Evan Miller‘s (Pixelante Studios) art game ImmorTall is an poignent game about an alien that crashes to earth, befriends a family, and then must protect them from the military.

What I found most interesting about this game was the comments on Kongregate that sprung up around it. Predictably, there were those that got it, and those that didn’t (my favorite comments are after the jump), but that here was a game that didn’t have an explicit backstory, yet a common one kept reappearing: the military was there to attack the alien.

I thought that was interesting, since I didn’t get that at all. Looking at the backgrounds, I imagine that the alien was that after a quiet time, war came to the countryside, and the alien was helping the family escape Von Trapp style (or so Rodgers and Hammerstein would have you think). The alien, was just caught in the middle like everyone else.

I guess it’s just the effect of too many B-movies.

Felixoo7: “Its a shame really… Just one more thing to show us all that instead of being threatened by things we don’t understand we should try to understand them… Too bad this won’t reach the people that need it the most… 5/5”

randommonkey: “fantastic, nice work :) good to see someone extending the idea of what games are and aren’t! goes to show you can make a very impressive interactive experience that’s just a few minutes long. 5/5”

Chromolot: “There is a lot that can be read into this story. Is the military really aiming at just the alien or is it some kind of all out war? The family is being attacked from behind. The planes are going down in smoke. Some of the tanks have their barrels pointed upwards and shooting into the air as planes go by. None of the bombs from the plane lands on the alien but rather on or near the family. If there is one alien, maybe there are more. Where they sent here to protect Earthlings from their own destruction or was that one sent here to protect that one family. If so, why”

ImTooJacked: “This game is not for you to enjoy. It was for you to think deeply, and realize how precious life really is. If you watch closely you can probably guess what the dialouge would have been. Here is how i thought it would be like. A little girl finds this alien which she immediately falls in love even though shes very young and doesn’t appreciate much. She helps the alien grow up into a young alien when the boy sees it. He thinks it’s cool so he likes it. When the parents see they are immediately alarmed and they hide inside the house. The boy goes in and explains to them that it’s harmless. The next part with the war is about protecting the people you love no matter the cost, and when the alien dies, it was all for protecting the family(it’s hard to explain in words). They end is the best part: they are more instructions but basically to tell you to live your life. Also notice that the name of the game is: Immortal”

Ace Blue: “If your goal is to protect the family, then you want to die as quickly and effectively as possible, since those idiots sometimes run into bullets, or the game sends you soldiers on both sides at once. It follows that you need to speed-die to minimize the opportunities the game has to screw you up. When you finally die with all four idiots intact, you can raise your fist triumphantly and let out a proud YES! And yet I wonder. Is that the effect the designer had in mind?”

Kosedragen: “Mrgh, that’s the lamest appology in the world. “If you find it so bad, make a better one”. Mrrgh, just because I’m not a shaite who spends all his time trying to make subtle and fascinating plots, to otherwise boring and uninteresting games (and completely failing at subtlety at that, like a burglar trying to steal a priceless china in the middle of the night with a raging bull tied to his back), doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to critizise it. So shut it. And @ImTooJacked: The fact that I didn’t like the game was not that I’m to stupid or dull to get the point. There’s nothing there to not get; and that’s the main issue. Arty games can be good, but only if they really manage to let the plot twist up your spine only to rip it out the instant you realise what it’s all about. And this game fails at that so blatantly that I couldn’t even begin to call it arty. It’s “arty”. Simply a pretentious piece of pretentoisness. How much more pretentious can it be? No, I didn’t like it. No offence.”

GuineVir: “Nice concept, but too laggy no matter what browser I use.”

Fitzy101: “sheild? wtf? u cant sheild?”

deathman521: “how do u get passed the first part??”

pktheonlyone: “1/5 you cant win”

hiperjei: “soooooooo stupid.”

stafoth: “so in the end…. it says live, forever immortal. does the alien become immortal and eventually befriend even the military?”

holcat27“The girl who this creature lived protect…she kneels by its side and weeps. She is too young to understand war; all she can see is that people like herself killed this gentle giant she had befriended. Even as the snow begins to fall, she stays by its side and mourns her loss. Finally, when her dear friend is invisible under a thick blanket of snow, she walks away, regret fuelling every step. She knows her friend died to save her. She knows she will never see it again. And, most strongly of all, she knows that it was her kind that murdered him – a friend who died on an alien planet, not understanding why it was being attacked. If she turns back, she will only see whiteness where he once lay. Yet even she, the youngest and purest, leaves him eventually. And though she may think of it in years to come, she has a life to lead. A life full of suffering and loathing that her friend would have tried to protect her from; the life he died to keep from her.”

ProjectSturm: “Either aliens want to kill everyone (e.g., um, most alien movies), or make us better people (e.g. E.T.). There’s nothing wrong with having more of the latter really, as I think we’ve had enough destructive aliens for a lifetime.”