Immortal yet still heartbroken...
March 1, 2010 5:22 PM   Subscribe

ImmorTall is a game short glimpse of an alien's life as it is caught in the midst of humanity. It's not really a game that you can win or lose, there are no bosses or leveling up. It's a beautiful but sad look at humanity.
posted by schyler523 (23 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know, maybe I played it wrong, but I didn't get the jolt of Every Day the Same Dream or the Majesty of Colors. I won't spoil it, but it seemed pretty much to ease through from start to finish, with nothing unexpected or moving.

This might also be the result of game fatigue after just finishing Mass Effect 2, which I found surprisingly moving.
posted by blahblahblah at 5:37 PM on March 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

Sad. ,-_- Spoiler:

The kids died on either side of me. It took me a little while to move away from that.
posted by Decimask at 5:45 PM on March 1, 2010

Okay, so I saved everyone's life, and I died. Reminded me of The Giving Tree, with more strumming.
posted by dammitjim at 5:57 PM on March 1, 2010

I'll take Minoto over downer games any day -- too much glum, not enough silliosity...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 6:02 PM on March 1, 2010

Decimask, did it really get you emotional? I played it again, and had the same "meh" reaction. An identical ending happens whether you protect the family or not, and the Big Bad Military versus happy family seems kinda worn. In fact, the emotional response is pretty manipulative - put kids in peril, and you get a response.

A game has the ability to put you in another person (or things) shoes, and have you experience things in a new, deliberate way as a result. The emotional response can come from puzzle solving (Braid), story (Every Day the Same Dream), exploration (Small Worlds), or the gameplay itself (Passage). In each case, the key element is, in Chris Anderson's words, "Interesting choices." But this doesn't really do anything in these categories, or give you interesting choices. It just forces you to play a role, with no choice at all, in a world that is pretty threadbare of original meaning...

I am putting some overanalysis into this plate of beans, because I think MeFi is one of the few places we can have an intelligent discussion about Art/Indy Games, and I am curious as to others reactions.
posted by blahblahblah at 6:02 PM on March 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

Ack, it was Sid Meier who said a good game involves interesting choices....
posted by blahblahblah at 6:04 PM on March 1, 2010

Sure am glad that vignette followed me while I tried not to remember junior high emotional writing classes.

Don't you see? We're not shooting back! And there's short people! (think of the children) One Flash creature picked an apple for me, it made me taller! (education and good food are the answers!) Oh, I may be an alien, but you're the real monsters.

Instant B+, and Mrs. Shagic will want you to submit your story to the school newspaper. Go magpies!
posted by Doug Stewart at 6:13 PM on March 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

What a depressing game.

Decimask, did it really get you emotional?

It did for me. I don't like watching children die, even if they're a bunch of unrealistic pixels on a screen.
posted by zarq at 6:19 PM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

> Decimask, did it really get you emotional?

Not per se, I just scrambled backwards trying to save them (the parents had died a while ago) and they just died on either side of me. Similar thing happened to me in Passage--I lingered a moment or two. I felt not so much sad as powerless. Like I was the Thing from the Fantastic Four and a bunch of innocents had just been gunned down around me.

I couldn't save them, and I couldn't stop it.
posted by Decimask at 6:23 PM on March 1, 2010 [3 favorites]

I didn't like it. It's a very clumsy attempt to manipulate my emotion, and I like it even less reading the thread and knowing that if the family dies I still die.

Want a game that's wonderfully subtle at this sort of thing? Play The Void.
posted by graventy at 6:28 PM on March 1, 2010

Reminds me a bit of Grave of the Fireflies, in emotional terms. Shameless and clumsy and brutal, but succeeds in affecting me nonetheless. Worth the five minutes of playtime, IMO, as long as you don't mind playing something horribly depressing.
posted by xthlc at 6:42 PM on March 1, 2010

What kind of shitty ass alien are they making us play here? We can make a little space pod to come to earth from another world, but the only technology we have to stop bullets is our fucking body? I see what the creator was getting at, but this has a pretty weak premise.
posted by Caduceus at 6:50 PM on March 1, 2010

It did for me. I don't like watching children die, even if they're a bunch of unrealistic pixels on a screen.

