I Want To Live Forever: ImmorTall

By John Walker on March 12th, 2010 at 11:00 am.

You're the tall one.

Thanks to both Delirium and Andrew for tipping us off to ImmorTall by Evan Miller, a short, sad Flash game in which you (barely) control an invincible alien blob amidst one of humanity’s less impressive moments. There’s really not much more that can be said about this game in particular, since it’s barely two minutes long, and about experiencing it for yourself. Other than the really smart use of music. Discordant notes create all the sounds necessary in a simple and affecting way. You can play it here. It’s rather good.

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49 Comments »

  1. Kanamit says:

    That was a strange game.

  2. Ian says:

    Hmm. Strangely affecting. I suspect without the music it wouldn’t work quite as well as it does.

  3. Ragnar says:

    When reading the title I thought that at last there were some NOLF-news. Now I’m hugely disappointed.

  4. Pippin says:

    Is it called ImmorTall because the thing is tall? Seriously?

  5. Brumisator says:

    I don’t know, I have my speakers off, and it was still quite neat.

  6. Meat Circus says:

    Man’s inhumanity to giant aliens.

  7. battles_atlas says:

    Charming.

    I look forward to the dual-minigun wielding sequel

  8. Taverius says:

    Ah yes, ImmorTall II: ReVengeance.

    Well, pretty good, anyway.

    If I had one question for the designer, I’d ask why only the girls cried over [my] dead body. Out of all (such as it is) of it, its the detail that struck me the most … *shrug*

  9. Coren says:

    Alright, I’ll play. Let’s get all deep and stuff.

    Best play the game first, of course, since there be spoilers incoming (if you can call them that in a 2 minute game)

    When I finished the game the first time around, I had saved the puny humans from a gruesome death. I died and the ending message said “Live forever immortal”, and I was like, okay, sure, the game wanted me to think I was an immortal alien, turns out I wasn’t in the literal sense, but in the figurative sense, ie I’ll live on in the memories of those puny little humans. Not a very original message, but still, well done.

    Then I decided to play it again and to let the puny little humans die. They died. I carried on, trying to avoid all the bullets, but eventually that becomes impossible, and I died anyway. I patiently waited for the snow to fall and for the alternate ending message, imagine my surprise when it turned out the message was exactly the same: “Live forever immortal”.
    And how the hell am I supposed to live forever now, since I just died, all alone, on an alien planet?

    So my interpretation as to what this game might “mean”: its message is the exact opposite of the ending message. No matter what you do, the world moves on without you, and you’ll be forgotten.

    Notice how those puny humans cry for a while, then get up and happily trod along? We all die alone on an alien planet.

    • Lambchops says:

      You can also ‘live forever immortal’ by going left and leaving the puny humans behind. This somewhat upsets the girl who finds you – but she’s clearly just a big crybaby!

    • JuJuCam says:

      The first time I played to completion, everyone was killed except the youngest girl, who sat down next to my corpse as the snow consumed us both.

    • A-Scale says:

      The world moves on without you, unless, of course, everyone is dead.

  10. jarvoll says:

    Wonderful. More, longer, bigger games like this please, world.

  11. Ian says:

    “Thanks to both Delirium and Andrew for tipping us off to ImmorTall by Evan Miller”
    Also blainemono on the Talk-O-Tron, unless he was one of those people you mentioned by a different name in which case I’ll shut up.

    Anyway, played this when suggested on the forum and it r sad. :(

  12. wm says:

    Sad and pretty. Art really (as opposed to pure entertainment).

  13. Lyndon says:

    I feel like I’ve just been kicked in the balls.

    I mean that as a compliment by the way.

  14. Leonard Hatred says:

    beautiful as it was, if i’m honest that was mildly diverting rather than perception flippingly good. at 2 minutes that was just the right length to walk away wanting more and feeling vaguely disorientated by the abrupt end.

    perhaps i’m just too stupid to appreciate the finer points of vague half-arsed metaphor.

  15. Tom OBedlam says:

    hmmm… apparently it bugged half way through for me because it just kept trudging right. everyone died and i was left, dead, on my own.

  16. Jesse says:

    Maybe I’m just a big ol’ grump, but it takes a little more than this to tug at my heartstrings.

    I mean, I agree – war is bad. Yes. But I can’t shake the feeling that I’ve had an emotional experience like this before…what am I thinking of…? Oh, yes, it was every children’s movie ever made with a sympathetic animal/alien/outsider friend.

    • Wulf says:

      Me too.

      Call me a sap, but it remains just as potent and poignant a notion to this day.

    • Wulf says:

      A little vague there, oops.

      By ‘me too’, I mean that I’ve seen all of those movies as well, including the ones where the outsider was actually able to save humanity (like Wall-E, Gods I loved Wall-E). Regardless of having seen so many, they still get me.

    • Jeremy says:

      Slightly different than a children’s book, and I’m not sure they were going for a war is bad vibe at any rate. In a kids book, the sympathetic outsider generally wins and everyone is saved, rather than everyone dying including the sympathetic outsider.

      I actually felt powerless, as I kept taking bullets and slowing down. I couldn’t get to them in time, there was nothing I could do to save them, it was pretty depressing.

  17. Lucky Main Street says:

    When I played the boy died before I did, and the father cried then.

  18. Pax says:

    My puny humans all died. Oh, was *I* suppose to be the shield the game was talking about?

    Puny humans need to learn to doge bullets like the invincible ImmorTALL.

