Meditation In Motion With Alto's Odyssey

Meditation In Motion With Alto's Odyssey

How the newest game in the Alto series makes the most of its broadened horizons.
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After a brief reflection on the newest Monument Valley installment, I was recently introduced to another mesmerizing mobile phone game: Alto's Odyssey. It's actually a follow-up to another Team Alto release, Alto's Adventure -- a collaboration between Canadian studio Snowman and lead artist/programmer Harry Nesbitt -- but my entrance to the series starts here. I'm discovering that I might have a certain taste for cerebral games; both are minimalist in character design but striking in their color palette and sense of environment (a picture says a thousand words is a pretty apt metaphor here), but that is where the similarities end.

The game opens on raspy, meditative chords, not dissimilar to the opening notes of Trevor Morris's theme for Bioware's Dragon Age: Inquisition. The association alone had my breath catching in my throat and tugging at my heartstrings. The title screen is set against a horizon awash in dawn and speckled with hot air balloons as the sun slowly rises to scorch the hills upon hills of sand. If I wait long enough even the text fades away, and I am alone in the middle of a vast desert. But, with a tap, a blur enters from the left side of the screen and Alto is there, sandboard slamming onto the slopes.

My choices are limited -- jump or not jump, flip or don't flip -- but that doesn't mean the experience has to be as well. I guide Alto through countless biomes in a never-ending cycle of day and night, of wind and rain and dusk. There are sets of three goals at a time -- such as "Discover The Canyons", "Break a pot using a lotus flower", or the easy-breezy "Backflip off of a hot air balloon" -- that string me along and give me a concrete reason to play. I collect glowing coins along the slopes, which I can trade in at the Workshop for stronger helmets, extra lives, and special items. The scarf trailing behind Alto grows longer the farther I'm able to go or the more combos I'm able to land in one run, and after a certain amount of time I can even spot brightly-colored Birds of Paradise hovering over Alto's shoulder, curious at my progress. I quickly sink into the rhythm of the game, calculating the time and distance of my jumps, distinguishing between rocks and plant life, and cringing when I overestimate the number of flips I can accomplish in one go. But the game doesn't seem to mind my many failures: it promptly tells me to dust off and try again. "Don't worry, crashes happen!"

The more goals I accomplish the more levels I ascend, which gradually allows my boarder to progress further into entirely new zones, with new platforms and abilities and characters to spice it up a little. When I find myself getting too incensed (usually because I can't shake a pesky lemur off my tail) I can return to the title screen and swipe to the left, activating what I'm calling Zen Mode and leaving me with only the horizon and a simplistic, rotating drawing of the sun. I focus on the sun and the swaying cacti as my breathing levels off, and I'm ready to try again or go about my day.

I know Alto's Odyssey has so much more to offer me -- hours of smooth gliding, new areas, contemplative tunes, and more characters to test out on the slopes -- but the game makes it clear that I must work for such simple pleasures. I have to fail many times before I can accomplish menial goals, each one taking me further down the slopes than the last. It knows exactly what kind of game it is, and excels in all quadrants: it has gorgeous graphics, runs smoothly, doesn't overload me with objectives or abilities, and is overall one of the most meditative games I've played just to pass the time. Perhaps the best way to wake up is with Alto in your cup!

Alto's Odyssey is now available for download on iOS devices in the App Store.

Cover Image Credit: Team Alto

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100 Instagram Captions You'll Want To Use Right Now

Quotes, lyrics, sayings, and other ideas for Instagram captions!
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When it comes to Instagram we are often thinking about what to use as a caption for our photos that we take that we really want to post on Instagram. Sometimes we post the photo without a caption and sometimes we just use an emoji because we're stumped on finding a good caption to use for the photo. So we go the short route and just put an emoji as a caption for our photo. Well whether it is a selfie, a friend pic, group pic, or just need a caption for the photo, here are 100 captions to use for a photo. Some are lyrics, some are quotes, and some are just a quick caption to use on your photo. Also here are some accounts that are worth following:

-@brandonwoelfel

-@tess_and_sarah

-@brandymelvilleusa

-@goldenretrievers_

-@cats_of_instagram

-@zodiac.signs

-@thegrilledpineapple

-@jazzjennings_

-@chipper_thegolddog

-@llauratheleo

-@heyshalice

-@sailorhaley

-@sandcloudteam

-@photosabss

-@sharkbaitblond

Here are Quotes To Use As A Caption/ Lyrics To Use As A Caption/ Quick Little Sayings To Use As A Caption: for your Instagram photo that you wish to post!

