Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna): Impressions

This is simply wonderful.

Never Alone is a cultural document of the Iñupiat, framed by a simple platforming game. Here's a description:
Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna) is the first game developed in collaboration with the Iñupiat, an Alaska Native people. Nearly 40 Alaska Native elders, storytellers and community members contributed to the development of the game. Play as a young Iñupiat girl and an arctic fox as they set out to find the source of the eternal blizzard which threatens the survival of everything they have ever known.

As you progress through the game, you uncover cultural highlights in the form of short videos that you can view whenever you'd like. As an example, one is about Scrimshaw, and do I even need to say anything after that?

It's absolutely beautiful, and while the game is relatively simple, it's also quite satisfying. As I mentioned, the visuals are terrific, and the sound design, in particular, is outstanding. The cultural videos are fascinating, and all the different elements are interwoven in a coherent and entertaining way.

As an added bonus, the narrator speaks in his native language, with English subtitles. That adds even more atmosphere to what is already a deeply atmospheric experience.

Here is the website: Never Alone. As a cultural document, this is a magnificent piece of work, and it is deeply entertaining as well.

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