March 11th, 2009

The GraveyardThe Graveyard is a very short experimental game nominated for the Innovation Award in the 2009 Independent Games Festival. It was created as “An experiment with realtime poetry, with storytelling without words.” by developer Tale of Tales.

Not much more can be said without spoilers, which I’ll save for below, so give this game a play first by downloading the trial through Steam or, for Mac users, from this link. The entire game can be played in the trial, though $5 unlocks one feature. Think of it as a donation.

Personal Notes (Spoilers)

As for my thoughts… I like it. I hadn’t heard of it before, but The Graveyard was apparently met with high praise from critics after its release in 2008. I came to it when it was added to Steam a few days ago.

But the game is neat. I was impressed with its presentation; the sound effects and lighting do very well to set the mood straight away. Having time to empathize with the hobbling old lady before she even sits down was impactful. The song is wonderful, I only wish that it were available separate from the game.

I did buy the full version of The Graveyard. I wanted to see what death was like, which is the only difference from the trial. Apparently it can happen at random times, though I would imagine you always make it to the bench and sit down. I am not sure as I have only played the full version once. She died shortly after sitting down, right before the lyrics in the song began. The game took on a whole new meaning at that point. So for that reason, if you’re still interested after playing the trial, I would recommend dropping $5 on The Graveyard.

A postmortem of The Graveyard is available at the Tale of Tales blog. Everything that went in to creating the game, from day one of the concept, to funding, to post-release sales and site traffic data is detailed.