ADD and Proteus

I’m writing this quick post because I discovered something today and had to share it. Talking about my ADD and the issues I’ve had with it was always part of my plan for this blog, and will go into more detail later. But I just had to say something because Proteus helped me with something I’ve been struggling with for quite a while now, it managed to shut-up my mind. I am basically always thinking, unless a task is taking up all my mental processes thoughts and ideas are basically always bouncing around. While this can quite useful for creativity, problem solving, and sometimes learning, I don’t have the best control over it. Sometimes irrelevant ideas are stuck in my head, my thoughts don’t always go in the direction I want, and IT DOESN’T STOP! My brain can scream thoughts and without the ability to shut my mind down negative thoughts can consume me if they start and I can have severe problems getting to sleep. Simple meditation doesn’t reliably work. To control thoughts I’ve created rituals, drove, yoga, hard exercise, and, I’m embarrassed to say, drank. But I can’t always do these, they only help some, or have other problems.

But today I played Proteus for the first time. I thought it might give me a little something to do while I thought of other things, but after a few minutes of playing I was in a total zen state. The game is simple and serene, the music is calm and hypnotic, and the controls are simple so you don’t have to think about them and slow you can’t rush. But I think the real genius is in the Proteus’s world. There’s quite a bit to explore and different ways to do so; follow a path, head toward a landmark, climb a hill for an overview, or just randomly walk around. The world changes between day and night, which makes quite a few changes in the world. And while you’re only interaction with the world is moving thought it, there’s plenty of ways this effects the world around you. There are some simple things, like animals running away as you approach, changes in music in different areas, walking into a cloud and only being able to see a little ways in front of you, and I’m guessing some other things I didn’t get to in my short play. And I found one substantial effect I could have, but I don’t feel like spoiling it.

All of this makes for a quite the experience. Just letting myself get lost in the world led me to making short term goals and create short narratives. I’m going to chase this frog for a while and add it’s croaks to the music. I walked in the rain for a while and find a hill that allowed me to walk into the cloud. I climb up a hill that has some statues at the top to see them and get a good view, the sun starts setting soon after getting there and I line up my view so the sun sets between two statues. The only goals Proteus has are the ones you make yourself and this is great for a meditative experience.

I didn’t fully realize what Proteus had done right away. But when my brain stated to awake from it’s trance some, it clicked that my normally turbulent mind was calm. This felt so good! I knew my overactive brain was causing me problems, but I guess I didn’t realize the extent it was wearing on me. It was like I was clenching my fist and didn’t know it. I think I’m going to have to plan time to play Proteus and any other similar games I can find on a regular basis.

You can buy Proteus from Twisted Tree Games.