Can I bend your ear for a moment?
Just a moment, I promise.
I know that a lot of things vie for a lot of our time nowadays.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses asks around sixty hours to play through just one of its three story campaigns. Watching all the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies would take you two straight sleepless days now. And the very structure of some games means you could theoretically spend a lifetime on them.
It took me all of eight minutes to play through Banyu Lintar Angin, and even that was at a leisurely pace with friends over my shoulder.
It felt like a breath of fresh air.
Now, I definitely don’t bemoan long games. I have a long-standing love of Pokémon and Monster Hunter, both of which will readily expand themselves to take up as much time as you’re willing to throw at them.
But because they gobble up the hours like Pac-Man, they easily trick me into burning myself out on them.
(Okay, that’s largely a matter of self-control. But we’re looking at game design trends here, not my own shortcomings as a person, so nyeh.)
But even those aim for the long haul. I have to track which self-driven “development project” I’m working on, or which of classes needs leveling up. Again, part of that a function of task-driven brain butting in on my playtime. Even so, a game of running checklists is hardly a complete mental break.
Which makes it even more important to have tiny games like Banyu Lintar Angin. It’s explicitly asking for nothing of you but your time, and not even much of that.
You get in, you see what it has to offer, and you’re out.
A full experience in less time than it takes to cook dinner.
And it is an “experience” more than a game. Not in some high-art, “this will transform your worldview” way.
But in that the whole affair is largely a lightly-animated slideshow of its characters’ day-to-day lives.
Does that make it any lesser?
It makes it more in-touch with its own emotional core.
A Soft Reset
Possibly the best thing that Banyu Lintar Angin does, though, is just be pleasant.
Skip through, leaf back through the pages, listen to some light background music. Take in the unique Indonesian flavor that the developers at Mojiken are bringing to the table.
Just slowing down to listen feels like a lovely departure from the gripping drama that most stories are trying to dazzle you with.
And that can be a deeply useful tool when applied at the right time.
When I played Banyu Lintar Angin, I was fresh off a binge-watch of an intense story. The writers had slain my favorite character, and the overarching plot was looking grim. It was the kind of viewing experience that just drains you and leaves you knocked out on the couch.
And I absolutely could have sat there and wallowed in that distress. Really let the story get to me. That sort of emotional response demands to be felt, after all.
Instead, I went for a pick-me-up.
Banyu Lintar Angin had been sitting on my hard drive for months, untouched. I almost scrolled past it for the hundredth time.
But I didn’t, and it ended up being exactly what I needed. A quick peek at somebody else’s photo album, framed as a letter from afar.
More or less, a soft-reset for my shaken mental state.
And that’s something that I know a lot of us so desperately seek out nowadays, be it through meditation or a walk in the park or just a quick shower.
So go throw Banyu Lintar Angin in your digital library. Keep it in your back pocket.
Who knows when you’ll next need a good palette cleanser.