Thursday, May 23, 2019

A Game Poem that emphasizes the Poem

Reading The Tears Devour You from the Indie Mega Mixtape, I was reminded why I read the individual games in the collections so slowly, even though I could probably read all thirty-odd of them in one sitting. It’s not just because they’d all blur together but so many of them are these tiny little emotional bullets.

So many of these tiny, short form RPGs read like exercises in group therapy. I say that a lot but I have to because it’s true. (Not that I’m recommend that you use them as a substitute for therapy. In fact, I’m adamantly against that) And The Tears Devour You is a doozy of an example of that.

It’s a game for two players and all you need is each other, some pencils and index cards. Index cards are like the duct tape for tiny indie games. You can use them for so, so much.

In this case, you use one each to write down things like hopes and dreams and wishes. Then you swap cards. The card you get, that’s your character for the game. And the rules tell you to be faithful to those ideas and to not be a jerk.

You play out four scenes: standing on a mountain, bathing on the sea, lying together, and the sky is falling. You have a secret list of the feelings: madly, truly, deeply and doomed. Secretly choose one for the scene and no repeats.

And that’s it. Four scenes and no definitive ending but you are allowed to wonder what happens next. (Some games ban that)

If nothing else, The Tears Devour You is really poetic and really rings true to the songs that inspired it.

I’m kind of glad that I that I don’t gorge these tiny games because I’d totally fail to appreciate them. The Tears Devour You is a sweet little game poem but the way you create each other’s characters is what makes me think hmmmm, this could be good.

The Tears Devour You isn’t perfect or brilliant but it has enough potential to make me really consider it.

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