    • Pax says:

      Actually, upon playing it again, I’m kind of left aghast that it didn’t even occur to me to try and save the farm folk. I saw bullets, I avoided bullets. I cursed man’s inhumanity to man when they started hitting said farm folk, but it never occured to me to put myself in harm’s way to save them. I did keep looking for a “shield” button, thinking I had some psychic forcefield I could put up to block the bullets, but that doesn’t really offset the realization I instinctually tried to save myself first.

    • Wulf says:

      I tried to save the farm folk but it wasn’t any good, there was simply too much destruction going on. In fact, in my first play, I fell over really early because I stopped frequently to block the farm types from getting hit, just making myself a shield.

      Of course, their attempts to destroy themselves were more successful than my attempts to save them.

  19. Resin says:

    Reminded me a bit of Chris Ware and the Acme Novelty Library/Jimmy Corrigan the smartest kid on earth – which is a huge compliment to this game.
    Not mind-blowing by any means, but definately worth my two minutes

  20. Shadrach says:

    That was quite lovely, in a sad way.

  21. Tomski says:

    That was moving at the end, even though i saw it coming. Impressive for a two minute game!

  22. Wulf says:

    This very much reminds me of The Iron Giant.

    The Iron Giant was a beautiful movie that made a very similar point, and it was only the innocence of a child that hadn’t yet learned hate and fear that saved both humanity and the Giant, a child and a once-jaded, artistic beatnik/hippie type person whose mind was opened, and whose heart was lightened by that innocence.

    Basically, for those that haven’t seen it, The Iron Giant was a massive robot that landed on Earth at around the 50′s/60′s, and was normally completely innocent. It seemed to be a test, of sorts, because if not threatened the robot was a friend and protector, but when confronted with human hatred, anger, and paranoia it became a war-machine, judging them as they would judge it.

    Eventually, thanks to there being at least some sign of redemption for their race, the Giant ended up saving humanity rather than smiting it. It was also a nice movie to show how base hatred and fear tends to turn even an intelligent person into a rabid imbecile. That’s a quality that we — as a race — tend to embody, we are very, very much ruled by our emotions. The best of us try to ensure it’s our better, less destructive emotions are in charge.

    But when I look at the homophobia, xenophobia, and hatred that are generally a part of human communities, whether it’s levelled toward ethnicities, sub-cultures, or lifestyles, I tend to also realise that if we were ever paid a visit by something like the Iron Giant, we’d be so completely boned.

    In regards to that flash, I can only imagine a continuation where a normally peaceful race of space explorers come looking for their lost comrade, learn of what’s happened, become very pissed off, and choose to eradicate the horrifically violent race occupying that planet, turning it instead into something useful, like a shiny space parking lot.

    • Lambchops says:

      Ah, iron Giant; it’s one of those kids’ films that I always forget about and then when anyone mentions it I remember just how much I liked it at the time. Don’t know why it doesn’t stick in my head more; possibly just because I saw Short Circuit, Flight of the Navigator etc quite a few more times.

  23. BooleanBob says:

    Oh, lovely.

  24. Torgen says:

    I keep reading that as “ImmorTAIL”, and thinking the alien is a huge disembodied tail. :/

  25. GetOutOfHereStalker says:

    I saved them all on my first try. Then died. Then got covered in snow and forgotten. Fucking nazis.

  26. pignoli says:

    Beautiful and tragic. And everything Wulf said. Gets me in the same way Today I Die did. More like this please!

  27. capitolwasteland says:

    GRAR! Pippin no understand why they use TALL just cuz Alien is TALL! PIPPIN ANGRY! PIPPIN SMAAAAAASH when Pippin angry! USE words RIGHT GAME PEOPLE or Pippin GET MAAAAAAD!

  28. Saucy says:

    An art game? That’s actually good? And not even in Flixel?!

    Good Lord

  29. Tei says:

    READ THIS, PLEASE; CONTAINS IMPORTANT SPOILER INFORMATION:

    I landed on this strange planet, and a littel girl helped me, then a dude, and his family. I followed to the west.. to much.. I walked too much to the west. Most of these people died.. first the borthers of the dude, then the father of the girl. I believe the tanks and soldier where shotting at me. It was all a error. Since the girl was still alive, I walked to the est… and managed to escape again on the pod. with the girl alive!.

    If you are reading this, and have not played the game. Is not too late for you, once you have meet the family on the farm. walk est!.. avoid the west at all cost, since your friends will get killed. End of spoiler.

    • Idle Threats & Bad Poetry says:

      It didn’t work for me. Maybe that’s been patched. The only choices are walk right or left. If you walk left after the battle begins, you leave the family behind. I thought it’d be more interesting if you have the option to leave with one of them. Maybe the living father would prevent his children from entering, but if he were killed, they would follow.

  30. Robsko says:

    You can escape back to the pod after at least having moved up to the location where there is the “Shield” message.
    Better than being butchered while trying to cover those silly humans that decided to run straight into a war zone ;)

  31. Cian says:

    I like this, Pixalente does do some excellent games. After all, Time magazine thought his (marvelous) Hunted Forever was one of the best games of 2008.

  32. pimorte says:

    @Wulf – you have it wrong. The giant was ALWAYS a war machine, but was damaged and its aggressor instincts did not function properly as a result.

  33. DoubleW says:

    Every time I play this, it looks like I’m leading the family into danger.

  34. godwin says:

    I think something most overlooked in this was the minimalist music/sound design, it’s simply terrific! Especially when the notes play as the bullets hit the body and the layering of sounds as that meets the movement of feet and munitions being fired – it works to great effect. I feel the length is just right, some things; some statements, you need only to make them in the most succinct manner, and at that instance art happens. Also, I thought the final ‘Live’ was more of an instruction or suggestion (as with all other instances of text in the presentation) to the player, as in, something you might want to do outside of this game.

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