To The MoonGames don't often affect me emotionally. On rare occasions, yes, but always as a passing moment.
"To The Moon" was released last week, and it is both a lovely and deeply affecting game. The basic premise is quite unique, and since John Walker of RPS describes it perfectly, let me step out of the way for a moment:
At some point in the future, there exists a technology that allows people to backtrack through a person’s memories, such that they can create a complex timeline of their past, and implant new memories that create others, which create others still, that allows a person’s wishes to be fulfilled. Albeit only in their memory, since the events never took place. It’s a service that’s provided, by the company involved here at least, to those who are dying. It’s granting a dying wish, without the patient having to get out of their bed.
As a game, it's deceptive. The graphics are Super Nintendo quality, the play mechanics are very simple, and nothing in the first 15-20 minutes gives you any indication that anything special is in store.
Those first 15-20 minutes, though, are terribly deceiving. Soon after, waves of emotion begin descending from the lovely, carefully crafted story. I find myself almost in tears at regular intervals, overwhelmed. Given that I cry roughly once a decade, it's a singular reaction for me.
This isn't a game that will sell a million copies, because it is a quiet, thoughtful experience. It will deeply, deeply resonate with many of us, though, and it will be something that you won't be able (or want) to forget.
Oh, and I almost forgot to mention--in addition to having a thoughtful, poignant story, the music in To The Moon is just absolutely sensational. The soundscape is tremendously immersive and very, very special.
Here's a link to the game's website, and there's a demo available (the first hour of the game).