After reading my last few posts, I’m guessing the whole political thing is a bit tired isn’t it? I’d like to talk about something that will make everyone feel better, rather than something that would make my blood pressure rise. But first, watch this:
*sniff*…errr…AHEM…sorry I was cutting onions…or…umm…nevermind.
Pretty good huh? To The Moon is a rather touching game about a man who simply wanted to go “To The Moon”. It seems a simple concept at first, and in the end (like in the trailer) he does go to the moon. But he means so much more when he says that. The meaning of his dying wish is layered under a broken heart and a traumatic experience that would influence his entire life. Playing To The Moon is like watching a great movie, or reading a life-changing book. The dialogue between Dr. Rosalene and Dr. Watts is entertaining and meaningful, while the music brings the emotional experience to another level entirely.
I originally heard about this game last summer. I watched the trailer above and was instantly interested. Stories are one of our greatest means of communication, and this game seemed to represent an amazing example of that. As soon as the game came out a couple of weeks ago I sat down with my wife and we began to play it. I say play, but in reality I mean watch. The game does have some interactive elements to it, but those take second place to actually watching what is going on. I felt deep and sad emotions watching Johnny’s (the dying older gentleman) life unfold. His marriage to River was hard to endure. Through her condition and her eventual death, Johnny suffered and hurt. His final wish was for Dr. Rosalene and Dr. Watts to change his memories so that he could go “to the moon”.
Like I said before though, going to the moon will mean something entirely different by the time the game is finished. When Amy and I found out what he meant by the moon and what his wife River meant with the origami rabbits she kept folding for Johnny when she was dying, we collectively lost it right there on the couch. I haven’t cried that hard since watching The Road, and that is one depressing movie.
AND I'M PROUD OF IT...*sniff*...
Seeing the amazing ending of the game, and how all the ends are tied up at the conclusion of the epic five-hour adventure Amy and I had just endured was a great experience I have not had in any other form of media. I, a heartless Republican who has no remorse for dirty hippies and likes to shoot guns, cried like a little girl no less than three times throughout To The Moon. The story woven for the player is like no other I have ever seen. I’ve played 24-hour epics like Final Fantasy 10, and watched sappy movies like The Notebook, but this experience has no equal. Just writing this blog post makes me tear up. Don’t get me started on the music either.
Why am I writing what amounts to a schoolgirl crush about a two-dimensional videogame? It’s because we still don’t understand the ways that a game can touch us. We feel more attached to a character because we are the ones controlling them. That controller and the inputs are representational of our investment in the game. This may not hold true for simplistic games like Mario or shooters like Call of Duty, but there are experiences out there that can only be gained through our own participation.
That is the reason The Road will always sit on my DVD shelf unopened except for that ONE time I watched it. I saw that little boy as my own potential son. The Man (that is his name in the book) is me, just trying to take care of him in a world that is slowly dying. The moment the Man and the Boy find the bomb shelter full of food and water, I broke down. Because I saw those characters through my own potential experiences. Just like Amy and I broke down when finding out what River meant when she kept asking Johnny what her origami rabbits looked like. We saw them as ourselves. We experienced their sorrow because we realized that their circumstances changed their lives irrevocably. If I had not gone to Silver Dollar City on that one particular day, if I had not decided to listen to what God was telling me and leave OTC for College of the Ozarks, then I would never have found my wife. I would never have found my own “moon”.
Of course I had to put this here. Why do you ask?
Each person has their own experience when playing a game like this. It’s not just To The Moon. It’s slaying a dragon in Skyrim, it’s the awesome moments of playing with your buddies on Battlefield 3, it’s seeing a summoner’s self-sacrificial journey to save the world in Final Fantasy 10 (and the laughing scene that everyone thinks is so cheesy).
That is why we should never censor videogames, or any form of media at all. Each and every one of us is able to experience an adventure or emotion that we would have otherwise never have been able to. We save the world and find our true love. We get to fly jets or fire the cannon on a tank. Keeping us from experiencing these things is keeping us from expressing human emotion. The very act of censorship would only be fulfilling a prophecy foretold in a book that was censored for its content, 1984.
Here’s the link to the page for To The Moon. PLEASE go out and buy it. It’s only around twelve dollars. This game is a masterpiece unequaled in the digital medium. You can also buy the soundtrack on bandcamp for a fiver. I would recommend anyone, even someone who isn’t into videogames, give this game a try. It’s truly amazing and I can’t recommend it enough.