Leap Years: …But That Was [Yesterday]

By Quintin Smith on November 18th, 2010 at 11:51 am.

I wonder if Mirror's Edge was a metaphor, too.

Lo-fi indie browser game …But That Was [Yesterday] is worth your attention. It’s a textbook example of how to do more with less, and by “how to do more” I mean “how to tug at your heartstrings like bell ropes”.

That this little browser game moved me is hardly surprising because I am like a leaky bucket of emotions, but that it also moved Mike “Dead Inside” Rose of the brilliant Indie Games Blog should speak volumes. Go and play it, Rock Paper Shotgunners, and give it a couple of minutes. It starts off slow.

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122 Comments »

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  1. Nacho says:

    Played it yesterday. I really tried hard to like it, the visuals and sounds are polished…I’m sorry, this is not a game, but an interactive comic, and a repetitive one. It seems that now that videogames are accepted as a way of emotional expression, we have to be ready for lots of works like this where sad souls explain how hard their life is, just what has been happening with comics/graphic novels during the 00s. The swinging part was really cool, though.

    • Brumisator says:

      I felt it was about as interactive as CODBLOPS, and that’s a bad thing for a game
      Still, not a bad way to tell a story. This just isn’t what I’m looking for in a game.

      Verdict: interesting

    • Rich says:

      I’m prepared to accept it as a medium for art. I wouldn’t call it a game though, and it isn’t exactly fun.
      I find interactive art like this more engaging than, say, an art movie. This sort if thing can be pretentious, but at least I’m taking part, rather than it being pretentious at me.

    • BAReFOOt says:

      It’s a wonderful work of art. The music is often neglected and feels slapped on. Not so in this case. But music and the colors are the door to the emotions.
      Unfortunately there is no actual gameplay. As in: A toy (the game world) to manipulate, to reach goals.
      I don’t know about the story. It did not resonate with me. But that’s OK, because real art does not try to resonate with everyone. And I’m quite different from most people. So if it resonated with you, and you loved it, I second that. If not, then not.

      I recommend that the designer of this game teams up with someone who can do really good mechanics, and try a different story next time (obviously). Then we likely will have something truly great.

  2. pakoito says:

    I cried. God I hate you so much right now :(

    • Quintin Smith says:

      Hooray! I almost cried.

    • James says:

      The dog thing actually got me a little bit, but I’m much too American to cry about it. Babies.

    • Rich says:

      So you’ll be walling those emotions up until you eventually crack and shoot everyone in your local school, shopping centre, or anywhere near a clock tower then, right?

    • Graye says:

      @Rich
      I have to say, mate, I found your comment to be distasteful. There is a line and crossing it, at times, can be amusing, even hilarious. Edging up to it with a casual remark, however, is just grotesque. Could just be personal experiences being what they are, but in either case I believe my stance would be the same: think before you speak, even on the internet.

      @Nacho
      I’m with you, mate.

    • sfury says:

      Got me too, at the swing scene. This game uses its music VERY WELL. Not only there, but on the running forward, jumping sequences and games that do that always get to me because that ads a lot to the mood of it all.

      “And to anyone searching for the endings, I’m sure with enough [time] you’ll come across them all :]

      – Bean”

      What are these OTHER ENDINGS, he’s talking about?! Now I have to play it again. :]

    • Berzee says:

      @Graye — Contrarily, I read it, thought, and chuckled.

    • outoffeelinsobad says:

      I’m American, and I’m going to cry deliberately to make up for James’ lack. I’ll see if I can find a cowboy hat to wear while playing it, too.

      UPDATE EDIT: Almost. Held it back, I did. What the hell.

    • Graye says:

      @Berzee
      Like I said, mate, could just be personal experiences being what they are.

    • Nogo says:

      @Berzee – He’s not really helping the whole “gamers are desensitized to violence” debate.

    • Rich says:

      My joke had nothing to with being a gamer. It was just sarcastic dead-pan humour*.
      I’ll admit that I haven’t been at the wrong end of a school shooting, but then they tend to be pretty rare in countries that don’t allow their citizens to own guns**. If there was any serious point to take away from my (joke) comment, it is that perhaps it’s more healthy to be open with your emotions than “walling them up”, which may, in very extreme cases, lead to a psychotic episode.

