The an initial time i played Eastern Mind: The shed Souls that Tong Nou, i mistook it because that a heat dream for almost a decade afterward.

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Eastern Mind is, unquestionably, among the many surreal gamings of that time. It’s also deeply spiritual. The ruminates top top the purpose of the soul while jumping erratically from moment to moment. The defies basic explanation, but the longer you spend time v it, the an ext you can pertained to understand that rhythm, its function to assist you recognize your soul.

Eastern Mind comes from Osamu Sato, a Japanese digital artist who attracted the attention of Sony Imagesoft after ~ some an important acclaim because that his music and video clip work. Sato is perhaps most recognizable because that his job-related on LSD: Dream Emulator, a game around exploring strange dreamlike landscapes; Eastern Mind to be his very first virtual dreamland, and it’s an ext like folklore, a story the helps up describe ourselves.


The an enig of Rin’s soul awaits at the central Mountain

Sato seems to have had great an imaginative control end Eastern Mind, and also its themes are appropriately personal. You play together Rin, a male whose soul is bring away by the soul-swallowing island the Tong-Nou. Seeking to restore himself, Rin lend a soul for 49 days, and he takes a trip much to the eastern to conserve his soul. As you happen over the horizon, the island Tong-Nou is revealed to it is in Osamu Sato’s massive, environment-friendly head floating in space. To enter the island, you need to climb right into his head. This is a game around exploring yourself, literally.

Rin deserve to accomplish tiny at first, allow alone go into the mountain where the monarchs of Tong-Nou have trapped his soul. To advance, he must die and descend right into the Tree of Life. From within the roots, he have the right to “transmigrate” into nine other lives indigenous the four people of Tong-Nou: time, life, dreaming, and also desire. Each life represents a different component of Rin that he must experience and also learn from. V these lives, Rin have to collect the five elemental magatamas the contain his spirit and, essentially, rebuild himself. Fatality is frequent and also not only not penalized however encouraged; in maintaining with the eastern spiritual theme, fatality represents a new beginning and lets girlfriend reselect whichever life you want.

As fine a self-guided trip of the soul, Eastern mental is a non-linear experience. Each of Rin’s nine stays carries a different objective which, when ostensibly based in a specific component of Tong-Nou, takes you on a whirlwind tourism of the island. As lengthy as you complete all nine at some point, you can follow whatever meandering path through the hub people that you want. At the very least half of the game’s content is optional, therefore you deserve to pick and also choose what you execute to complete each life. To get a gudebook to the island, for example, you can either find it in a chest or trade for it with an amulet you lugged on your journey. Or you deserve to use the amulet to save yourself from death.


You have the right to trade items in ~ the Phantom Marketplace, significant by this eyeball mountains

The freeform framework is refreshing and also thematically appropriate; this is your journey of spirituality restoration, and plot events unfold whenever friend get about to them. One of Rin’s lives requires an item called the Eyeball that Dreaming, and you can gain it indigenous the King that Life whenever you happen run across him in the forest.

Of course, the next step is come trick the King that Life by throwing an ant in ~ him and making him sneeze. Climate you deserve to climb right into his mouth, whereby a second smaller variation of the King of Life waits inside to test her knowledge about the island. Because that every an imaginative flourish Eastern Mind makes, there’s constantly a few extra parts of weirdness too.

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


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

This isn’t randomness because that its own sake. This video game is a Zen parable around balance in life, finding your purpose, and also discovering yourself. Rin demands to recuperate his soul, the course, but the adventure likewise helps that remember to usage his time alive meaningfully.

Osamu Sato complied with that path but took a detour deep through his mind, literally and figuratively. The otherwise coherent philosophical underpinnings only draw attention to how strange it deserve to be. Eastern Mind frequently feels like it works on a different wavelength, making in-jokes and references we’re not a part of. A few details ns couldn’t discover anywhere rather to mention:

Three that the nine lives are cutscenes. One is instantly crushed under the load of that greed and also desire, while another is frozen in ice and also explodes together a reflex reaction come intruders. While playing as any other life, girlfriend can find yourself still frozen here and also ready to explode, saying that time could flow differently on this island.The game has an “Illustrated Book” which provides hints to the personalities of each of the miscellaneous creatures you uncover in Tong-Nou. Some space not so useful; one creature is referred to as a “youthful nihilist,” while an additional apparently enjoys new Year’s Day.Clicking on random spots top top Tong-Nou will cause, amongst other things, a random drill come burst out of that is skull and also leak environment-friendly blood. Also, that vomits eyeballs, and also one of its cheeks includes dozens of screaming eyeballs. (Osamu Sato apparently had actually a thing for eyeballs.)A three-minded creature appears, has actually an gift crisis, and also dies within moments of conference you.

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

The game’s chaotic internal logic complies with its own rhythm v distressing consistency. For this reason what if there’s a mysterious, bronze-colored biology that claims “Fun!” repeatedly and runs across the screen? Eastern Mind doesn’t require to describe him; it’s all there in the guidebook. Can’t figure out the puzzle v the giant computer in the “Fire-Tower of Time Tong-tah”? It’ll make feeling eventually. You’re just along for an ambling tour through the island that Tong-Nou and, by extension, Osamu Sato’s imagination. He threw every oz of his creativity into this one, from the violent energetic music to the bedazzled-Jello character design.

As the ending explains, Tong-Nou is no an island the devours souls however rather purifies them. A visit to Tong-Nou is a time because that relaxation, because that learning, and also for understanding. Eastern Mind presents simply such a voyage: its interlocking, allegorical human being offers one eye-opening (if disorienting) readjust of pace – and also a distinctive perspective ~ above life and also what defines success.

A sequel!

Osamu Sato likewise designed a sequel to Eastern Mind titled 中天 (“Chuten”). The video game was only released in Japan, and also only for Macintosh. That is one insane rarity and also has only been spotted because that sale ~ above the net once or double ever. Based on a quick email post I had actually with Osamu Sato, even he doesn’t recognize of any obtainable copies (the rough translation is his):

It has already become the discontinuance that making.i think it is an obstacle with salvation in Japan.

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May be you will inspect Japanese auction website diligently!

To mine knowledge, over there is no document of anyone having ever before played this game. The only images of Chuten are easily accessible from the official website for external Directors, Osamu Sato’s agency that developed both games. For convenience, they’re assembled here.

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

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