Looking at “I Wish I Were the Moon” in class reminded me of a game I ran across some time ago, “(I Fell in Love With) The Majesty of Colors” by Gregory Weir. The two works are very similar on a visual level, with flat, colorful art composed of simple pixel sprites, and they both have multiple endings, which carries the implication that the player’s goal is to find as many as possible. “The Majesty of Colors” does contain more gameplay elements than “I Wish I Were the Moon” (which I am not even sure should be classified as a game), though, and has a more explicitly presented narrative: instead of being left to infer the relationships between the man, the woman, and the moon, the player is given fairly straightforward text explaining the controllable character’s thoughts.
The controllable character is a huge sea monster, being dreamed of by an unseen human character. This dreamer narrates the player-driven events, but is never shown, while the sea monster is. Although this creates an additional distance between the player and the controllable character, it also allows for narration that explains the sea monster’s perspective while also knowing the names of human concepts.
I’m not sure that the narration is necessary at all, though; since the written text presents the sea monster’s feelings as largely ambivalent, it might be as (or more) effective to let the player imagine what goes on in the monster’s mind. The sea monster is an interesting character, I think, because of all its ambivalence – demonstrated by the fact that the player decides whether its interactions with humans are friendly or hostile – and the question of its motives might be more compelling if its actions spoke for themselves, instead of being described by the human dreamer.
Despite my uncertainty about the game’s need to have a written narrative, I like “The Majesty of Colors” enough that I’ve recommended it to friends. The graphics are charming, and there’s an interesting contrast between those simple, bright graphics and the horror elements of the narrative itself, but the premise in particular stands out to me as creative and holds my attention. Depending on the player’s choices, the sea monster can be a traditionally destructive one or a guardian of seafarers, but the moral element of these choices is provided by the dreamer and the player; the monster is just exploring a new world, one with shining light and beautiful colors.