“In everyday things the law of sacrifice takes the form of positive duty.”
– James Anthony Froude
We the Giants is a simple flash game that will not take much of your time, but I highly recommend you play it.
In fact, go play it now before reading on.
Last time I talked about how the independent scene was producing games that represented different narratives to that of the Straight White Male power fantasy. We the Giants is a really interesting example of such a game.
“A man must be sacrificed now and again To provide for the next generation of men.”
– Amy Lowell
In the game you play as a rectangular cyclops. You can move using the arrow keys and pressing the shift key affords you a view of the entire map.
So far so standard. You are asked to carry out three rituals, the first two being movement and viewing the entire level. The third is something profound.
You are asked to sacrifice yourself and leave a helping of wisdom, in the form of a short message, to provide a foundation to future generations of giants. Once you have sacrificed yourself, you can never play the game again. You can only watch the progress of future generations of players as they too sacrifice themselves in the name of progress.
This simple game speaks to something very deep within the human experience, the drive to sacrifice for the benefit of others. It may be as simple as a parent devoting their life to raising and supporting a child, or it may be a soldier sacrificing their life for the stability of their country and way of life.
It is something that even games like rogue-likes, with their permadeath, cannot touch. After all, you are still allowed to play those games, just as a new character and starting from scratch.
The power is in our hands to create games that speak to the experiences we face in daily life, or the thought experiments that we wish to bring to life. If you want to make a more “traditional” game in line with Triple A games, that is fine, too. But with the ability to have your voice published for others to experience, you can do much more if you choose.