      *You’ll note from the spelling that I’m British. Have much experience with British sarcasm?
      **With at least one notable exception just this year.

      That all being said, if I have offended, I apologise.

    • ErikM says:

      Aww, hell. It did pull at my heartstrings. Especially the two friends part of the game.

      But games are supposed to make you feel dead inside! What manner of sorcery is this!?

  3. Mike says:

    I find it difficult to be moved by games, but I thought the message was great. It also functions so well as a casual game, as it was intended, not punishing, teaching through simple isntruction. Just a great, well-rounded game. Thanks for linking.

  4. Premium User Badge

    Faldrath says:

    Awwwwww. That was sweet.

  5. Kieron Gillen says:

    “Ignore it until it goes away”. What is this? Priest’s trying to teach kids not to masturbate?

    (In the end, I liked it more than I expected I would actually, but that struck me as funny)

    KG

    • James G says:

      @KG
      I’m not sure that was its message. I suppose I saw the action not so much as turning your back on the wall of pain, but turning to face something positive (represented by the dog). Even when the dog wasn’t there, you were looking back on your memories, rather than gazing into the abyss of the future.

      (Comment keeps going missing. No spam error, it just doesn’t appear.)

    • James G says:

      @KG
      I’m not sure that was its message. I suppose I saw the action not so much as turning your back on the wall of pain, but turning to face something positive (represented by the dog). Even when the dog wasn’t there, you were looking back on your memories, rather than gazing into the abyss of the future.

      (Comment kept getting eaten, trying again with firefox this time)

    • misterk says:

      I had the same issue. I think the idea was that you drew emotional support from others to overcome obstacles, including depression (although apparently one does that by looking at a dog) but it wasn’t necessarily clear initially.

    • MarkSide says:

      Yeah I was getting the vibe that it was trying to represent two different approaches to memory. One where you dwell on it negatively and one were you implement your experiences positively to move on to a new and better place where, um, your dog loves you… or something.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      (Yeah, it’s totally as James said, but it’s funnier to make it a LIVE IN DENIAL simulator)

      KG

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      I’m choosing to interpret it as: “When confronted with crushing fear of the future, one need only think of dogs.”

      You can also play it as a Bang Your Head Against A Brick Wall sim, which I did for longer than I’m prepared to admit.

    • Mike says:

      Was it, though? The wall enticed you to move towards it. Perhaps it represented wallowing in self-pity and depression, instead? When you look to the rest of the world, things become brighter and happier.

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      Down Rodeo says:

      I did try to run into it for a while to see if it would go away, but no. The way I initially interpreted it was “ignore it until it goes away” too, the wall returning being some kind of reminder that your life can be great, you can be flying along and then out of nowhere “it” hits you (there’s one jump that takes you right into the wall, I think). Does the swing thing represent taking a new direction with your life?

  6. Mashakosha says:

    Wow. That was amazing. I didn’t really get it at first but if you gave up before getting past that first black bit, then go back to it and give it a chance. It’s totally worth it. I’m not pretentious or snooty or anything like that, but it really did do something to me. And yes, I almost cried.

    You might say it’s not a game and you’d be right; it’s a story. If you take it as such, you’ll enjoy it a lot more.

  7. James G says:

    @KG
    I’m not sure that was its message. I suppose I saw the action not so much as turning your back on the wall of pain, but turning to face something positive (represented by the dog). Even when the dog wasn’t there, you were looking back on your memories, rather than gazing into the abyss of the future.

    (Trying to repost, as the original comment never made it. No errors, it just didn’t appear.)
    (Second attempt, not logged in now)

  8. qqq says:

    I found it interesting, but not good.

    As a game, it’s infuriating because of how cryptic the winning conditions are and how slow paced the gameplay is.

    As a story, it’s not exactly up to the standards that stories have now in other mediums.

    It’s well made for what it is, though, and I think that I might have enjoyed it more if I played it in a different mood (I’m at work, so I wanted to get through it as fast as possible, which is not what it’s made for). I still doubt I would have cried.

  9. CMaster says:

    Going to agree with some of the above commentators saying it put me in much the same mind as the deabte about CODBLOPs and movie not a game – it’s one of a collection of these arty indie games that really exist to tell a story, not be much of a game.

