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Deepak Chopra Details  Leela  Meditation Game For Kinect, Wii
Deepak Chopra Details Leela Meditation Game For Kinect, Wii
July 19, 2011 | By Kyle Orland

July 19, 2011 | By Kyle Orland
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Spirituality expert and alternative medicine proponent Dr. Deepak Chopra has revealed details of his upcoming release Leela, an interactive meditation aid without set goals.

Chopra told the AP that Leela -- Sanskrit for "play" -- will include seven different tasks devoted to different chakras, or energy centers on the body.

A root chakra exercise will ask players to tilt their hips to grow on-screen plants, while the heart chakra exercise will let players use fireballs to collect gems embedded in rocks.

Chopra said he felt games like Leela could "accelerate neural development and biological evolution," in contrast to many other games that "[create] addictions to violence, adrenaline and mindlessness, rather than mindfulness."

Two versions of the game are planned -- one for the Wii and one using Kinect on the Xbox 360. The latter version will reportedly include an exercise which uses the Kinect to measure users' chest movements to monitor breathing patterns.

Leela comes out of an licensing agreement between Chopra and THQ, announced last October, which gave the publisher the exclusive rights to publish games based on the controversial guru's teachings. The game is targeted for a November 8 release.



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Comments


Christopher Myburgh
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Tilting your hips to grow on-screen plants and using fireballs to collect gems embedded in rocks could "accelerate neural development and biological evolution"...?



I'm guessing "spirituality expert" must be a technical term for "crackpot".

Glenn Storm
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At the Experimental Gameplay Sessions (GDC 11), Agustin Perez Fernandez showed Mantra, a game that emphasized concentration in moving among abstract forms in a rhythmic fashion. This was clearly aimed at guiding the player to experience a meditative state. And it was utterly uncanny how Agustin was able to talk about the development of the game _while playing a live demo_. It seemed to be a testament to the game's ability to increase player's ability to concentrate and focus. The screenshot of Leela above looks more naturalistic than Mantra, but I wonder if some of the game dynamics are similar.

Jamie Mann
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Glenn: was it really a testament to the game's ability to increase multitasking, or a demonstration of Agustin's ability to multitask? After all, it's his own game, so he'll be highly familiar with it's workings, which in turn reduces the amount of "conscious" monitoring he has to do - much as the way I can hold a conversation while driving a manual (aka stick-shift) car through busy traffic, through traffic-lights and over a roundabout. That involves a significant number of factors - monitoring the speed and location of other vehicles, maintaining an appropriate speed (via balancing of the clutch/accelerator), steering the car, selecting the appropriate lane and listening/responding to the passenger.



It's a hell of a lot of stuff to manage simultaneously. And yet millions of people do it every day, all over the world! To varying degrees of success, admittedly ;)



(also, I seem to recall that studies of the Brain Training game showed that while people became better at completing the tasks within the game, the experience didn't improve their abilities when it came to other tasks. So it's debatable whether experience with Leela/Mantra can actually have a bearing on external activities...)

Glenn Storm
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Not to make any claims for Agustin, one was simply struck by his ability to multitask speaking to a GDC crowd and manipulating a rhythmic tricky game mechanic, which supported the demonstration of the experimental design where one of the stated aims was to help players experience a meditative state, which in turn is aimed at aiding concentration. Making the point may have come to mind because the demonstration displayed an unusual level of concentration, and because the screenshot for this article is reminiscent of the look of Mantra ... sort of.



(The comment made wasn't meant to take a side. It wasn't clear at the time that there were sides to this.)



@Everyone: There's something interesting about the reaction on display in these comments. Why does there appear to be a resistance among developers to this type of game or genre or it's applications? Is it a perfect storm of evil greed design and snake oil gamification? What if a game like this were free?

Ian Uniacke
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You make a good point Glenn. We live in a capitalism and therefore things need to be payed for. Perhaps the "guru" could contribute for free (although why should he?) but what about the dev team that created it? It's just a straw man argument that's as old as the hills, similar to the age old argument that christian's shouldn't collect money. (wait maybe I shouldn't go there)

Evan Bell
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Oh Deepak. More spiritual word salad that makes you seem so deep to a lay audience. I would just like to point out the individuals don't experience "biological evolution", populations of genes(species) do.

Ian Uniacke
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Except you're ignoring the other half of the equation: evolution = genetic pool "+" genetic discrimination. If people start to think differently then they will potentially choose different partners and evolution will move in a different direction.



I don't know anything about Deepak Chopra but it sounds to me that this is what he is saying here.

Robert Green
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You really think he's trying to say that the game encourages you to pick a better partner? Don't be ridiculous. He's not trying to say anything that actually corresponds to some testable aspect of reality, he's just stringing words together in such a way as to make him sound profound so he can take your money.

In retrospect, it should seem obvious that when they set out to make a game based on Chopra's teachings, what they really mean is that it'll set out to take money from gullible people, try and sound clever but ultimately not really achieve anything. In that respect I wholly expect them to succeed.

Ian Uniacke
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If you don't want to listen to what people have to say why do you read their comments? You should try not to put words in peoples mouths. It's pretty obvious that what I said and what you claim I said are not even in the ball park so why argue with you.

Robert Green
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I apologise for any offense I may have caused, but even going back and re-reading it, I still can't see what it is you're referring to. Would you care to elaborate?

Owen McNamara
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Oh great, that charlatan has found a new way to spread his damaging nonsense. Saying he is an expert on spirituality is like saying a dog is an expert at defecating in the yard; both are good at spreading a lot of crap around, but you don't need to be an expert to do it. For shame, THQ, for partnering with this scam artist. After all, if alternative medicine worked, it would just be called medicine.

George Blott
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They just reskinned Bogost's Guru Meditation :P



You critics get this rankled at Brain Age's claims? Take a walk, imo.

Evan Bell
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Yes actually I do. Any claims, especially about medical/health benefits, of any product I greet with skepticism. Chopra problem is his language, and misappropriation of science terms, is so messy it is actually nonsense. At least Brain Age made a claim that is understandable and testable. Why anybody would give this man money is a mystery to me.

Jamie Mann
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Wow. I've not heard of anything like this since... well, Endorfun. Or Rez. Or Brain Training. Or...



I feel joyful now ;)

Peter Armstrong
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I lively discussion for sure! I think the proof is in the experience, and after working on this project for many months now all I ask is that you try it out and then speak your mind. Along with the more visual active experience mentioned here we have a very extensive traditional meditation program, which may be more helpful to you, either way it's something new and I hope people give it a try.

Glenn Storm
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Your comment here is appreciated, Peter. The suggestion to try it before passing judgement seems prudent. The same suggestion could be offered about many games, genres, activities, viewpoints, etc.



Btw, same Peter Armstrong credited on GTA2 (and many others)? I loved that game on the DC. :)


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