Journey to Wild Divine
The term “new age” sends shudders down my spine. I’m pretty anti anything that uses pseudo-science to sell products to superstitious types with more money than sense.
So when I saw the press release for Journey to Wild Divine talking about an “inner-active” computer adventure I thought I’d take a look. However, like any good sceptic I decided to proceed with an open mind.
The game is an intriguing combination of hardware and software. The hardware is a USB sensor (they call it a Light Stone and Magic Rings) that clips onto three of your fingers and measures heart rate and skin conductance level. As far as I can tell, these are pretty much the same things measured by lie-detectors. The Light Stone is a biofeedback device that helps you navigate the adventure.
So far so good – I plug myself into the machine and fire-up the software. I suspect the hushed tones and floaty music are supposed to calm you down, though it was difficult to take it all seriously to begin with. But if you’re into it, I can see how it would be a nice experience.
You’re guided through the landscape by a video-captured woman who instructs you in the various games. You get to think your way around the rendered gardens – literally playing mind games. One of the first games is mental juggling.
The juggling balls on screen are controlled by your biofeedback. It’s an interesting exercise to increase your heart rate just by thinking. I didn’t find it difficult, though once your heart rate is up, getting it to slow down and be calm again is a challenge.
For the most part, Journey to the Wild Divine is made up of variations of this type of game. You levitate things and spin them around, and as you practice you can improve your abilities to control heart and skin conductance (through sweat responses).
From a sceptical point of view there isn’t much to complain about. There’s no pseudo-science, though everything is presented in a new-age hippy sort of way. If you can stomach it, the Journey to Wild Divine is like a virtual yoga lesson. Like yoga, it teaches breathing exercises and ways to control your body’s supposedly involuntary functions. The language used isn’t exactly scientific, but the results are real.
The fact is, whether you believe that you have an inner chi that powers your kundalini snake up through your chakras, or that you simply need to chill out from a stressful life, this game will work. It boosts visualization abilities and helps you control levels of stress and excitement. These are real and measurable skills whether you’re superstitious or not. So if you’d like to master your lizard brain (hindbrain and brainstem functions), this is the best thing short of getting your own yogi.