By John Walker on May 6th, 2009 at 9:59 pm.
You may remember I Wish I Were The Moon, a game delightful both for its romantic simplicity, and the correct grammar of its title. Creator Daniel Benmergui has returned with a new, and quite astoundingly beautiful game, Today I Die.
Perhaps I’m feeling particularly flaky today, but the first time I was able to make a change to the game’s short paragraph, a warmth buzzed through me. The two-to-three minute long game takes place in a tall, RPS-screenshot-size-breaking, column, with a block of text suspended at the top. You play a girl, floating in water, surrounded by gently rising jellyfish and two angry piranha-like creatures. Everything else that happens is yours to discover.
It’s abundantly detailed, despite the simple pixel design and brevity. Playing with everything is rewarded, and it’s accompanied by some really lovely music by Hernan Rozenwasser. There are, as is the way of Ludomancy games, at least two endings to find, each telling a different story. And that, for me, is the key to this digital amuse-bouche: it sings of narrative, of how our entire life story can be altered through deliberate, conscious narrative choices. By the end I was properly moved.
If you appreciate Benmergui’s work you can make donations at his site. There’s a few financial incentives for the generous, with $27 buying you a credit in his next game, all the way up to $995 for a uniquely made version of I Wish I Were The Moon, with characters designed to your own whim, and a new ending of your own choosing. For those slightly more frugal, any amount donated will get you access to downloadable versions of three games, IWIWTM, Storyteller, and this latest, Today I Die. You could just donate nothing and still receive them, but that wouldn’t do, would it?
PS. Rather splendidly, there’s a lovely note on Today I Die’s page:
“This game is ad-free thanks to an unusual individual.”
Thanks to IndieGames for the spot.