    That said, I do feel there was some greater meaning derived from the gameyness in that you did things with the friends – you ran and jumped with the childhood friend, you walked the dog, you swung with the girlfriend (oi oi).

    Also, rumours of multiple endings. I got “I was sure he would never come back. But that was Yesterday”. Anyone get anything else? Short of waiting or deliberatley failing the jumping challenges, can’t see what could be done differently.

    • Tim says:

      Now that *is* interesting. I got “I used to wonder if he was ever there at all. But that was yesterday.”

    • StormTec says:

      I got:

      “I almost gave up… wishing she would return

      But that was yesterday”

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      Cheeetar says:

      Huh. I got “I used to think he was no longer with me. But that was Yesterday”

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    Colthor says:

    Aww.

    So, people are the tutorial and once you know what to do you don’t need them any more?

    • Lilliput King says:

      Use ‘em up and toss ‘em aside, like a piece of fruit.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Seriously though, that was well produced, but it didn’t make me feel anything. The message was pretty straightforward and, dare I say it, a little glib. I dunno. Nothing wrong with people finding this meaningful or being affected by it, I think I’m just not attracted to this kind of melodrama.

      But then again I liked Every Day the Same Dream, so eh.

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    AndrewC says:

    So wait, what you deal with depression/trauma/whatevs by trying to ignore it? You move forward only by looking back?

    I am not understanding game!

  12. Handsome Dead says:

    This reminds me of Clive Barker’s [Jericho]. It has some ideas where you think “okay that’s pretty clever” and then it ruins it by making you do it about twenty times. The game didn’t have to be as long as it did. In fact, it didn’t even need to be a game; interactivity really added nothing to the experience.

    Also I’m curious as to why pretty much every indie game, regardless of whether or not it’s appropriate; is a platformer.

  13. Xercies says:

    I liked this game, it was quite sad and i liked how they combined the story with the kind of the tutorial. You jumped with your friend and swung with yor girlfriend and those happy memories make you able to go forward. Also there is something about the dog, i think you lose it and the whole game is trying to find the dog, and then you do find it because of the good memories. I don’t know i liked the game.

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      AndrewC says:

      I got the horrible feeling that the last line was the dog’s: the feller had been lost in depression and had stopped taking the dog for walks, but by gaining strength and skillz from his happy memories, he oversomes his demons and starts taking the dog for walks again yay.

      If that’s what the creator intended, then that is some hollywood schmaltz right there. If that’s just the meaning I came up with then I have internalised the hollywood schmaltz and there is no hope for me.

    • Xercies says:

      Actually i kind of have a different thing thats similar to yours but not.

      Basically he is lost in depression and through that he loses something precious to him in the here and now i.e the dog. And basically throughout the game he has to learn to use the goodness of those memories and move forward with his life. Doing this he gets back what is precious with him. The wall of pain doesn’t signify that if you ignore it it will go away i think it signifies that you have to basically sometimes let those past tragedies go and not keep them in all the time sinking in depression and losing the here and now of today.

    • RagingLion says:

      “I was sure he would never come back.” I was about to ask people who they thought spoke that line. I’m thinking myself that it only really makes sense if the dog speaks it for the reasons AndrewC says.

      I thought that was rather special all in all. It was an interactive experience more than a game, but that’s fine. The interactive space is a spectrum, and I like experiencing things on that side as much as ones where the player has more agency. Plus I love stories. I think this was extremely well done and I suspect the author executed perfectly on his idea which is all you can ask really.

      Edit: I agree with Xercies though – that explanation does make a lot of sense and it took me a second playthrough to think things through (i.e. you pretty much brush past the ‘Woof’ ‘Woof’ in completely white the first time round without taking on board a meaning). The dog saying that final line could still work though, maybe it’s meant to be able to refer to either.

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      AndrewC says:

      I can’t get past the ‘looking back’ part though, especially as this takes the form of a platform game, in which direction and movement are super-central.

      It smells too much of a nostalgic world-view, that the modern world is full of pain, but if we look back to when things were good, we can find peace, self-respect, and who-we-really-are. It’s a bit down-homey, and bit scared-of-change, a bit cities-are-evil, a bit you-can-never-be-more-than-you-are, a bit emotionally-stunted. And so on.