That's what I mean - cheap emotional manipulation. This was similar to when I saw The Needle that Sings in the Heart, Amanda Palmer's odd musical done at a high school, with a high school cast, that used Neutral Milk Hotel's music as theme inspiration for a very sad play about Anne Frank. Really. It was emotionally grueling, but that is because it was set in the Holocaust - the actual value of the artistic creation itself was obscured because it chose to pull its emotions from the enormity of the historical tragedy, and what it added to that was unclear.

This wasn't as deep, or as egregious, but putting kids in danger, without having some actual message behind it, is a cheap trick. What does this game tell us? Well, the ending screen implies it is that we live on through our deeds. But since we have no control over our deeds here, and the ending is the same whether we save the family or not, that seems like a pretty lame conclusion, and not worthy of the emotional manipulation.
posted by blahblahblah at 6:50 PM on March 1, 2010

Happy :-) Spoiler

I successfully shielded everyone all the way back to my spaceship. The army did not follow us. No-one died, but the little girl cried when I blasted off in my spaceship.
I was there to protect them and that's what I did.
Note: You can't just get big and go back to the spaceship. You must be in the war first.
posted by tellurian at 6:51 PM on March 1, 2010

To cleanse the palate after this... experience, I highly reccomend Home Sheep Home - by the fine folks who brought you Wallace & Gromit. (h/t BoringPostcards)
posted by Joe Beese at 6:56 PM on March 1, 2010

I played it a few days back on Kongregate and I thought it was pretty good. I liked the usual sort of twitchy gamer panic I got trying to rush back and forth protecting all the family, I felt a genuine stab of regret when I lost one, and I liked how the minimalist music went along with the creature's progressive demise.

It didn't create some huge emotional response, but frankly neither did Majesty of Colors or Every Day the Same Dream for me. I see these games as sort of demonstrations of concept. I have yet to see what I feel like is a fully realized "art" game. I have no doubt it will come.


There is a "secret" ending - if you head back left after enduring the first military assault you can go back, get into your spaceship and blast back off into space, leaving the family behind. Which is my preferred ending, because face it: snow or no snow, all you do otherwise is lead this family into the middle of a war zone and then expire in their midst. Also it is exactly what I would do if I took a stroll from some idyllic little orchard and suddenly found myself in the midst of people trying to shoot me: hightail it back in the opposite direction.

Someday one of these experimental directors will hire a real writer and then you'll have something.
posted by nanojath at 6:58 PM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

I motion that every comment about this game be preceded by a full page of white space.
posted by phaedon at 7:01 PM on March 1, 2010

I couldn't save them, and I couldn't stop it.

"So sad... So sad. All them humanoids getting beamed into outer space... My mom, my dad... My brother... There's nothing I could do Dave, they're all gone!"
posted by nanojath at 7:05 PM on March 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

I played through this on Kongregate a couple days ago. I think the moment that struck me the most was when I realized that my character was beginning to stoop and move slower. I like the subtlety of it, the creeping realization of mortality.

The music/sound was very well done as well.
posted by uri at 7:53 PM on March 1, 2010

i enjoyed it quite a bit. the atmosphere was nice, the things uri mentioned were nice as well (the stooping, etc).

i guess i played it "wrong", though, and can't really comment on any of the emotional heartstrings being tugged in a manipulative fashion by the "children" "dying" or anything because at no point was anyone in the family in any danger.

these are the slowest projectiles known to man, and all you had to do was click to move. i'm astounded that so many of you had dead family members.
posted by radiosilents at 7:57 PM on March 1, 2010

Why won't these people stop following me?!?!?
posted by Rarebit Fiend at 9:09 PM on March 1, 2010

It may be a bit cheap, but I liked it, if only because I think that's the first escort mission I've ever played where the people you're escorting aren't irredeemable, suicidal morons.
posted by lucidium at 5:24 AM on March 2, 2010

Game was glitchy and let me spawn legs in the gully where they were accursedly too short to do anything: I reached the futility of it far sooner than expected.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 5:21 PM on March 2, 2010

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