of you who've spent the last two decades habitually skipping Oprah, is an Indian doctor made famous for his promotion of yoga, alternative medicine and that New Age spirituality thing that was so in vogue circa 1991.
Someone at THQ saw this (and, presumably, the millions of dollars Chopra's followers have spent on his teachings) and decided that Mr. Chopra's work would make a fantastic videogame.
Or, more specifically, that Chopra's teachings would make a perfect game once mated with Wii- and Kinect-enabled motion controls, and gameplay tropes seemingly lifted from modern, entirely secular synaesthetic games like Rez, Child of Eden, flOw and Amplitude.
Thus, we have the above trailer; equal parts gameplay and Chopra explaining how playing the game might actually improve one's life. Also, there's a petite Asian woman bending and flexing in front of the game, in an effort to do something that my limited knowledge of chakras probably prevents me from describing in full.
The game hits retail on November 8. The Wii version sports a $40 price tag, while the Kinect iteration will set you back an additional $10.
Now, far be it from me to question the motivations of a pseudo-religious movement that saw its cultural apogee right around the same time that I was discovering that perhaps girls might not have cooties after all, but I'm really at a loss to explain this game's existence.
I don't want to label it a simple cash-grab. That seems dismissive and cold. I want to think that maybe this is some kind of extension of Chopra's teachings that real people are actually going to use and find fulfillment through. I want to think that THQ has some kind of ulterior motive outside of the cartoonish dollar signs emblazoned over its shareholder's eyes with every mention of how popular Chopra is as a New Age spiritualist.
Then again, this is a guy who won an Ig Nobel Prize in 1998 for his attempts to connect quantum mechanics to spiritual healing. Admittedly, he later told Richard Dawkins that his references to "quantum theory" were metaphorical -- not that that makes them any more valid.
The gameplay tropes in the video seem solid, but coupled with the underlying pseudoscience? That's a bit of a turn off. Honestly, I'd prefer a game based on the work of Peter Fong. Say what you will about the ethics of giving clams Prozac, but you can't deny that those mollusks were happy as, uh ... clams, I guess.