      So is that it? If so I certainly disagree with it a bunch. That it has created a viewpoint that i can disagree with using game mechanics is probably the achievement that should be focused on but still, my emotional reaction is ‘Eeuuuu!’

      But maybe I’m wrong.

    • Xercies says:

      I think the dog is the key…when you look back your always looking at the dog when you do it. Going with my explanation i do think that signifies you should worry about there here and now, the things that are precious to you at this moment: the dog. Instead of always being depressed about the tragedies you could never change.

      I think its brilliantly well done whatever your view on the story is.

    • Bret says:

      Wait, some of you didn’t get the girl?

      Hmm. Interesting.

      Good game.

  14. DiamondDog says:

    It was interesting, but I always feel like I’m missing something with these games. Especially when others say it actually made them cry. I can’t say I found the story particularly engaging or poignant. Just a big dollop of cheese.

    Did the interaction really add anything much? I think it could have been presented as a film. I suppose that would be missing the point.

    • Jools says:

      I don’t think it’s you missing the point so much as many game developers missing the point of gaming and how it can be used as an artistic medium. Literally this exact same theme has been rehashed hundreds or thousands of times in film and art school projects, so how is it made any better as a largely non-interactive game? Maybe it’s just growing pains, but stuff like this really makes me think that gaming is moving backwards.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      I’d disagree. The point of the game – that these experiences help us get past other things – works better in a medium which (generally) is about just that. You could have shown it, but it wouldn’t have resonated with anything.

      KG

    • Mashakosha says:

      Yes, I think it would miss the point. Personally, I spent 5 minutes running into that wall continuously, expecting something different to happen, but as an interactive experience, it serves to show that, like life, you learn from experience. This particular element makes it somewhat more of a personal journey rather than placing yourself into someone else’s shoes. And I doubt that there’s anyone on these comments who hasn’t had even one part of what’s shown in this happen to them. An animated film would have just had you watching and not really feeling anything, I think.

    • DiamondDog says:

      But does the simple action of pushing an arrow key actually add to that idea of learning? Maybe I’m looking at it the wrong way and expecting the game element to challenge me in the obvious platformer way.

      The story shows him jumping rooftops with a friend he then loses. How does my involvement in that action change the strength of the emotion? If it had been shown to me as simple film I would have still got the message. Like I say though, the point is it’s trying something different to just another short film so I’m trying not to be completely negative. It just seems to me that if it’s going to be a story told through a game, then actually make my interaction worthwhile, rather than a guy sat at a computer prompting a story to continue.

    • Tangy says:

      I’m with DiamondDog on this one. If there had been some element of discovering how to do things myself (or co-operatively with the person my character was with) it might’ve been more powerful, but as it was I was just doing what the dog/friend/girlfriend/others told me to do.

    • jeremypeel says:

      I’d have to agree with KG and Mashakosha’s assessment on the interactivity front.

      As we’ve all said or implied on RPS a hundred times already, interactivity is probably the greatest unique element of our medium and should be exploited as much as possible, not used to create interactive cinema.

      Nevertheless, games like this (which aren’t so different to what Tales of Tales do, I think) have a role to play in steering us towards very specific emotional reactions with limited interactivity.

      The carefully limited player control that was there, I thought, was really interesting. The scene of the friend’s funeral in particular, in which you’re told to move on but can’t (because it’s too early) I found pretty moving.

    • Igor Hardy says:

      I disagree that the limited interactivity (or the need to overcome obstacles by the player) adds that much to the experience of this particular movie-like story.

      At least one should argue that stories are always more powerful when you can interact within them, and that games are more powerful in storytelling than movies – that would be a more fair (and controversial) thing to say.

      I really don’t find But That Was [Yesterday] that special in the way you affect the story.

  15. Jools says:

    Part of the problem with stuff like this is that you can really only get across very, very simple messages with such simple gameplay mechanics, but complex gameplay mechanics get in the way of having a message at all. In this case, it’s so simple and trivial that you can glean just about everything interesting the game has to say just from the name and the very first in-game screen.

    I did think it was a pretty novel way of doing a tutorial, though. Maybe I’m just dead inside.

  16. Jake says:

    Unlike a dinosaur in Jurassic Park I tried doing the same thing over and over a dozen times before realising I should turn my back on the big blue wobbly stuff, so the game infuriated me in the first few seconds and it was all down hill from there really. I pretty much hate platform games as well, and things that move slowly. And I don’t get the message either: listen to your dog, always turn your back on your worries and girls will sleep with you if you are good at swinging.

