Ritual of the Moon

Play on Steamitch.io, or iOS.

Official Website and Ice Water Games website

Ritual of the Moon is a daily meditational activity that takes place over 28 real time day. Each day the player experiences a memory game, draws symbols, receives a mantra, and makes a decision about the future of the earth. The game tracks the decisions the player makes, becoming a sort of mood tracker. The narrative follows a witch who had been exiled to the moon during a neo-Salem witch trial and discovers she has the power to destroy or protect the earth. Each day a little bit of the witch’s narrative is unfolded, discovering more about her life and her lover, Malinda, and the Earth’s Council that has exiled the witch to the moon to live out the rest of her life looking at the earth – and the woman she loves – that she can never go back to. Depending on their feelings over the lunar cycle, the player will experience one of the multiple endings.

 

 

This game was to create a space for self-reflection to be embedded into their lives. It is in hopes that we can create a different relationship to games and personal technology, sparking self-reflection rather than escapism. It doesn’t tell people how to feel so much as prompt them to check in with their own emotional state at that moment. Ritual of the Moon is a unique game in aesthetic and design and offers a different approach to making and playing videogames.

 

 

The design process began in 2014 and took much longer than intended. Artists Ramachandran, Gingrich, and Stone handmade the visuals in the game then scanned and digitally manipulated them to create the unique aesthetic. All the text was hand-embroidered or wood burned. We used paint, clay, fabric, paper, dried plants, wool, foam, wire, plastic, pieces of computer hardware, crystals, and a variety of other media. The process was long, meditative, and iterative.

Read Kara Stone’s writing on the process of creating Ritual of the Moon on First Person Scholar and Game Studies.

In preparation for release, follow along with Kara’s #RitualoftheMoonReflections where she writes a short reflection everyday over 28 days, sharing prototypes, concept art, and various tidbits on the long design process. They are on Steam or Itch.io.

Reviews:

“Playing the game feels like engaging a celestial, soulful advent calendar, a reflection of mood and mindfulness.” – Polygon

“…I wonder if, at the end of the month, I will miss taking The Ritual Of The Moon and have to start it all over again.” – Rock Paper Shotgun

“It’s an incredible experience – one well worth taking a few minutes each day.” – Indie Games Plus

RotM is certainly a meditative experience as well, but it’s more than that. It’s as much a journey as it is a game, and I almost feel like it’s reductive to categorize it. This whole game is a ritual… RotM easily slipped into my personal daily ritual for the past fourteen days, and I’m looking forward to continuing that ritual for the next fourteen (and most likely beyond). I’ll miss this experience too much when it’s over to not replay it.” – Phoenix Simms

” It is all quite simple, but with how it fits into my own life, it’s comfortable. The witch’s routines are mine, we do the little things we want to do before we rest…  Ritual of the Moon demands the daily ritual, demanding that you take a stance yourself, lest it makes the decisions for you.” – PhenixxGaming

“The structure of this game, giving you very deliberate choices with indeterminate consequences that stretch out over time, is an interesting use of the niche contemporary videogames now have in many people’s lives.” – Emily M. Reed

More writing on Ritual of the Moon: 

PC Gamer

MXDWN

 

Exhibitions:

The Mystical Digital at Babycastles NYC, May 9-June 17 2016.

New Toronto Works by Pleasure Dome at The Gladstone Hotel, Toronto, November 3rd 2016

Feminist Art Conference, Toronto, January 9 to 21 2017

Queerness and Games Conference. USC, Los Angeles. April 1-2 2017

Queer Technology at Berkeley Arts Center, Berkeley, California, USA. July 21 – September 2, 2018

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