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To the Moon is a charming little non-game - game, done in a 16-bit jRPG style resembling the games from my adolescence. The story is sweet and sad. It examines love, loss, memory and reality. The lovely soundtrack is all on piano, and adds a great deal to the experience. (as any good 16-bit jRPG soundtrack will do). The game play is all perfunctory, pointless stuff, but it keeps the user interacting with the story as it unfolds. The plot is slow and winding, but each turn is significant, and each theme is given an appropriate amount of time and care.
The story closely resembles that of the film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind, but, perhaps heavier and sweeter. The action follows a pair of scientists working for a corporation whose business is to fulfill one wish for their terminally ill clients. They travel to their clients house to deliver an old man's dying wish: to go to the moon. This is to be accomplished through a method of memory alteration, which requires them to examine his memories in reverse order and then make changes in his life which would lead him to go to the Moon.
I think To the Moon is a great entry into the discussion of what makes a game a Game. Line To the Moon up with Dear Esther and Proteus. I've enjoyed each and recommend them all. This one took me about 5 hours to complete.
P.S. Sticking with the Moon theme, here's a Neko Case song: 'I wish I were the moon tonight' which is significant to my friend Abby. A great little ditty.
P.S. And here is a little flash game called 'I wish I were the Moon.' it's an experimental game in its own right and challenges gaming conventions. It's also a romantic game. Takes about five minutes to play. Also a great little ditty, check it out!
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