Unlocking the potential for meditation in a gaming era

In the technological age we currently live, at the end of long day it has become accustom for adults and children alike to immerse themselves in a virtual reality of violence, mindlessness and aggression; it may appear obscure to learn of Microsoft’s imminent release of a new game for the Xbox 360 that guides gamers through a series of exercises intended at aid spiritual, psychological, and emotional development of human beings.

Deepak Chopra, an Indian doctor who specialises in alternative medicine, together with the director of product development Peter Armstrong from video game developer THQ they have created ‘Leela’. The new game that uses the camera on the Kinect system of the Xbox 360 allows the user to be controller-free while the state of the art processers detect body movement in order to guide them through meditation exercises.

Based on the seven different Chakra points of the body, the designers have created interactive exercises in which users move their bodies to control the graphics.

Chakra is a theory originating from Hindu texts, the seven points are said to be centres of biophysical energy located at along the spinal cord. The game has different mini-games and exercises designed to use each different Chakra point for example the Root Chakra exercise, requires players to move their hips in order to seed virtual planets. The Heart Chakra game gets users to catch fireballs that free gems hidden in falling rocks.

There are a number of mini-games which increase in complexity and use the seven Chakra points, but the developers wanted to ensure no specific focus was put on finishing the game or exercise or a final score.

There are guided meditation modes that use the Kinect’s depth sensor to measure seated players’ breathing patterns, while listening to the voice of yoga instructor Elena Brower. This is the very first use of depth sensor technology in a Kinect game.

‘Leela’ is set to be released in the UK in November, all that is left to be discover about this game is whether traditional gamers will be converted and long term devotees of Deepak Chopra will be impressed.