The game Gris by Spanish developer Nomada Studios was release on December 13th 2018. It was a title that came out of nowhere and publisher Devolver Digital gave it a chance by publishing the game on Nintendo Switch, Windows, MacOS first. Later it came to iOS and Playstation 4. When it was release and I seen the trailer, it was an automatic purchase. No reviews. No podcast. No Social media was going to persuade me from not buying it. I just had an emotional experience with the ending of The Gardens Between. Going from that game to Gris was a positive transition.
This year, I visit a great friend for a birthday and he had the Gris collection. He showed me the art book and I was floored by all the work from it. I got to see concept art they made and parts that didn’t make it into the game. I was speechless. Looking through the book, I saw how things were speaking to me though it was just some designs here and there. For most gamers, they may see nothing big about it but if you take it certain aspects into account, it could speak more than you think.
I love art. I love design. I love photography. There so much potential to witness when you look at something and allow it to speak. Just as your go to games have all the glitz and glamour, there’s something that will speak to you. Though, in this industry, smaller indie titles has potential to communicate better. They don’t rely on big tech or heavy production to make a player feel like the narrative has to be process with a Hollywood mentality.
How do you deal with a abusive dad with an alcohol problem? How does your mental state continue to stay strong when you have lost a son? What is it like to see someone who raised you die, come back to life, and then see another tragedy happen? There’s something in smaller games that speaks to you deeper, morally, physically, emotionally, and image wise. When others don’t see that, it may be that it isn’t their way to take in a game or might feel that their place of play wasn’t meant to have those games. So if they uplift a well known game and scoff at a title that spoke volumes to you, its because they don’t find nothing in that title that will give them the satisfaction that their favorite delivers.
When I experience Gris, the way the game unfolded with no dialogue by using its alluring artistic work in motion and hearing the soft piano music complimenting the scene, made me want to cry. It was something nobody was doing. It took me on this colorful journey of despair to hope. It showed me that everything that you don’t think about has a purpose. With its 3 to 5 hour game time, I put the controller down and marveled at points that I didn’t know it was going to affect me.
It may seem small but I didn’t know that art that is in Gris can move me. Yes, Yoshi’s Crafted World has made me laugh, got me taking many pictures and sharing them, and came out to be my Game Of The Year but Gris moved me in a different manner. I think when the small things become ignore, you sometimes feel like it should had a bigger reception and audience.
As we move into this next generation of framerate and resolution, we don’t know what will speak to any of us. Not just the ones that look impressive to only end up in our backlog or not having the mood for it. I hope we recieve ones that will deal with depression. The ones that will deal with image. The one that will deal with issues we want to escape from. We tend to stay in the bigger space of publishers and developers that make us feel safe and powerful. That the narrative will make us say it is the best and do big discussions on.
We may still get that smaller title that will speak to us. The ones that might seem like it’s nothing but actual has something valuable to share. To experience. To hold on and make you see games in a new light. If Gris did it for me, maybe something like That Dragon Name Cancer can do it for you. I hope to have more games speak to us. To take time to engulf the food for thought. Like the old saying goes: “Turning nothing into something” should allow itself to speak.