Today she died.

Today I Die

The independent game Today I Die by Daniel Benmergui is a beautiful piece of art that would had deserved a review all by itself. I played it about a year ago and kept on showing it to my friends afterwards. I can even remember starting it on my phone just to have the soundtrack running. Minimalistic in graphics and everything else, this game delivers a raw form of emotions – in eight bit.  It still managed somehow to sink so deep into my subconsciousness that I nearly forgot about it. But then, recently, I discovered the pictures of Elena Kalis and the idea resurfaced. The similarities of the emotions transported in the game and the pictures convinced me to share them both with you. Immediately.

An unusual individual

At the price of a cheeseburger you will get a game that can take you from ten minutes to about half an hour.  Although I already consider this an excellent trade off, you can also play the game for a lot less! An “unusual individual” (anonymous) payed the creator a huge amount of money to put Today I Die on the internet – completely free of charge. So I guess other people have felt pretty inspired by this game too. In 2010 Today I Die  was even one of the finalists of the Nuvo award which “honors ideas that advances the medium and the way we think about games”  at the Californian Independent Games Festival. I’d still recommend buying the 99 cent version for your phone though. The music is slightly different and the 8-Bit style looks much better on a small screen.

I really need one of these for my room!

A poem on your phone

While playing you will be able to control the motionless body of a girl sinking to the bottom of the sea. You can drag it around, lift it up and try to bring it back to the surface – but that doesn’t really help much. Above the screen the sentence “Fearsome world full of shadows, today I die” will always reign and the girl will keep on sinking – until you notice that the other words floating around the girl can be exchanged with parts of the sentence. Changing the meaning of the sentence will, actually, change the world. And I will stop at this point. I tried my best not to spoil to much of the playful discoveries that you will experience but the unique control and game-design mechanisms had to be mentioned. For a less descriptive presentation you could also forget what I said, start fresh and follow only the words of Daniel Benmergui who summed his creation up as “a game poem about the prison of worldviews, and salvation in playfulness.”

Let’s end  this with pictures

Although this review is about the game Today I Die, I’d like to end it with some more of Elena Kalis’s pictures. I really wonder if she knew about the game or vice versa. Enjoy!

Cold water had never been so calming!

All pictures are taken from the series "Ocean" by Elena Kalis.

That's some raw power - packed into silence.


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