A ramblin' game
In Where the Water Tastes Like Wine, stories are currency. You walk the backroads and fields of the United States during the Great Depression, occasionally freighthopping or hitching a ride from one town to the next. Along the way, you meet many people and witness many events, most of them insignificant in the grand scheme of history and the land, but all contributing to a complex tapestry of a certain time and place.
Everything that you witness and every conversation you have becomes a tale in your repertoire, and in retelling these tales you learn about the characters you share them with, around campfires that are dotted around the map. It’s at the campfires that stories become currency, and also where the game’s combination of folktale and interactive systems becomes muddled.
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Telling the myth of America
Where the Water Tastes Like Wine [official site] is a game about folk tales. It’s an anthology of sorts and brings together different writers as they pen characters to inhabit a difficult land. There’s this gloriously intense illustrated style which works alongside the soundtrack to give me chills every time I see the trailer or visit the website. I’ve included that trailer after the jump so you can see what I mean, but there’s also a fabulism there – dark dreams and transformations are the game’s hallmarks.
I played a tiny slice at GDC earlier this year with developer, Johnnemann Nordhagen, peeping over my shoulder. Nordhagen was a co-founder of Fullbright but he’s now creating Where The Water Tastes Like Wine under the aegis of Dim Bulb Games. The aesthetic was so evocative and so unusual in a game setting that we’ve been exchanging emails to talk more about it. An art feature is coming but before we get to that we needed to talk about folklore, the myth of America and the way stories repeat and recombine. Read the rest of this entry »