Life is Like a Comet in the Sky: “The End of Us” Flash game post.

(First off, I am sorry for the poor photo quality. I could not screenshot during any portion of this game since it was constantly moving. I took these with my phone).    

http://www.the-end-of-us.com/

“I see myself as a huge fiery comet, a shooting star. Everyone stops, points up and gasps “Oh look at that!” Then- whoosh, and I’m gone…and they’ll never see anything like it ever again… and they won’t be able to forget me- ever.”- Jim Morrison.

 

IMG_4328It is both beautiful and tragic to think of our very existence as one of a comet or a shooting star: moving so fast, shining brightly, and one day that light goes out. In the grand scheme of things, our lives are short-lived compared to the life of the universe that was born before us and that is what makes them all the more treasure-able. In the flash game “The End of Us,” there is a play on the title as the game follows two comets heading towards Earth, leading to our fictional, yet far-away demise as well as the demise of the two comets. This game puts you into the perspective of a comet headed towards Earth as a way to symbolize how short the human life truly is.

 “The End of Us” is an interactive flash game created by Michael Molinari and Chelsea Howe for the 2011 48 Hour Global Game Jam held in San Francisco. It is described to be, “lyrical interactive art as an action game,” since the whole notion of the game is to have the comets make it to Earth, but savor the journey with one another on the way there. Interactive flash games are considered a more complex version of browser games due to their typically advanced graphic design. With “The End of Us” being described as “lyrical,” this can root from how soft, almost-heavenly sounding music plays in the background as your comet dances around the other, creating a sense of lyrical dance to the song itself. New beats come into the song as the comets pass over the small and larger stars; the comets make their own music and dance together. This lyrical-like game can suggest that players that life itself is a dance or a song; an instance where we make our own decisions, moves or beats, to create something purely our own. With both dances and songs, there must come the inevitable end as is the same with life that is ever fleeting.

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When playing this game, I used only the four arrow controls on my keyboard to move my comet throughout space. Only for a short amount of time you are the lone comet and when the other comet runs beside you, it begins to mimic your movements as they begin to play tag with one another, a reminder of childhood games. When time passes, there are colorful space clouds the comets fly under. They emerge larger in size and with this, one could guess that this is symbolic of maturation as the comets grow up so to speak. With this whole section, the small and large white stars appear and as the comets pass over them, they create a twinkling sound into the background music. Personally, I saw this as thriving adulthood as they were making and collecting memories, each one a star within themselves; each star, or memory, adds music to their lives possibly. As more time passes, the comets go through the clouds again and emerge with their light streaks more faded than ever, closer to death than to revitalizing life. Here, the comets battle through an asteroid belt. When I played, my purple comet went in front of the orange one, protecting it from harm, which may show how those we love are the ones we strive to protect and keep safe. It showed the importance of being selfless in the life we live. It may also be reference to how in life, there are many obstacles that come our way, but if we stick together, we can make it through those times. There was also a timer that showed at the top of the screen as the comets quickly approached Earth. Still, my comet went in front of the orange comet. When the few-seconds timer ran out, the Earth quickly becoming larger, the screen goes white to then reveal the remaining comet (mine was the orange comet I protected) with a very minute streak around it. The music then goes out when the comet loses its fire and you are unable to move the comet up until this point. It was very sad for me to see that the tiny stars in the background were purple now, the remnants of the purple comet. This made me think of how this comet’s presence still surrounds the one remaining and in that way, it did not truly die. It made me think that even when we pass on, we remain alive in the marks we made on others; that even with death, we leave a part of ourselves behind in those we love. I played two times and depending on which comet you clicked on, the outcome was the same with how one would die out, but it differed. Your personal comet did not survive from what I could tell, but the same message came through about life being short-lived.

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Overall, this game expressed the idea of life and death in such a memorable way through this overarching metaphor of the comet. It showed all of the stages of life in a musical and visually appealing way. I would recommend this game to anyone who wants to be immersed in this kind of idea of our lives being like a comet’s. What I find very interesting about this whole concept of the comet is the fact that we see Earth contains all life as we know it, and when we think of death, we typically imagine our souls leaving Earth. It is a hard thought to articulate…and it is unusual to be shown this perspective of life as a comet rather than something that lives on Earth itself. Because of this viewpoint, it was interesting to see how these comets headed towards this life-giving planet, yet sends the message that all things within Earth will eventually reach their end as well. This game can inspire one to fully live each day they have, which is cliché, but that does not mean it isn’t true. If life is as short as a comet’s streak across the sky, what would you do with that life? I think that is the question this game takes on in a very effective, metaphorical way. Like Morrison’s quote about himself being a comet, one day, each one of us will be gone, which is a morbid thought, but one that has to be understood to know exactly why each day counts for something grand in our short-lived lives. What streak do you hope to leave among the stars, lives, of those who came before you? Life is fleeting, so shine brightly on as the comet full of light until the end.

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“Do not go gentle into that good night.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”- Dylan Thomas.

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