A beautiful mix of poem and game play, in one breathtakingly simple game.
Today I Die is essentially a poem-game, which takes players on a journey that ends in them discovering their own narrative from what is chosen. This is the brainchild of independent game designer Daniel Benmergui, hailing from Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The game was selected as a finalist at the Independent Games Festival, due to its simple yet fascinating adventure and the possible twists and conclusions in game play. It is quite short in duration, with a few minutes to go from start to finish.
The main aspect of the game lies in the task of solving the puzzles along the way to gain new words and create the poem. Players have to manipulate the characters in the game and use their actions to generate words. These can be then used to replace those in the poem. The lines of the poem are always on screen. Replacing causes the next scene to appear, and the game to progress.
The completion of different scenes leads to the availability of newer words. These fit into the poem, thus giving it a new meaning. The goal in the game is to set the main protagonist, a girl, free.
On completion of the game, the player can then build the resultant short poem with the words and post it on Twitter.
Though a person playing the game will have to only use the mouse while interacting with objects, what they choose to do with the surrounding is up to them. Coupled with this is the excitement of multiple endings.
Benmergui has created this brilliant game after making I Wish I Were The Moon, another similar game. This is, however, a great improvement, and fans responded positively to the familiar style of his work.
He deserves special mention for this heartwarming Flash-based game, which tells a beautiful story in less than 25 words. Through clever designing, it offers players a memorable game play, with a concept that stays with you long after you’re done. The soundtrack by Hernan Rozenwasser is ethereal and well-suited.
As for Today I Die, it excels in every aspect of gaming – be it concept, soundtrack, mechanics, dynamics, and especially emotional resonance. The designer, meekly insists that it is in fact, a simple story, as he states, “It’s about the daily choice of waking up in the morning.”
One cannot simply put 2 and 2 together and merely classify it as an off-beat game. On analyzing, it is seen as a game that uses innovative strategy for its game play, which looks deceptively simple. The way that the objects are used, and the multiple conclusions are an example of this. On top of this, the poignant poem-esque story of the character makes this simple concept a brief but unique gaming experience.
Benmergui has other games to offer, as well as this game in an iPhone version called ‘Today I Die Again’, which contains extra scenes but the same idea and features.
Definitely a game worth checking out, Today I Die needs to be played, and then played again. Every subsequent attempt will enlighten you.