1. Life goes on, with or without you.

2. Don't Worry Be Happy! Bob Marley

3. Be Happy.

4. Be Confident.

5. Be Positive.

6. Don't be a liar, everyone hates a liar.

7. Chillin' with my peeps.

8. Go big or go home.

9. What's the deal?

10. The most important thing is to enjoy your life – to be happy – it's all that matters.

11. Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.

12. Life is a gift.

13. You couldn't handle me even if I came with instructions.

14. Forgive, yes. Forget, never.

15.There's a hole in my heart where you used to be.

16. I don't need any part-time people in my life.

17. Get the gist.

18. Boy, it's the 21st Century, get with the program.

19. Hey, I just met you, this is crazy!

20. I woke up like this.

21. Keep smiling because life is a beautiful thing and there's so much to smile about.

22. Beauty is power, a smile is its sword.

23. Last day of class!

24. I donut care!

25. Got my donut and coffee today.

26. Happy as a clam

27. Beach days are the best!

28. A friend will always make you smile, especially when you don't want to…

29. Always classy, never trashy, and a little bit sassy.

30. If only we could turn back time...

31. With you, I forget all my problems. With you, time stands still.

32. Life's a climb, but the view is great.

33. "Ohana, means family, family means no one gets left behind or forgotten." — "Lilo & Stitch"

34. We come to love by not finding the perfect person, but by learning to see the imperfect person perfectly.

35. If I ever write a story about my life, don't be surprised if your name appears a billion times.

36. She's got that red lip, classic thing going on.

37. I don't know what's tighter, our jeans or our friendship!

38. Best friends make good times better and hard times easier!

39. Not sure what I did to deserve you as my best friend :)

40. I don't need your approval to be me.

41. So call me? Maybe?

42. "I am who.I am, I am what I am, I do what I do and I ain't never gonna do it any different. I don't care who likes it and who don't." — Buck Owens

43. Take me as I am, or watch me as I go.

44. "Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars." — Ed Sheeran

45. Cause you're a sky full of stars — Coldplay

46 . I keep dancing on my own — Calum Scott

47. Can't keep my hands to myself — Selena Gomez

48. I just want to look good for you — Selena Gomez

49. Kill em with kindness — Selena Gomez

50. I am not perfect. I make mistakes. But when I say sorry… I mean it!

51. Me? Weird? Please! I am limited edition!

52. Turn that frown upside down.

53. Smile, it's the best thing a girl can wear!

54, Stay true.

55. Laughing is the best medicine you can ever get!

56. "You're the king, baby I'm your queen." — Taylor Swift

57. Best Friends Forever!

58.Throwing it back to the good ole days!

59. Ugg Life.

60. I know you like, first-name-basis.

61. *Sends selfie to NASA cuz I'm a star*

62. Basic white girl.

63. Frisky Friday!

64. My thoughts are stars that I cannot fathom into constellations. — "The Fault In Our Stars"

65. "Maybe our okays will be our infinities." — The Fault In Our Stars

66. So hold onto me because I'm a little unsteady — Unsteady

67. This has got to be the best day of my life.

68. She's the beauty and he's the beast.

69. "All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them." — Walt Disney

70. "If you can dream it, you can do it." — Walt Disney

71. "Hakuna Matata, it means no worries for the rest of your days." — "The Lion King"

72. "The past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it, or learn from it." — "The Lion King."

73. "Remember you're the one who can fill the world with sunshine." — "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs"

74 ."The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all." — "Mulan"

75. "You don't have time to be timid. You must be bold and daring." — "Beauty and the Beast"

76. "All it takes is faith and trust." — "Peter Pan"

77. "A little consideration, a little thought for others, makes all the difference." — "Winnie the Pooh"

78. "If you focus on what you left behind, you will never be able to see what lies ahead." — "Ratatouille"

79. "Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself." — George Bernard Shaw

80. "A true hero isn't measured by the size of his strength, but by the strength of his heart." — "Hercules"

81. "Life's not a spectator sport. If watchin' is all you're gonna do, then you're gonna watch your life go by without ya." — "The Hunchback of Notre Dame"

82. "The things that make me different are the things that make me ME." — "Winnie the Pooh"

83. "Giving up is for rookies." — "Hercules"

84. "Happiness is the richest thing we will ever own." — Donald Duck

85. "Change is good." — "The Lion King"

