The Ugly Monster
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The Ugly Monster

Playing Every Game in the Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality

PEGBRJE: Towayami

Darkness ends the page

So uh, how exactly am I supposed to get a good picture here?

Ever wanted to know what it is like to live in total darkness? Towayami is a graphic-less narrative puzzle game created by Andrea Pignataro, an indie developer operating out of Italy. Players will follow the story of a young individual living in Japan after a catastrophic event engulfs the land in darkness. The thing is, that darkness is not just a lack of sunlight; light almost ceases to exist.

Core to this game, Towayami is played without any visual indicator of what the world or the setting looks like. Instead, players will explore through ‘touch’ alone. This is indicated by a change in the hand icon that replaces the mouse cursor. It’s reminiscent of old text-based adventures, where the character is inferred to be in the centre of the screen and simple actions can be taken to move through the different rooms.

To interact with things, the right and left mouse buttons determine just how ‘bold’ the player will be in their attempt to touch the object. Right clicking will inspect the object, revealing what it is to the player while left click will interact with the object if possible. Simply interacting with objects can be dangerous as the player cannot see what the object is, nor is there ever any label after inspection.

This lack of visual information drives the core of the puzzle generation, as players will be attempting to memorize what they have inspected and what is discovered as they go. It is a simple puzzle mechanic in discovering items and how they interact with the rest of the world, but the lack of visual confirmation makes it impossible to simply bumble around and hope. Much of the difficulty will come from panning across the screen in every room and trying to recall what each item in the room is without having to constantly inspect it.

Towayami is a representation of the reliance that we as game developers and players have with visual graphics and their feedback. We come to expect that text will supplement the game, but the graphics will always be an easy point of reference to fall back on lest the text fails. But in a world coated in darkness — something many people experience due to varying degrees of blindness — players cannot expect to understand what they cannot see without some form of interaction. They need to read the text and understand what each item in each room is, learn their associations and the context of the entire house. It’s exhausting to do, but necessary.

Towayami is a terrifying realization of how much I love my ability to see, even with glasses. The puzzles aren’t hard, but the setting makes it feel impossible to understand, and that’s before the terrors start slowly seeping in. It will make you feel awkward just playing it, and you will either love its execution or dread every second of it. Regardless of which, you can still appreciate the idea as a whole and how it brings awareness to how much we rely on sight to do anything. If this is an experience you are willing to explore, I suggest you do so.

The software on this page of the bundle will come later. I didn’t realize that the page would end so quick again.

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Jacob Vorstenbosch

Jacob Vorstenbosch

Just a Game Dev who decided to take on the monumental task of giving an overview of all 59 pages in the bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. We keep going.