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      AndrewC says:

      And where the fuck is the ‘heart’ key?

    • Jake says:

      Also I don’t like dogs, if this game had featured a cat I may have liked it more. And just an idea, but if the time you had to respond to the instructions was strictly limited and failure = death, it might have been almost as much fun as the quicktime events from Resident Evil 5. Like, ‘press up now!’ too slow, dog eats you.

    • Curly says:

      Actually, you get the bad ending unless you hammer the ❤ key at the prompt.

    • Butterbumps says:

      I knew I should’ve bought that Wingdings keyboard.

    • KillahMate says:

      Careful, they’re called ‘gamer’ keyboards now.

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    AndrewC says:

    One other interesting thing is that it depicts the abstract platform-game space as a sort of purgatory of barriers and pain that we must overcome. The point of winning a game is to escape the absolute horror of being in that game world. This feels like the thesis of a man who grew up in 80’s arcades.

    • jeremypeel says:

      “This feels like the thesis of a man who grew up in 80′s arcades.”

      HA! Indeed.

      I would add though, that many of these arty platformers (and they do tend to be platformers generally – I think because its still the simplest, most easily recognisable language we have as gamers) present making your way through the game world as cathartic. Yes, horrible in parts, but necessary and ultimately worth it.

  18. Wedge says:

    I liked that it taught you it’s possible to swing simply by forcing all your momentum continuously in one direction, then was disappointed this no longer worked later on.

    Man this game was almost as good as Runner.

    • ZephyrSB says:

      I was more impressed by the whole ‘if you swing hard enough you can change gravity!’

  19. Yghtgd says:

    I found it terribly boring as a game, and terribly bland as a story.

    “I doubt that there’s anyone on these comments who hasn’t had even one part of what’s shown in this happen to them”

    … And that’s probably the thing. Nothing of what’s shown in this ever happened to me, and in that light the whole thing reads like the story of a spoiled dude living in a rich country who feels depressed even though he had an easy life (by international standards).

    It’s tough feeling empathy for some virtual pansy feeling sad because he lost a friend and his girl went away, when there’s billions of people with real problems out there.

    • jeremypeel says:

      Maybe it’s because I’m a middle-class pansy with no real problems, but I feel compelled to point out that depression hits people pretty much regardless of their social background, income etc (I did read good evidence for this, somewhere).

    • Premium User Badge

      AndrewC says:

      Also your best mate dying is apparently only of concern to middle-class pansies.

    • Xercies says:

      Starving African people are out there so you shouldn’t feel depressed over your friend dying or a girlfriend breaking up with you. You shouldn’t feel depressed over anything though

      I hate this argument so very much!

      You know what my girlfriend broke up with me, i felt very depressed for 2 months. Shouldn’t of i because there are starving african children? If so then at that very moment in time fuck SACs.

  20. Zwebbie says:

    I thought it was pretty clever. The thing in the waiting room where the woman comes up and tells you to press down? Neat. I like how the creator tried to add emotional meaning to the arrow buttons on your keyboard.

  21. Pani says:

    ZOMG SEXS SCENE, NSFW TAG NEXT TIME, THANKYOUPLEASE.

  22. Mccy_McFlinn says:

    As with most art, this game is only as smart as the person viewing it wants to believe that are. Much like parody, art should stand proudly on its own with the added spice of deeper meaning. For me, art should serve the primary purpose of its medium and serve it well – a painting should be appealing and interesting to look at, a sculpture should be well crafted, music should be enjoyable to listen to beyond anything else. Anything the artist wants to layer on top of that is there for the keen to spot and the bold to interpret, but failure to adhere to the base purpose is to wander into self-indulgance; little more than a nod to the pseudo-elite.

    The reason games as art pieces are mostly shit is because the games themselves are shit, no matter what they’re trying to say. Look at a game like Braid, for example. A wonderful game that had any number of meanings and stories behind the superb gameplay; the fact that you could breeze past it without even noticing it and still have a good time is what made the game so special and act as a superb example of a game as art. The Simpsons in its hayday could parody any number of movies and films but still stand up on it’s own (i.e. you didn’t have to have seen the subject of its parody to enjoy the show or laugh – unlike say the Scary Movie films).