86. "In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." — Abraham Lincoln

87. "An unexamined life is not worth living." — Socrates

88. "Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky." — Rabindranath Tagore

89. "The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt with the heart." — Helen Keller

90. "The sky broke like an egg into full sunset and the water caught fire." — Pamela Hansford Johnson

91. "Put your heart, mind, and soul into even your smallest acts. This is the secret of success." — Swami Sivananda

92. "Today I choose life. Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, negativity, pain... To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices. Today I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity, but embrace it." — Kevyn Aucoin

93. "Nothing is impossible, the word itself says 'I'm possible'," — Audrey Hepburn

94. "Keep your face always toward the sunshine and shadows will fall behind you." — Walt Whitman

95. "My power's turned on, starting right now I'll be strong." — Rachel Platten

96. "Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared." — Buddha

97. "Let your life lightly dance on the edges of Time like dew on the tip of a leaf." — Rabindranath Tagore

98. "I hated every minute of training, but I said, 'Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.'" — Muhammad Ali

99. "Why don't you be you, and I'll be me." — James Bay

100. Life is like a camera, we focus on the positives and develop from the negatives.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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New Technology Has Forever Changed The Way We Live Life And It's Mostly A Good Thing

The convenience and knowledge that our technology provides literally at our fingertips is unparalleled in history.

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It's no question that social media has impacted our culture tremendously and shifted the way we live our lives. We are living through one of the greatest technological revolutions in history and communication hasn't been changed this drastically since the invention of the printing press. We spend every day connected through texting, email, Facetime, social media and the internet. Technology provides enough convenience that we could hypothetically never leave our homes. Entertainment is available for streaming, food can be ordered to our doors using simple apps and everything from clothing to furniture can be shipped to our houses in under a week.

Is this constant tuning in and continuous connection good, is it bad, or is it simply a massive shift we need to adjust to? I'm not sure that there is one answer.

In our culture, smartphones are almost a necessity in order to optimize success. Jobs require constant emailing, classes are shifting to online, social media is one of the most major marketing tools you can employ and people expect you to always respond ASAP.

Before smartphones relationships were conducted in person, through letters, and over an occasional phone call. Now, with the invention of the text message the expectations of relationships have changed. People expect their significant other to always be there, ready to text back at almost any hour of the day. Friends who don't reply to text messages are labeled as self-absorbed and rude. Not receiving something as simple as a like on Instagram has major connotations for the way someone feels about you.

A lot of this connectedness is good. Positive social interaction leads to a happier life and feeling closely connected to your friends, family, and partners can be a really good thing. You don't really have to ever be alone and if you need something, someone is always there. The internet is an incredible database that anyone with wifi or cellular connection can access.

Educational materials can be found online and the information is not only kept in books that may be inaccessible to some people due to the sophistication of language or lack of copies. YouTube has millions of videos breaking down the most complex topics in the simplest ways. Technology allows us to listen to music all the time and we have the ability to watch more movies than ever before. Our apps keep us updated on news, as long as we have the sense to fact check and avoid believing click bate.

As with everything, technology also has its pitfalls. The ability to be anonymous online makes users of technology bold, enabling them to say things they would never say to someone face. Constantly communicating over a screen can hinder our abilities to communicate in person. Being a bully online is easy, and suicide rates have gone up thirty-three percent since 1999, a time block that aligns suspiciously with the rise of new technology. People's perfectly curated social media pages inaccurately represent the complexity of their lives and seem picture perfect to struggling viewers.

Negative thoughts about one's own life can be worsened when constantly exposed to visuals that seem to suggest everyone else has it all figured out. The internet can feel deceptively safe, like a void where you can say anything with no consequences and still feel like people are listening to you. People my age tend to use their fake Instagrams, "finstas" as diaries. They spill their feelings to their followers and post photos and videos that could have negative effects on their future.

It's also questionable whether it's good to always be connected, to never have time alone, unplugged, away from the cyber world. Some people even want to call our obsession with smartphones an addiction. While I see and acknowledge the negative effects of our revolutionary technological world, I also can't dismiss the benefits. The convenience and knowledge that our technology provides literally at our fingertips is unparalleled in history.

Times are changing, but change isn't always bad.

I think that we haven't had the chance to adjust to how fast we've created so many new things. In order to minimize the negatives aspects of technology, our society is going to have to undergo a massive change that reframes the way we view life, what we teach students, how we act from day to day and how we interact with one another. Only changing our viewpoints on the world will allow us to adjust and usher in this new era of technological progress.

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