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A promotional photo of Meghna Jayanth. She is sitting in profile, her head turned towards the camera, with a dark orange background behind her.

Daily Helping for September 15th, 2023 – Meghna Jayanth – 80 Days

Confession time. I have never liked video games. To be clear, I have nothing against them. They look amazing. In fact, it’s always puzzled me why I don’t like video games, because given my preferences when it comes to entertainment, I really should love them. But I think I finally figured it out. I make so many decisions, all day every day as part of my job, that when it comes to my leisure time, I just want to be entertained. I don’t want to make any decisions, and I don’t want to have to work for it. Unfortunately, I recently told this theory to some friends, and they’ve been obsessed with finding me a game that I’ll love ever since. Fortunately, this has led to the discovery of designers like Meghna Jayanth.

According to her website, Meghna Jayanth is a designer who “[builds] worlds counter to capitalist-colonialist fantasies”, and already I want to know more. Narrative world building with a socially conscious lens? Sounds amazing. The game in particular that was recommended to me is 80 Days, described as a steampunk version of Around the World in 80 Days, where you travel around a “radically reimagined retro-futurist world”. Colour me intrigued. Especially after watching the game’s trailer.

Intrigued, yes. But I should note that I’m still not sold on the racing other players part, or the needed strategizing that is advertised. To me, that sounds exhausting, not fun. Which I am very well aware is not the usual response to video games. Or indeed the modern digital age in general, where engagement and interaction are valued above all else. I don’t know. Maybe my brain is just wired differently. All I know is that if any game will turn me into a gamer, it will probably be something like 80 Days. A narratively complex story where you travel the world and engage in social commentary. Sounds like something I would love. And once I figure out how to download it and actually play it, I’ll let you know what I think.

Suggestions for artists I should check out? Please contact me with your ideas. I hope you enjoyed your daily helping of art!