    As a game, it didn’t work. As a result of that it’s failed as a piece of art. It doesn’t take a genius to think of the concept of loss, it does take a genius to express that in an interesting and engaging way.

  23. Mr Bismarck says:

    I need to stop clicking on these “look at this art game!” links here. They’re all unremittingly tedious.

  24. Akebip says:

    Its a nice game I guess. It is very, very personal indeed, so I suppose that is why some people may not like it.

    Looks like this is part of a contest, anyway, I will check the other games too… lets dig it up to see what we can find :P

  25. siread says:

    The music has a Boards of Canada feel to it. Loved it.

  26. Henk says:

    According to comments in this blog:
    http://www.bontegames.com/2010/11/but-that-was-yesterday.html
    There are several endings in which the girl the boy or the dog can return.
    I got the dog return, and presumed that it was the only one.

    • Mr Bismarck says:

      I got the girl return.

      She looked a little nervous at first, until I reached out my fingertips and slid a curl of hair away from her forehead allowing my touch to linger as I continued, tucking her long hair behind her ear, exposing the side of her neck.

      I saw her chest rise as she inhaled and then she held the breath, on and on, perhaps in anticipation or perhaps it was nervousness. She seemed to be waiting for me, for a certain reaction, yet as she looked up at me she seemed uncertain that that reaction was going to come.

      I took a half step forward and slipped my arm around her waist and that tension I had seen fell away seemingly replaced with a crushing relief. She exhaled and then her breathing became short and a little ragged and as I touched my face to her neck her breath caught in her throat, turning into a little unintended sound of pleasure.

      For a second I gloried in the feeling of the familiar. Her soft hair against the side of my face, her scent flooding me with memories of nights she spent naked in my arms. Of mornings roused by the smell of coffee, the sight of her in one of my white shirts as she sipped, looking natural yet otherworldly and beautiful.

      I broke our embrace and held her at arm’s length, looking down at her and then other memories came. Her flighty attitude to our relationship, how it felt sometimes that I was a safe haven for her when she needed one or when she had nothing else with which to fill her time. How I often felt second, except for the day when we had parted, when I finally felt like I could be first or at least equal.

      The it hit me. I wish I had me dog back.

    • Mccy_McFlinn says:

      Impressively, that was far, far more entertaining than the whole of the game. And expressed more feeling and drama. Kudos.

    • CMaster says:

      Turns out ending is down to the time of day, apparently.
      See how meaningful your actions are!

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      AndrewC says:

      I just had the green guy come back.

      He ate my brains.

  27. marilena says:

    “it is very, very personal indeed”

    I disagree. That’s the thing – it isn’t personal, it’s generic as hell.

    (500) Days of Summer is personal. The guy in that film has the same basic problem as the guy in this game, but he also has a personality. He is an individual. I care about him personally, not about him as a symbol, not about the generic situation he is in. About HIM.

    The guy in this game is empty, so (maybe intentionally) you can only care about what happens to him if the game strikes a chord with a personal memory of yours, effectively making you the character.

    The difference between the people that nearly cried and the people who found it tedious might be just that – personal identification – which, again,… makes this an interesting game (that I didn’t like at all).

    • Akebip says:

      Hmm. I see your point… but wait,, you are saying then that the creator of this game is using the same technique to players that some phony psychic readers do? (e.g. general psychology approach?)
      I suppose that might be the case… but I do not think it was done on purpose…. oh well I dunno I’m getting confused already :P

    • bhlaab says:

      Okay, hold on. 500 Days of Summer was just as much of a generic, calculated rib jab to lonely people ans hopeless romantics as this was. I would argue that the characters in that are just blank symbols as well (especially the women, which is troubling)

    • Lilliput King says:

      @bhlaab

      I think that says more about Zooey Deschanel than the actual film.

    • Jake says:

      I think (500) Days of Summer is better because it doesn’t start off with you running into a blue wobbly death wall a hundred times because the freaking arrow says to. And then it doesn’t make you have to do a platform game section to get to the next scene. Gosh I hate platform games, I would rather do a sudoku.

