A Weeping Song: After To The Moon, A Bird Story

By John Walker on March 7th, 2013 at 1:00 pm.

One of the best games of 2011, To The Moon, has finally had its sequel announced. Called A Bird Story, developer Kan Gao explains to us that it should be out some time around the Summer. This is what we experts call GOOD NEWS. *KRRRRKKKKKKKBZZZZZZTTTCHHHHHHHRRRKKKK* I interrupt this transmission from the Walkerdome with my own signal, cutting through like a blade of static and infoburst. I am the moon.

A Bird Story is a simple, surreal short about a boy and a bird with a broken wing. Despite being story-based like most of my games, there are essentially no dialogues throughout.

Well, that definitely won’t tug at my heartstrings then. Not that I have heartstrings. I am the moon. I will admit that the music, which you can hear below, did cause me to fight back a lunar-tear or two.

A Bird Story is a short narrative and may act as a bridge between To The Moon and the eventual direct continuation of its narrative.

While Dr. Watts and Dr. Rosalene aren’t in this game (chronologically, it takes place before their time), the boy in it eventually grows up to become their patient in “episode 2″ of the series.

When I illuminate the sky tonight, do say ‘hello’. Unless I look like I slept on the dark side of my bed, in which case best to leave me alone. I sometimes bite.

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40 Comments »

  1. LTK says:

    Yes! More of this, please. Both the music and the games.

  2. Richie Shoemaker says:

    This can’t be allowed to happen. One of the most traumatic moments in my childhood was after the death of a bird that I tried to nurse back to health for three days. I’m not sure I can live through that again.

    Oh, alright then, go on.

    • AlwaysRight says:

      Urrrrggggh….

      That feeling when someone tells you that because the baby bird now smells of you, its mother won’t take it back…

      • basilisk says:

        You do know that’s bullshit invented to stop kids touching random animals which could bite/peck them, right?

        • Phasma Felis says:

          You do know that, although it’s not scent-related, mother birds won’t take back a baby that repeatedly attracts the attention of huge scary apes, right?

          You do know that it’s not necessary to deploy smug, snotty sarcasm in response to every single half-correct trivia item on the Internet, right? Even if you have done your homework first, which you haven’t?

          • basilisk says:

            What’s half-correct about it? The basic idea (“because the baby bird now smells of you, its mother won’t take it back”) is entirely wrong. And yes, I do think misconceptions should be actively fought; if it makes me sound sarcastic and smug, so be it.

          • Llewyn says:

            It’s not fighting misconceptions which makes you sound sarcastic and smug. It’s the being sarcastic and smug which does that.

            Try not being an ass and you might find people are more receptive to, perhaps even actively interested in, your wisdom.

        • Sparkasaurusmex says:

          Yeah with a trait like that I don’t think birds would have survived natural selection.
          Or raised Dodo babies….

      • Richie Shoemaker says:

        So it was my fault all along?

        /sobs

      • AlwaysRight says:

        I wasn’t really trying to distribute factual baby-bird handling advice…

        It was more of an attempt to bring us all together using shared experiences. I was hoping this comment thread would become a beautiful nostalgic look back at our childhoods, we’d laugh and cry together as brothers and sisters, knowing that we are, each of us, all suffering as part of the human condition.

        …that’s fucked now isn’t it?

  3. Maxheadroom says:

    To the Moon was the 3rd game to make me ‘well up’ (Didn’t actually ‘cry’ – I am a man after all)
    The 2nd was Grim Fandango and I honestly can remember the 3rd. Perhaps it was so traumatic I blocked it out?

    • Drake Sigar says:

      Probably Telltale’s The Walking Dead.

      • grechzoo says:

        The walking dead, is emotionally manipulative. whereas To the Moon is just an emotional story.

        Telltale constructs set pieces and situations that MAKE you upset, (if you happened to buy into the characters at all, which to be fair were written fairly okay.) Its just contrived and focused to cause the player emotional unsteadiness.

        To the moon is just a well thought out, well paced and well told story with much better character depth and dialogue than anything telltale could ever dream of doing.

