I'm sure at least some of you guys have heard about the Gamma 256
competition created by Kokoromi, the ever-so-slightly
-hipsterish progenitors of the totally righteous Cave Story
. If you haven't, it was a competition to design a game with a resolution no higher than 256x256 pixels.
Quick interjection, from an email to Jason Rohrer:
As someone who spends a lot of time discussing games analytically and debating their creative potential, I've often grappled with the question of whether a game can make a player cry. Many developers have tried - with what I consider to be limited success - but sometimes I wonder if it's even worthwhile to pursue the goal of depressing one's audience. What I always longed to see was a game that could evoke tears of joy or understanding; the sort of "beautiful sorrow" that comes with a moment of revealed truth or heartfelt inspiration. I've long since stopped expecting to see this emerge from the industry at large, since escapism remains the medium's bread and butter. But to witness this achievement for the first time in a game small enough to fit on a floppy disk... Well, let's just say I was taken by surprise. Passage
is tiny. The Windows installer
is less than 500KB (though the Mac
versions are a bit larger), and the game screen is 100x16 pixels. That's it
. And yet, this game did something to me that NO game, EVER, has been able to do:
It made me so happy I actually started crying.
There's not much else I want to say, because over-analyzing this little gem would be shamelessly pretentious of me, plus I don't want to ruin the experience for you. Just download this game and play it; there's a five-minute timer, so you won't be wasting your time. When you're done, read Rohrer's statement
, and tell me if it affected you as much as it affected me.
I think you owe it to yourselves.