Zen Bound

Zen Bound is an almost unbelievably innovative and interesting game.

Basically, you wrap a cord around a wooden object, which paints the object. Sessions feel half like a game and half like some kind of soothing knot-to-untie.

This game has vision; all the elements feel unified in a monastic, gothic way. But the game is not just cohesive aesthetically…the entire thing feels polished in a way that you rarely encounter. That alone adds some pleasurable quality to interacting with the game.

Part game, part toy, part puzzle, part relaxation fetish. I love this Zen Bound.

(Note: Jordan, this game is for you.)

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Ivana XL

I’ve been listening to Ivana XL’s EP and album (both of which seem to be called Ivana XL, but whatever). If you like creaky, quirky, semi-folksy stuff like Mazzy Star (from the 90′s), you’ll probably like this.

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Subway Shuffle (iPhone)

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I have a love/hate relationship with puzzle games. (I’d rather engage with something that allows me to play expressively.) But I love strategy games and a few puzzle games.

Subway gameplay involves moving pieces around to open a path to the goal. Each level (01-91) gets increasingly difficult.

The part I find fascinating is my approach to solving the puzzles. There’s an interesting mental shift, where I “let go” of trying to solve the puzzle overall, focus on which moves I *can* currently make, take into account what has to happen (in the final move) to solve the puzzle, and *try to solve faster*. I find that I’m far more successful when I make this series of mental shifts than when I try to approach the puzzle as a whole, or in a systemic way. Hard to articulate.

Subway also has a super clean art style and implementation that I love.

This game has made it onto my list of iPhone favorites, along with Galcon and Drop7.

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