        I tried to enjoy the walking dead, got to the end of chapter 3, but the overall narrative had no depth and they developed relationships for the sole reason of destroying them in dramatic style later on.

        why connect to characters you know with a 100% certainty were there to only cause you grief later on when they inevitably left, died, got mutilated, or betrayed you……i mean, really.

        • Iamerror says:

          To the Moon is very emotionally manipulative…

          • DrScuttles says:

            But David Cage told me of the direct relationship of polygons to emotions, so I refuse to believe that a 2D game can elicit an emotional response from anyone ever. Because David Cage said so.

          • Gnoupi says:

            Also, we need more QTEs to feel emotionally connected.

          • Iamerror says:

            @DrScuttles

            Yeah I said the same thing as soon as he said that…has he not noticed the three most popularly referred to ‘emotional’ games in recent times have been Journey, The Walking Dead and To The Moon…none of which feature realistic graphics?

            Shock Horror – abstraction makes it easier for the player to accept the often tenuous logical laws these games follow and thus makes it easier for them to become emotionally invested. Of course, Cage is going to offer ‘entirely new emotions’ because his terribly written characters will be 10% closer to the uncanny valley.

        • JackShandy says:

          By definition, a game that tries to make you cry is emotionally manipulative. When a game tries to make you feel happy, that’s emotional manipulation too. A game that tries to make you feel an emotion is manipulating your emotions, that’s what the words mean.

          The exception is sandbox games, where the emotions naturally arise from spontaneous events brought about by the mechanics, rather than being hard-coded in scripted scenes. I prefer that – feels more honest.

          • Caiman says:

            Any fiction is manipulative by definition, agreed. You could argue that a sandbox is manipulative too, because it’s constructed with the knowledge that an emotional situation could develop within it. In theory if you create a sufficiently accurate model then the degree of intentional manipulation diminishes, but I think this all just underlines how silly it is to value an experience by how manipulative it may or may not be. A game or film about a funeral, especially if it’s for comedic effect, may not be intended to elicit certain emotions, but for someone whose son just died for example might find it overwhelmingly sad.

    • karthink says:

      Planescape: Torment? No? Just me then.

      • Chuckaluphagus says:

        Torment didn’t make me cry, but definitely got an emotional response from me. I cared a lot about those characters.

      • Maxheadroom says:

        ashamed to say I dont think I actually finished Torment back in the day. Really must do something about that, especially since I’ve just backed the kickstarter for the (sort of) sequel

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      Resonance

  4. Gap Gen says:

    Where is that .gif from?

  5. Wedge says:

    I finally played To the Moon recently. It did not make me cry. I did however, find it one of the most disturbing and unsettling stories I’ve ever seen, and it made me extremely uncomfortable. It was a horror game in the truest sense to me, straight through to the end. Were it not for the surprising levity and humor of the scientists you play as, it would have been one of the bleakest games I’ve ever played.

    • Hunchback says:

      I found it sad, but also very beautiful and optimistic after all… Weird

      • Wedge says:

        I don’t know what was optimistic about “mental disorders and medication fucked up your entire life, but hey, we’ll make up some nonsense in the last 10 seconds of your life and everything will be ok”.

        • The Random One says:

          I agree. The two scientists cracking jokes as they’re altering the memories of a dying man make them look more like a pair of Jasons than whatever the hell the dev intended.

  6. cqdemal says:

    One of the best things I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing. Not without its fair share of flaws, but more than good enough that I’ll gladly blind buy anything this guy does next.

  7. D3xter says:

    “One of the best games of 2011, To The Moon, has finally had its sequel announced.”
    I resent that statement.

    • Captchist says:

      Because…?

      • Iamerror says:

        Probably doesn’t think it’s a ‘game’ due to some arbitrary reason.

        • The Random One says:

          Or maybe he just doesn’t think it’s one of the best games of 2011.
          Or he doesn’t believe the sequel has actually been announced!
          Or maybe he’s some sort of hardcore Muslim and demands the game be recognized as one of the best games of 1432?
          There are too many possible reasons. Further explanation is needed.