To The Moon is a commercial indie game created with the RPG-Maker XP by Freebird Games. Well, it’s not really a “game” as such; it’s more an interactive story. Here is a description of the game from the official site:
“There exists a technology that allows doctors to weave artificial memories, such that a patient can request attempts to alter their mind, and wake up with memories of things that didn’t actually happen. However, since these new memories are permanent, the conflict between them and the existing authentic memories clash in such a way that it ceases the person’s ability to properly function. Thus, the operation is only done to people on their deathbeds, to fulfill what they wish they had done with their lives… but didn’t.
The technology requires the doctors to step into the memories of the patient, which are reconstructed as interactive scenes. The doctors then gradually traverse backwards through memories of the patient’s life until they reach childhood — at which point, the wish of the patient in present time would be transferred over. Along with the doctors’ influence, the patient (as a child) could then lead an entire different life inside their head, working toward and fulfilling their dying wish themselves. And if all goes well, they would wake up, having lived the dream life they never had, and embrace a brief moment of blissful fulfillment. Shortly after, they’d draw their last breath.
This particular story follows Dr. Rosalene and Dr. Watts’ attempt to fulfill the dream of the dying elderly man, Johnny. In their mission to do so, they traverse backwards through the man’s memories, unfolding his curious life story before their eyes.
With each step back in time, a new fragment of Johnny’s past is revealed. And as the two doctors piece together the puzzled events that spanned a life time, they seek to find out just why the frail old man chose his dying wish to be what it is.”
The game uses art in retro style and has its own composed soundtrack. The music is perfect! It’s so emotional and every track fits perfectly to the scenes. Just listen to it and you’ll know what I mean. The soundtrack is available on Bandcamp and 50% of the profit goes toward charities for autism. However, the best thing about the game is the story of course. I have to say that I was never so emotionally touched by a game before. It is funny, sad, heartbreaking, and thrilling at the same time. The characters are full of life and the setting is impressing.
To The Moon was released on November 1, 2011 in English. On March 28, 2012, the game was officially translated and released in German. Unfortunately, this time I was not involved in the German translation but I’ll try to help with the second installment once it’s out. There are a lot of other translations in the works. I only played the English version so far but based on what I’ve seen, the German translation seems to be very well done.
If you love interactive heartbreaking stories, you definitely have to give this a try! There’s also a free demo on the website. Here’s the link to the official website: www.freebirdgames.com/to_the_moon