The initially time I played Eastern Mind: The Lost Souls of Tong Nou, I mistook it for a fever before dream for almost a decade afterward.

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Eastern Mind is, unquestionably, among the the majority of surreal games of its time. It’s likewise deeply spiritual. It ruminates on the purpose of the spirit while jumping erratically from moment to minute. It defies an easy explacountry, however the longer you spend time with it, the even more you can come to understand also its rhythm, its function to aid you understand your soul.

Eastern Mind originates from Osamu Sato, a Japanese digital artist who attracted the attention of Sony Imagesoft after some important accase for his music and video work-related. Sato is maybe a lot of recognizable for his work-related on LSD: Dream Emulator, a game around exploring starray dreamlike landscapes; Eastern Mind was his first online dreamland, and it’s even more prefer folklore, a story that helps up define ourselves.


The mystery of Rin’s heart awaits at the Central Mountain

Sato seems to have actually had great imaginative regulate over Eastern Mind, and its themes are as necessary personal. You play as Rin, a guy whose soul is taken by the soul-swpermitting island of Tong-Nou. Seeking to restore himself, Rin borrows a spirit for 49 days, and also he takes a trip much to the east to conserve his spirit. As you pass over the horizon, the island also Tong-Nou is reveacaused be Osamu Sato’s massive, green head floating in area. To enter the island, you have to climb right into his head. This is a game about trying out yourself, literally.

Rin can achieve little bit at initially, let alone enter the hill wbelow the monarchs of Tong-Nou have trapped his spirit. To development, he must die and descfinish right into the Tree of Life. From within the roots, he deserve to “transmigrate” right into nine other resides from the 4 worlds of Tong-Nou: time, life, dreaming, and desire. Each life represents a different component of Rin that he must endure and also learn from. Thturbulent these stays, Rin should collect the 5 elepsychological magatamas that contain his soul and, basically, redevelop himself. Death is regular and also not just not penalized but encouraged; in keeping via the Eastern spiroutine design template, death represents a new beginning and also allows you rechoose whichever before life you want.

As befits a self-guided journey of the soul, Eastern Mind is a non-linear experience. Each of Rin’s nine lives carries a different objective which, while ostensibly based in a particular component of Tong-Nou, takes you on a whirlwind tour of the island also. As lengthy as you complete all nine at some suggest, you have the right to follow whatever meandering course with the hub world that you want. At leastern half of the game’s content is optional, so you have the right to pick and select what you execute to end up each life. To gain a gudebook to the island, for example, you can either uncover it in a chest or trade for it via an amulet you carried on your journey. Or you have the right to use that amulet to conserve yourself from death.


You can trade items at the Phantom Marketlocation, noted by these eyeround mountains

The freedevelop framework is refreshing and also thematically appropriate; this is your journey of spiritual restoration, and plot occasions unfold whenever you get roughly to them. One of Rin’s lives needs an item referred to as the Eyebevery one of Dreaming, and you can obtain it from the King of Life whenever you take place run throughout him in the woodland.

Of course, the next step is to trick the King of Life by throwing an ant at him and making him sneeze. Then you can climb into his mouth, wbelow a second smaller sized version of the King of Life waits inside to test your expertise around the island also. For eincredibly imaginative thrive Eastern Mind makes, there’s always a few added parts of weirdness too.

Consider the golden Helix Palace hidden in the Land of Desire, a scene emblematic of the game’s surreal expression of spirituality. The royal residence indulges in sins and vices to fatal extremes, such as force-feeding you gourmet food until you explode. One of these sins is, oddly sufficient, eternal life. In the Room of Immortality, a creature that resembles the moon will certainly either kill you or bless you with the unlimited “life of gold.” If you’re granted the power to live forever, you’re treated to an inesqualified, rapid-fire slidedisplay of eexceptionally scene in the game, repeating endlessly. In Eastern Mind, death gives your life interpretation. The just way to shed is to live forever.


Meet vibrant characters prefer Ichi-a-mong, then never see them again

This isn’t randomness for its own sake. This game is a Zen parable around balance in life, finding your purpose, and also learning yourself. Rin requirements to recover his soul, of course, however the adendeavor likewise helps him remember to use his time alive meaningfully.

Osamu Sato complied with that path however took a detour deep via his mind, literally and also figuratively. The otherwise coherent philosophical underpinnings just draw attention to exactly how starray it have the right to be. Eastern Mind commonly feels favor it works on a various wavelength, making in-jokes and also recommendations we’re not a part of. A few details I couldn’t discover almost everywhere else to mention:

Three of the nine stays are cutscenes. One is immediately crumelted under the weight of its greed and desire, while another is frozen in ice and also explodes as a reflex reactivity to intruders. While playing as any type of other life, you have the right to find yourself still frozen right here and ready to explode, suggesting that time can flow in different ways on this island also.The game includes an “Illustrated Book” which gives clues to the individualities of each of the various creatures you uncover in Tong-Nou. Some are not so useful; one creature is referred to as a “youthful nihilist,” while one more apparently enjoys New Year’s Day.Clicking on random spots on Tong-Nou will certainly cause, among other things, a random drill to burst out of its skull and also leak green blood. Also, it vomits eyeballs, and among its cheeks contains dozens of screaming eyeballs. (Osamu Sato reportedly had actually a point for eyeballs.)A three-minded creature appears, has an existential crisis, and dies within moments of meeting you.

These dragons can’t hurt you, yet they leave behind a flower if you blow them up

The game’s chaotic interior logic adheres to its very own rhythm via distressing consistency. So what if there’s a mysterious, bronze-colored creature that says “Fun!” continuously and runs throughout the screen? Eastern Mind doesn’t should define him; it’s all tbelow in the guidebook. Can’t figure out the puzzle via the gigantic computer in the “Fire-Tower of Time Tong-tah”? It’ll make feeling ultimately. You’re simply alengthy for an ambling tour with the island also of Tong-Nou and, by expansion, Osamu Sato’s creativity. He threw eincredibly ounce of his creative thinking right into this one, from the violently energetic music to the bedazzled-Jello character architecture.

As the finishing describes, Tong-Nou is not an island also that devours souls but rather purifies them. A visit to Tong-Nou is a time for relaxation, for finding out, and also for understanding. Eastern Mind presents just such a voyage: its interlocking, allegorical people uses an eye-opening (if disorienting) change of pace – and a unique perspective on life and also what defines success.

A sequel!

Osamu Sato also designed a sequel to Eastern Mind titled 中天 (“Chuten”). The game was only released in Japan, and also just for Macintosh. It is an insane rarity and also has only been spotted for sale on the Web when or twice ever. Based on a brief email correspondence I had actually through Osamu Sato, also he doesn’t understand of any type of obtainable copies (the rough translation is his):

It has currently end up being the discontinuance of making.i think it is challenge with acquisition in Japan.

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May be you will inspect Japanese auction sites diligently!

To my knowledge, there is no record of anyone having actually ever before played this game. The just pictures of Chuten are accessible from the official webwebsite for OutSide Directors, Osamu Sato’s agency that arisen both games. For convenience, they’re assembled right here.

UPDATE: It’s been found! And officially, it’s titled Chu-Teng. And it was released for Windows too!

Eastern Mind was planned to be released on the PlayStation. This was conjecture based on a Sony promotional reel. This was inexact speculation, and also Osamu Sato shown that just Mac and also Windows versions were developed. Thanks to ace for the heads-up.>