  28. Akebip says:

    I found that the competition theme was “friends”.. well at least he got that one in his game :P

  29. Simon says:

    Almost cried. Amazing little piece :O

  30. Doug says:

    I kept waiting for a giant squid to come out of somewhere to do epic battle with ala p0nd

    Kieron has scarred me for life.

  31. The Innocent says:

    I’m just thinking on the “ignore the past to get over it” comments that some people have been making. I think they’re mostly facetious, but here’s my two cents:

    I can see getting hung up on that, but I think the metaphor is that you shouldn’t believe your past is your future (i.e., all the bad stuff in the past is in front of you, and you essentially work through it by learning to put it behind you). Later in the game (SPOILER) you move forward while accompanied by the positive memories of those that you have been friends with before, rather than dwelling on their memories as though they were negative forces.

    As someone who has worked through depression, my opinion is that while it is best to work through your issues, there comes a point where you learn to ignore negative things and focus on the positive. It isn’t “bottling up emotions,” it’s learning to control them better. I guess we could argue whether “acceptance” includes ignoring aspects of the past, and I’d argue that yeah, a lot of the time it does. Better to remember the best times, while working through and then dismissing the worst.

  32. Kefren says:

    I got stuck. I was jumping along and reached a swing where I needed to swing to get onto a platform at 90 degrees. There was a ghost image of the pink girl. However I swung for ages and it looked like he could get onto the 90 degree platform but he never did. I tried ‘up’ (the control to jump off the last swing) and ‘down’ but nothing worked. He couldn’t seem to swing any higher and didn’t want to get off.

    • nemryn says:

      Yeah, that happened to me too. I ended up jumping off at the bottom, into the pit, and respawning on the other side. Then I was able to jump off the next swing I came to.

  33. Tacroy says:

    That was the world’s most emotionally moving tutorial level.

    And that’s okay.

  34. bhlaab says:

    To me it just seems like Passage, but cheapened with cutscenes that hit you over the head “THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU. IT IS A SAD THING. CRY NOW.”

  35. Reapy says:

    Gameplay was a little boring, the story was not bad, but I didn’t really have any personal memories along the lines of losing a best friend or having a girl take off in an airplane and leave me, or I guess if I have i’ve worked through them into new, more exciting problems.

    I saw right off the bat that you could turn your back on the wall and it started sliding away, but thought I was messing up so continued to turn and ram into it, thinking it would give me a sequence of memories.

    But I read a lot of it like you have all these people teaching you how to overcome challenges in life (ie platforming sections ), but then you lose them right after they showed you how to ‘fly’ or jump in the case of the friend.

    So in the platforming sections here is this guy trying to go forward, using the tools taught to him by people he lost, but ultimately being held up by the loss of them, unable to proceed. Only when he stops to take a moment and turn his back on the black cloud, which could possibly be depression, can he push on.

    Anyway sorta nifty, don’t feel bad about the 10 minutes it took to cruise through, nice animations, good music, pretty cool little interactive movie, though in the future I’d cut short the platforming and swinging sequences.

  36. PleasingFungus says:

    I thought it was kind of sweet.

    Bismarck’s short story up there is hilarious, though.

  37. Now Im depressed says:

    My best friend died at 17.

    Ive had two loves in my life left. One left on a plane to South America, didn’t come back. The other to Australia last year…I hope she comes back.

    I was never even allowed a dog.

    …damn you game.

    Let me tell you, looking back does not help!

    Oh well, I guess the game sure works! Even if I disagree with the message. At least it shows even a simple game can be deeper than it looks, games can have a message.

  38. faelnor says:

    he is alone with his memories then he has a dog which is his only friend then he has a friend and then the friend dies and then he is on his own then he has a girlfriend and then the girlfriend lives and he is alone but everything is okay because all his friends are inside him and then there is a terribly self-indulgent sentence

  39. Heynes says:

    Leaves a bad taste in my mouth. That’s all I have to say about that.

  40. Emperor_Jimmu says:

    Ugggh, saccharine sweet sentimental nonsense. What a pointless message to try and convey! The gameplay was tedious as well.

