today_smallYesterday was yet another one of my birthdays…     And Today I die… Released that very day… Was the best birthday surprise I could have hoped for. Refreshing, oneiric and inspirational.  And Today I decided to try to bring more people’s attention to this excellent game and some other titles I associate with it.

Today I Die by Daniel Benmergui

I Fell in Love with The Majesty of Colors by Gregory Weir

And I Wish I Were The Moon – an earlier effort by Daniel Benmergui

The association of the two designer’s works is not purely my idea. Both creators admitted to take inspiration from one another.

Many would probably argue these aren’t adventure games and yet they awake in me similar feelings as adventure games do. They give you freedom of acting in totally imaginative way and experiencing the never fully predictable consequences of your actions. TID and Majesty of Colors are some of the few games from recent times that actually allow me to continue my belief that games have a still pretty much untouched potential of creating new, exciting forms of languages. These languages can beautifully mix visual, abstract symbols with literal messages for the player to communicate with, be it phrases in an interactive poem for example… Or perhaps join physical elements of the game world with symbolic meaning, like the hope and happiness that finding a balloon can bring. Additionally, the languages that TID and Majesty of Colors conjure achieve these unique and complex communications of feelings through very intuitive and basic interfaces.

Nevertheless, I’d still say the essence of making a game is to go beyond the creation of a little world that can be subtly manipulated in a charming way  (IWIWTM was in large part like that in my opinion), but rather find a way to turn this into a challenge with some reason and goal to it. TID and Majesty of Colors both expose you directly to the feelings and experiences of an individual that has an interesting quest of self-discovery and a world of sensations to confront. You bond with the main characters in a matter of minutes and really start to live by the challenges they have to face worried about how will they influence the outcome. This is the true heart of gaming.

Also, you’ve got to love the relatively modest technical means used to achieve all this. Developers, think about it! Why tune your physics engine to death – build your games out of ideas instead!


UPDATE! (January 2010): Today I Die has been nominated for the Nuevo Award in the Indie Game Festival 2010