The Moon's Down the Drain
A few weeks ago, I was put in touch with Tour de Moon who were looking to commission some games as a part of their festival this year - a festival happening now as I type, over one lunar cycle. They were looking for 4 game developers under 25 to create games that each responded to typical game tropes; TdM are interested in reflecting on things in this way so that we might be able to think through them + imagine new worlds and new futures to come. I was tasked with finding the developers and then standing by for critical input while they made the games over a very tight turnaround. Over a few blog posts over the course of this festival, I’ll be looking at the results. And I would also like to encourage you to play them! You don’t have to be a gamer to play games, these are all really cool experiences that I think are worth spending time with.
‘The Moon’s Down the Drain is a narrative based game about the moon’s magnetic pull on us all, from land dwellers to giant squid in the depths of the ocean; with NPCs and a chatbot to meet along the journey from plughole to sea. Looking at humour as a way to connect with each other.’
When Tour de Moon initially proposed commissioning games, they were reaaaaally keen that each of them encorporated the aesthetic of the wider festival - visually, spiritually. I was kinda worried about how the game developers would negotiate that, because it’s such an intense style, a trippy medley of assets. There was a moment half way through development when the TdM got to see a work in progress version of Tilly’s game and they picked up on something. They shared that as part of the festival convoy, they are going to be bringing along a nine-metre-long model of a squid. We learnt that TdM had a special interest in the colossal squid because it has the largest animal eyes ever studied (27cm across according to google – cool). Tilly was able to slot this little tidbit into their game so easily, so comfortably, because it was so watery and spacey already, just totally on brief.
It sounds like a pretty basic thing to bring up here but I mention it because I like that all four of these games are recognisably part of the festival that commissioned them. I was sceptical at first. Everyone already has their own style. I can’t imagine being able to switch my writing style. But as these games unfold, I enjoy the constellations between them. And tbh I just really like that there is a model of a squid being pulled around the UK while the squids bounce around inside the pipes in ‘The Moon’s Down the Drain.’ The festival will inevitably end but the game will be online to play whenever, and they seem to have captured the silly, thoughtful poetic spirit of the wider project aaaand i think thats niceeeeee :)