The an initial time i played Eastern Mind: The shed Souls of Tong Nou, i mistook it for a fever dream for virtually a te afterward.

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Eastern Mind is, unquestionably, among the many surreal games of that is time. It’s also deeply spiritual. The ruminates on the function of the heart while jumping erratically from minute to moment. It defies basic explanation, but the longer you spend time with it, the much more you can involved understand the rhythm, its function to help you recognize your soul.

Eastern Mind originates from Osamu Sato, a Japanese digital artist that attracted the attention of Sony Imagesoft after ~ some crucial acclaim because that his music and video clip work. Sato is perhaps many recognizable for his occupational on LSD: Dream Emulator, a game around exploring weird dreamlike landscapes; Eastern Mind was his very first virtual dreamland, and it’s an ext like folklore, a story that helps up define ourselves.


The secret of Rin’s spirit awaits at the central Mountain

Sato seems to have had actually great an imaginative control end Eastern Mind, and also its themes are as necessary personal. You play together Rin, a guy whose soul is taken by the soul-swallowing island that Tong-Nou. Search to regain himself, Rin lend a soul for 49 days, and he bring away a trip much to the eastern to conserve his soul. As you pass over the horizon, the island Tong-Nou is revealed to be Osamu Sato’s massive, green head floating in space. To enter the island, you have to climb right into his head. This is a game around exploring yourself, literally.

Rin can accomplish tiny at first, allow alone get in the hill where the majesties of Tong-Nou have trapped his soul. To advance, he must die and also descend right into the Tree the Life. From within the roots, he deserve to “transmigrate” into nine other lives from the four worlds of Tong-Nou: time, life, dreaming, and also desire. Each life represents a different component of Rin the he have to experience and also learn from. Through these lives, Rin need to collect the 5 elemental magatamas the contain his soul and, essentially, rebuild himself. Fatality is frequent and not only not penalized yet encouraged; in maintaining with the east spiritual theme, fatality represents a new beginning and also lets friend reselect whichever life girlfriend want.

As fine a self-guided trip of the soul, Eastern mental is a non-linear experience. Each of Rin’s nine lives carries a different objective which, when ostensibly based in a specific part of Tong-Nou, takes friend on a whirlwind tourism of the island. As long as you finish all ripe at some point, you can follow every little thing meandering course through the hub human being that girlfriend want. At least half of the game’s contents is optional, for this reason you can pick and also choose what you execute to finish each life. To get a gudebook to the island, for example, you have the right to either find it in a chest or profession for it through an amulet you carried on her journey. Or you have the right to use that amulet to conserve yourself native death.


You deserve to trade items in ~ the Phantom Marketplace, significant by these eyeball mountains

The freeform structure is refreshing and also thematically appropriate; this is your journey of spirituality restoration, and also plot occasions unfold whenever friend get about to them. Among Rin’s lives requires an object called the Eyeball that Dreaming, and you can gain it from the King that Life anytime you occur run throughout him in the forest.

Of course, the following step is to trick the King the Life by throw an ant in ~ him and making that sneeze. Then you can climb into his mouth, whereby a second smaller version of the King the Life waits inside to test her knowledge around the island. For every an imaginative flourish Eastern Mind makes, there’s always a couple of extra components of weirdness too.

Consider the gold Helix Palace concealed in the soil of Desire, a step emblematic that the game’s surreal expression that spirituality. The royal residence indulges in sins and vices to fatal extremes, such together force-feeding friend gourmet food until you explode. Among these sins is, oddly enough, eternal life. In the Room of Immortality, a creature that each other the moon will either kill you or bless you through the limitless “life that gold.” If you’re granted the strength to live forever, you’re treated to an inescapable, rapid-fire slideshow that every scene in the game, repeating endlessly. In Eastern Mind, death gives her life meaning. The only way to lose is come live forever.


Meet colorful personalities like Ichi-a-mong, then never see castle again

This isn’t randomness because that its own sake. This game is a Zen parable about balance in life, finding her purpose, and discovering yourself. Rin requirements to recoup his soul, the course, however the adventure also helps him remember to usage his time lively meaningfully.

Osamu Sato followed that path but took a detour deep through his mind, literally and also figuratively. The otherwise systematic philosophical underpinnings only attract attention to exactly how strange it deserve to be. Eastern Mind frequently feels choose it functions on a various wavelength, make in-jokes and references we’re not a part of. A couple of details i couldn’t find anywhere rather to mention:

Three the the nine lives are cutscenes. One is instantly crushed under the load of its greed and also desire, while another is frozen in ice and explodes together a reflex reaction to intruders. While play as any type of other life, you can uncover yourself still frozen here and ready to explode, saying that time can flow in different ways on this island.The game contains an “Illustrated Book” i m sorry provides hints to the personalities of every of the various creatures you find in Tong-Nou. Some are not for this reason useful; one creature is called a “youthful nihilist,” while another apparently enjoys new Year’s Day.Clicking on random spots top top Tong-Nou will certainly cause, among other things, a random drill to burst the end of the skull and leak green blood. Also, that vomits eyeballs, and one that its cheeks includes dozens that screaming eyeballs. (Osamu Sato apparently had actually a point for eyeballs.)A three-minded biology appears, has actually an gift crisis, and also dies within moments of meeting you.

These dragon can’t pains you, however they leave behind a flower if you punch them up

The game’s chaotic inner logic adheres to its very own rhythm v distressing consistency. So what if there’s a mysterious, bronze-colored creature that states “Fun!” repeatedly and runs across the screen? Eastern Mind doesn’t need to explain him; it’s every there in the guidebook. Can’t number out the puzzle with the giant computer in the “Fire-Tower the Time Tong-tah”? It’ll make sense eventually. You’re simply along for an ambling tour through the island of Tong-Nou and, through extension, Osamu Sato’s imagination. He threw every ounce of his creativity into this one, indigenous the violent energetic music to the bedazzled-Jello character design.

As the finishing explains, Tong-Nou is not an island that devours souls however rather purifies them. A visit come Tong-Nou is a time for relaxation, because that learning, and for understanding. Eastern Mind presents just such a voyage: its interlocking, allegorical civilization offers one eye-opening (if disorienting) change of pace – and a distinct perspective ~ above life and also what defines success.

A sequel!

Osamu Sato likewise designed a sequel come Eastern Mind titled 中天 (“Chuten”). The game was only released in Japan, and only because that Macintosh. The is an insane rarity and also has just been spotted because that sale top top the web once or twice ever. Based upon a brief email post I had with Osamu Sato, also he doesn’t know of any easily accessible copies (the turbulent translation is his):

It has already become the discontinuance that making.i think the is difficulty with acquisition in Japan.

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May it is in you will examine Japanese auction sites diligently!

To mine knowledge, there is no document of everyone having ever before played this game. The only pictures of Chuten are obtainable from the official website for exterior Directors, Osamu Sato’s agency that arisen both games. For convenience, they’re assembled here.

UPDATE: It’s to be found! and also officially, it’s titled Chu-Teng. And also it to be released for home windows too!

Eastern Mind was planned come be exit on the PlayStation. This was conjecture based upon a Sony promotional reel. This was inaccurate speculation, and Osamu Sato confirmed that only Mac and Windows versions to be developed. Thanks to ace because that the heads-up.>