Do violent games stress you out? Would you like to meditate to a soothing video game after a long day’s work? If so, spiritual guide Deepak Chopra and THQ may have a game for you. Called Leela, a word that means “play” in Sanskrit, the game uses Microsoft’s Kinect or the Wii Remote to combine the world of games with breathing and meditation exercises, reports the AP.
“I personally believe that you can accelerate neural development and biological evolution through video games,” said Chopra. “Unfortunately, that’s not what we’re doing right now. What we’re doing is creating addictions to violence, adrenaline and mindlessness, rather than mindfulness. That was my personal motivation to get involved in this medium.”
The game will use the Kinect sensors to guide users through the seven “chakras,” or points along the body that many believe serve as a body’s energy centers. Somewhat like Wii Fit or other games like Flower, Leela will have minigames that get more difficult over time, but it will not have scores or other competitive aspects. Instead, it will be more about learning how to better do the exercises and enjoy the soothing visuals and music. In one exercise called the “root chakra,” players must tilt their hips to seed a plant on the screen. The “heart chakra” has players use their hands to direct fireballs that destroy rocks to release hidden gems.
If this sounds strange, it is. THQ had a difficult time converting Chopra’s idea into anything resembling an entertaining game. “We wanted to make sure each of the movements was fun and replayable,” said Peter Armstrong, director of product development at THQ. “That’s why we did more than 500 prototypes. We took the teachings and tried to boil them down. We would show those to Deepak and some of his experts, but there were several instances where they just didn’t work. They just didn’t quite fit the meaning of that chakra.”
But does a game like Leela have a chance at success? Its biggest problem may be its hybrid nature. Regular Xbox or Wii gamers may not be interested in a meditation game, while Chopra’s followers may not own a video game system. With console prices as high as $400, plus the price of the game, only the most devoted may spend the money to pick this up. Still, it will be fun to see what Chopra’s mediation practices are all about.
“It’s all doable now,” said Chopra. “We just have to bring it all together. If we can measure what’s happening in your body, your heart, your emotions, your breath and your mind, then there’s no reason why we can’t create a new generation of video games that can help accelerate the personal, psychological, emotional and spiritual development of human beings.”
Leela will be released for the Xbox 360 and Wii on Nov. 8, 2011.