The Geography is both a video game and a ~vibe~ generator

The Geography Screenshot 4

I am doing my best to chill. It has not been going well. If you subscribe to the Streetwise newsletter or podcast, you might be aware that I’m fairly high-strung—yet always in search of a way to take this whole stressful life-thing down a notch or two.

Video games have helped in the last year, but not in the way they once did. Shoot-em-ups used to let me disconnect from my day-to-day, but in adulthood, I’m finding that post-work I am not in the mood for big or loud or guns in general. So I’ve begun veering more into the calming end of the gamic spectrum. In which there are, obviously, far fewer entries of note.

So when presented with a machine for instilling stillness into my anxiety-ridden body, consider me a fan.

The Geography is a new indie video game from a creative duo that bridges the interactive with the meditative. A collaboration between Michael Berto and Titouan Millet, the program uses geographic data from Svalbard, Norway rendered into low-poly landscapes—brought to life with soft shaders. An endless and nonlinear musical score weaves soundscapes, to keep the ambiance evolving.

Screen Shot 2021 09 12 At 110950 Pm

Screenshot of artist’s intent from within The Geography. // Photo by Brock Wilbur

You can absolutely put your whole focus on interacting with this. You can also let it run in the corner of your desktop or on your phone, and just let it do what it does. It’s an instrument that you don’t have to strum, but it will keep finding notes long after you’ve set it aside. It isn’t a screensaver because it invites me to use it instead of my screen, and it isn’t a white noise generator because it’s more of a private orchestration.

The longer I invite it into my day, the harder I find it to turn off. Just like any good song or album, it grows on you, even though it’s never once the same. But it’s almost better left in the background—as The Geography itself invites you to do.

Again, in summary, a ~vibe~ generator.

The true test of its success for my needs: did it in any way calm the racing panic that constantly floods through my synapses? Yes, but more so it lingers. After a few days of letting it run in the background, I found my writing coming out more focused, while also spending more time navigating this untethered space.

And I feel slightly less like a person on fire. 10/10, no notes.

But genuinely, this will stay on my phone for the foreseeable future. Whereas some will see another meditation app or sound machine, I find this to be much warmer and engaging. Not in a requirement of focus, but engaging me in where I am and on my terms. It is a welcome guest in my world.

The Geography is available now on iOS, Android, Mac, PC, and Linux. Check out a short demonstration of the experience here:

Categories: Games