  41. Jimmy says:

    For some reason I liked Imortall way better than That Was Yesterday, as a barely-playable emotion-based interactive fiction. I just have a hard time finding empathy for depressed people. I squander it on the selfless heroes and the people with real problems (okay, “my best friend died a while ago” is a real problem, but less tangible than “my country is in a war zone” or “I grew up on zimbabwe and have no food”. “My girlfriend left me” is just laughable. [Yes, I’ve experienced it. So have billions of other people. Get over yourself.] )

  42. Pemptus says:

    Impression I got from the comments:
    The “gameplay” (hate the word) is boring, graphics and animation choppy at times, story seen before in countless films etc etc…

    Oh who the hell cares.

    You can analyze it like that, I suppose, like the world’s blandest game review summary on Gamespot. You can also describe your experience, as this is pretty much what it’s about. How did it make you feel? Did it make you feel anything at all?

    To me, it was pretty moving. I think the last-ish platforming part with your friend’s silhouette got me the most, for some reason. The big dark evil wall of memories struck me as pretty accurate – it’s pretty tempting to walk into it and relive all the what-ifs and wallow in self-pity for the umpteenth time instead of getting your shit together and after a while moving on. But then I went through an awful breakup a year ago or so, so a lot depends on personal experience.

    I’ve seen the platforming mentioned as one of the game’s shortcomings. Would you be content if you simply had to hold one button? Or screw interactivity, it’s gimmicky and pretentious anyway, so just watch the whole thing as a movie, perhaps? It wouldn’t have half the impact imho.

  43. Premium User Badge

    theunshaven says:

    I liked it, and thought it was a good use of the fact it’s a played experience to put across the emotional complexions that it does. The fact it’s You doing this stuff actually matters: having it as a film might still work, but it’d *feel* very different.

    The section where you had the remembered silhouettes of the other characters behind you as you ran, or swung, or remembered the good things was a real ‘Oh wow’ moment for me.

    Hmm. Maybe this qualifies as an interactive cinema… the player doesn’t change the outcome, but the fact they experience it through their decisions greatly shapes the feel.

    (Guess whose PhD is basically on this stuff? Yeah.)

  44. Jonathan says:

    Well, that was…much better than expected. Thanks RPS.

  45. Premium User Badge

    Lambchops says:

    It’s werid. I’m usually an advocate for games with good stories or which try to convey interesting messages but for the most part i’ve never really connected with short form games like this to the same extent some others have and I think after playing this i’ve begun to realise why. In the amount of time it takes to play I’ve never lost the “learning to play the game” state of mind and as such I’m somewhat disconnected from any narrative or emotional impact the game might have. Rather than thinking about what’s going on I’m thinking of the mechanics of what I’m doing (simple though they may be). What happens if I run into the wall? Can I go left? Can I jump? What happens if I stop immediately after jumping on the roofs and my friend goes past me and I turn away from them? What happens if I press down instead of up when I’m on a swing? I’m spending so much time learning the mechanics that I’ve not reached the stage where I can think about other things.

    That said, the heart bit was cute. Plus I liked the ending with the girl, it was rather clever; if a bit (as has been mentioned by others) utterly shmaltzy.

  46. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    I liked it quite a bit. Not sure if it qualifies as a game, but I do feel that had it been a short movie instead it wouldn’t have worked (as well). The player is figuring things out just as the character is. Anyway, it moved me.. which is more than some games (if this is not one) do.

    I think it’s about various friends the character’s lost for some reason. With the wall representing the whole flood of loss.. all memories contained in a frame of longing, pain and loss. When the charcater looks outside it, looks at the grass, remembers fondly walking with his dog.. a first sign of a positive way of dealing with his memories. It moves on from there.

  47. treat says:

    I’m not usually a sucker for art games, but this one got to me.

  48. Huw says:

    Thanks for the link Quintin, it was lovely. I really enjoyed it.

  49. sredni says:

    I think ..But That Was Yesterday is a pretty cool guy. eh jumps and swings and doesn’t afraid of anything except for cripplingly depressive memories which he ultimately overcomes through the power of love

  50. Jack says:

    A lot of people seem to be going “ART GAME DETECTED! NEUTRALIZE, NEUTRALIZE!”

    I don’t think it was that pretentious, or that it was an intensly meaningful experience that will stay with me for as long as I live. It was a lovely little interactive music video. It also told a story without using text, always a plus for me. (I thought the ending would have worked better without the words.) I’d rate it 5 out of 5 for hearts warmed over time/money spent.