5 Lessons Superliminal Teaches us That Apply to Real Life
In everything you do and everything you see on a daily basis, there is always a lesson to be learned. Whether in failure or success, blind luck or hard effort, there is always knowledge to be gained. This is especially true of video games, as the medium of interactive entertainment needs to keep us constantly engaged to be successful. Whether it’s testing our reflexes, ability to solve puzzles, or historical knowledge, video games are a fantastic way to grow without it feeling like a lesson. Superliminal, the spectacularly surreal first-person puzzle game from Pillow Castle is one such game that – fittingly – tries to teach the character life lessons while in fact effectively imparts knowledge to the player themselves. Here are five lessons Superliminal teaches us that also apply to real life.
5. Explore Your Curiosity
Many gamers know that incessant drive to explore every nook and cranny of a game. We think Oh, a boss is this way? I’ll take the other path just in case we miss out on some vital loot or hidden easter egg. Superliminal encourages both exploration and experimentation with plenty of hard to reach areas, incredible details in the environment, and mind-bending mechanics to play with. I shrunk myself down to the size of a flea and leapt out of a vent only to fall for at least a minute! Superliminal tells us – much like in real life – to let our imagination and curiosity free; it might just lead you to the solution you’ve been looking for, and besides, who doesn’t want to crack open a 30 gallon can of soda?
4. Be Brave, It’s Just a Dream
Superliminal is set in the recesses of your own mind. As such, nothing you experience can truly hurt you and there is no reason to fear damage while in the safety of your subconscious. Once the player realizes this it’s easy to feel emboldened to take risks, try new things, and cast away self doubt. The lesson here should be fairly evident: while you are, in fact, not indestructible, there are plenty of great opportunities waiting for us should we cast aside doubt and take a chance. This particular lesson doesn’t quite become evident until the game’s closing monologue which – if you have been paying attention – is incredibly well written and calmly uplifting without seeming preachy.
3. The Easiest Answer is Often the Right One
It’s an old saying but it lasts because it is simply true: the easiest (or simplest) answer is often the right one. Superliminal gives you fantastic abilities and skills to manipulate the environment around you, so much so that as the game progresses you naturally want to keep looking for the big complex answer when it really is often the simplest idea. I didn’t feel this so blatantly until I reached a puzzle containing a giant replicating tomato and a large fan. I tried several different and complex ideas for at least 20 minutes before the easiest possible answer popped into my head – and it happened to be the correct one.
2. Forget Typical Conventions
Quite possibly the single most important message in the game is the idea of perspective, both visually and conceptually. As we grow older we have ideas of how things work, how they are meant to work, why it should always work the way we know it to. However, to paraphrase Socrates: “I know nothing.” One of the most important lessons of life is to allow yourself to be open-minded, to challenge what you accept as correct when there could be any alternate answer. Superliminal asks you to do this at the most basic level in its puzzles, skewing the size of objects and finding specific angles to alter others, but it is the narrative which reinforces the notion of how important it is to change your conceptual perspective to continue growing as a person. It is a surprisingly powerful lesson that doesn’t hit you until the end.
1. Have Fun
The penultimate and final answer on this list should be a no brainer: Have fun. Despite these philosophical observations, Superliminal still sets out to let the players have fun. The entire concept of the game is that your character has engaged in this program to relax and unwind, to de-stress as people need to do. Video games are entertainment. They are meant to be enjoyed and to stimulate while also letting you relax. The world is filled with different things to enjoy in your every day life, but whether or not you let it is, well, a matter of perspective. Superliminal is painfully short, but it is so for a good reason. It is exactly as long as it needs to be for the sake of the narrative and is filled with unique and interesting puzzles to always keep you on your toes. The game wants you to experience what it has to offer and have fun doing it, and in that same vein it wants you, the player, to try and see the fun in everything you do. It may seem impossible that one little indie game could try to inspire such powerful lessons in a few hours, but if you haven’t played Superliminal yet, now might be the perfect time.
Have you played Superliminal yet? Have you been able to change your perspective? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, or the Comments section below. Superliminal is available now on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and the Nintendo Switch. For more information, check out the game’s official website.