Orpheus Self-Care Entertainment
Based in Austin, TX
PSVR / Oculus / Vive / PC
SoundSelf is an ecstatic meditation experience designed for VR. It uses biofeedback and clever game design tricks to shift your state of consciousness. The experience doesn't use a traditional controller - instead it listens to your breath and voice. As you vocalize, SoundSelf generates a hypnotic world of light and music that feels like it's emerging directly from your body. Each tone will navigate you through strobing tunnels-of-light, impossible shapes, and into a meditative trance. The result is an elegant symmetry of image, sound and body that takes advantage of loopholes in the way you perceive to facilitate a new experience of yourself and your world. Each session lasts between 15 and 45 minutes.
Robin Arnott had his first "peak" experience at Burning Man in 2011, and the world has not looked the same to him since. Nobody ever forgets their first experience of what some people call "the divine." For Robin, the series of mental dominoes to fall that temporarily unwound his personhood are remembered clearly as though in slow motion. The central design of SoundSelf came to him, basically fully formed, just a few months later, as a digital adaptation of the particularities of Robin's own unwinding. When the Oculus Rift was announced in 2012, and DSP programmer / game designer Evan Balster joined the project, SoundSelf grew from a tiny passion project to an ambitious paradigm-challenging undertaking. SoundSelf has been in development since early 2012, for longer than any other VR experience on the market. A successful Kickstarter campaign in March of 2013 raised $36,766 for accelerated early development and for the construction of a Deep-Playa installation at Burning Man, 2013.
- A preliminary EEG study reveals that SoundSelf generates in its users a 300% boost in Alpha brainwaves (associated with relaxation and meditation), a 50% increase in Theta brainwaves (associated with dreaming), and a 100% increase in Low Beta brainwaves (associated with figuring something new out).
- Face-melting music with synesthetic DMT-style visualizations uniquely generated in response to your voice.
- Play alone or with a friend.
- Musical skill not required! SoundSelf works with any voice through any microphone, like the one on your webcam.
- Infinite replayability.
- Intrinsically meditative gameplay, even for players uninitiated in meditation.
- Playtesters report improved sleep, and a state of inner stillness that persists beyond the duration of play.
TEDx Talk: Designing Games for a More Mindful World YouTube
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Awards & Recognition
- ""Vertigo of Reality" exhibition" Berlin Academy of Art, November, 2014
- "Games for Change Nominee for "Most Innovative Game"" New York City, 22 April, 2014
- "A MAZE Nominee for "Most Amazing Game"" Berlin, 09 April, 2014
- "IGF "Nuovo" Finalist" San Francisco, 18 March, 2014
- "Indiecade East Selection" New York City, 15 February, 2014
- "Game City Selection" Nottingham, 19 October, 2013
- "Gamercamp Selection" Toronto, 1 November, 2013
- "Indiecade Selection" Culver City, 3 October, 2013
- "Best of E3" Flesh Eating Zipper, 17 June, 2013
- "Indiecade Showcase @ E3 2013" Los Angeles, 11 June, 2013
- ""Ahhhcade" exhibition" SFMOMA, March, 2013
- "The net effect can be pleasingly psychedelic, but because VR is so immersive, it can also be more than that: it's not a bad approximation of a state of intense samadhi, such as in Theravadan jhana meditation or complex Tibetan visualization practices."
- Dr. Jay Michaelson, Tricycle
- "While you are in SoundSelf, you dwell in a place which isn't sleep and isn't wakefulness. A level of consciousness wraps you which is both extraordinary, and utterly normal. SoundSelf might be the ground floor of an Oculus-biofeedback field to be, or simply an aid to a meditative practice already established."
- Jason Rhode, PASTE
- "The game induced a beautiful and seamless trance that made me forgot that I was in virtual reality [...] The only other way to try and describe SoundSelf is by comparing it to a synaesthetic experience, where sight, sound, and other sensations blur into one."
- DJ Pangburn, VICE
- "I saw, for just one moment, the glimmering shadow of God."
- Jared Rosen, Indie Statik
- "It's hard to describe the intensity of the experience [...] Absolutely sublime."
- Chris Person, Kotaku
- "I was blissfully lost."
- Ben Kuchera, Penny Arcade
- "Coolest thing I played at GDC."
- Patrick Klepek, Giant Bomb
- "ZERO. FACE. LEFT."
- Anonymous hippie in our guest book, Burning Man
- "SoundSelf may be the hardest VR project to describe. Maybe it's the hardest thing to describe, period."
- Caty McCarthy, Versions
Check out our successful Kickstarter campaign at kickstarter.com.
Learn more about Deep Sea here: wraughk.com.
An introduction to SoundSelf as a PDF presentation drive.google.com.
About Orpheus Self-Care Entertainment
In 1990, Terence McKenna said "The computers of the future will be drugs. The drugs of the future will be computers." With today's technology and advancements in neuroscience, the time for entheogenic software has arrived. "Orpheus Self-Care Entertainment" is a publisher of psychoactive digital experiences, packaging spiritual healing and wellness into entertainment technologies.
More information on Orpheus Self-Care Entertainment, our logo & relevant media are available here.