Wow, I don't know what to feel or think or say. There are others more articulate than I am, more intelligent or more moral and would know what the real answer should have been. All I could do was cover its smushed little face with flowers. :(
Compassion is an interactive narrative experiment about dealing with getting help when you’re in pain, which is sometimes harder than dealing with the pain itself.
It is also an experiment for me to learn how to use Construct2 with something with as little scope as possible!
FX and Music by Fingerspit @thefingerspit
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this game teached me something.
That was… Very inspiring and very sad. Thank you.
Short and evocative, not to mention the beautiful art and subtle sound design (or were those tweets my imagination...?)
guys i think the best option is to just adorn it with flowers (I think im not sure)
i don't wanna do this :(
Rest in peace little swallow, I sure hope having your head crushed with a rock was how you wanted to go.
Does anything look more dead than a dead bird?
Don't know if I'd have it in me to truly do this, but I'd like to think I could do the right thing.
This game is very sad.. The only thing I could do is put it out of its misery.. I covered its head in flowers.. It's a game that makes you think. <:')
This was such a lovely short game, thank you for the experience. I didn't have it in me to use the stick or rock, so I'm leaving this game after adorning the bird in flowers. I'm not sure what the compassionate choice here truly is, to leave the bird or to help it pass. My decision here may be more self serving, to let the bird's suffering be prolonged, and I like that such a short game is making me question what's compassion vs my own personal comfort.
i was BAWLING over this game. i tried to find a different solution, there was none, until i noticed that the stick can be right clicked with.
you can poke the bird.
for some reason ,this made me even more distraught, since it gave you the same comments about compassion, even though you made it suffer even more, essentially :(
love the game and its symbolicity, however i will cry over over this for a few days thank you
There have been a lot of games that were difficult for me to complete. Maybe I didn't want it to be over, or there were hard puzzles.
The moment I opened the game and saw the stone, I knew exactly how to end this game, the way it finished. It was a brutal reality.
I ran through the dialogue many times, praying for an alternate solution. I didn't even want to know what function the stick might serve.
This was, for lack of another term, beautiful in a hard to describe and sorrowful sense.
One of the most heart-wrenching short games I've ever played. Thank you for writing out so succinctly why compassion is important to both the person giving and receiving it, and why resisting compassion isn't a sign of strength.
"Compassion is a brave choice," will always make me tear up every time I think about it and this game.
why didnt you add a choice to pick up the bird and help it :(
A short, sad game. It tells a story in one of the most original ways I've ever seen. Beautiful
this is the hardest i've cried in a long time. i really didn't want to kill the bird and it took me so long it actually do it. i put all the flowers on them first and covered their face because i couldn't look at them when i dropped the rock. i am autistic and have a lot of empathy towards animals, including fictional ones. this was very hard and very beautiful. it felt like i was killing a part of myself.
do well, bird
I didn't think of the game as implying anything about what you should do if you see an actual bird in this situation. It's art, and art doesn't have to be literal. Personally, I saw the bird as embodying vulnerability -- the player's or someone else's -- and the choices we make when we encounter that vulnerability.
I didn't kill the bird. I covered it in flowers and closed the game. I just didn't have the heart to! The animation and art are so good and deeply affecting, so it's hard to see it as just a choice in a game, even when it's the choice you want to make.
I really loved this. It's a short experience but hit harder than anything I've played recently. Great job!
I collected all the flowers before closing the game because I did not want to kill or make the bird suffer more. It was heartbreaking, but a very good short game.
An utterly heartbreaking experience!
This is a really wonderful and thought provoking game. Hands down one of the most powerful short games I've played.
im really glad i played this today.
cw// personal stuff:
i just had surgery after being in horrible chronic pain for 3 months (and of and on pain for years) and this is what ive needed. unfortunately ive felt very alone through out all of this so this game was sorta like the hug i needed. thank you
Thank you for playing it, i'm super happy to hear that it made you feel that way. Wish you the best for post-surgery!
It's so sad seeing someone suffering from pain.
I wish I could help that little bird :(
It worrys me that my first thought was to go for the rock.....
what do i do with the stick--
Me and my friend played this together and cried, it's very sad but also strangely beautiful at the same time.
This hit way too close to home omg
i wish i could take this bird to a vet or something, just make it feel better
i killed the bird in the end, but not before covering it in flowers.
Man, this hurted me inside. I thought that i needed to kill the bird. I am looking forward to make games with simple gameplay and narrative, but with great impacts.
Sometimes i feel anxious and empty about making my own games when i see the amount of games that already exist, like a single water drop in the ocean that soon will be forgotten. But, when i play these small games like yours, i remember that my games don't need to be "famous" to be memorable.
Sorry for my english, i still need to practice.
This game kind of makes me uncomfortable because it hits too close to home.I dont know how to be vulnerable with people. And even if i try, all my relashionships end up being superficial even if i open up, am i the shalow one then? I wish i could be vulnerable, i wish i tolerated compassion from others and i wish i didint associated being in pain with being weack.
I've been struggling with the same feelings since always too. I'd like to say that it gets easier as you keep trying, but it feels extremely painful every time still, getting older and more patient doesn't make it any less hard and fucked to be vulnerable- But I do feel like it's worth it to keep trying to understand the puzzle that being compassionate with your own self is, since the pain goes away the next day or week or month and what's left is a step forward.
Thank you so much for your comment, keep going!
Closed without killing the bird. I feel like compassion was just keeping it company for a while and feeling for it. Seeing some comments here about how it's wrong to put the player in the position where the only option is violence but I think it's important to remember (in the world of video games where violence is often the main tool we're given to interact with the world given to us) that there's always another option - no one can force you to do anything. (Of course you're not going to spend $60 on a AAA title like GTA only to turn it off when you're given a gun, but this is different.) Though I was honestly tempted to kill the bird because I often play out games to see multiple endings, I couldn't do it. I wonder if I made the right choice?
Reminds me of a baby squirrel my boyfriend and I tried to save. I cried a lot when it died, it was so small and fragile. I hope that we were able to comfort it in its last moments - we only had it for an hour or two. That might be anthropomorphizing a bit, but we found it on the sidewalk and brought it inside and kept it warm in a washcloth. The thing is, most people would probably not have tried to help, and I understand - it hurts a lot to get invested even a little. It's easier to look away.
If this were real life I might have tried to take the bird home in a shoebox. But that wasn't an option, so I closed the game when I was done clicking the flowers. I understand that you're put in a position where you want to do *something* for the bird, but if you don't like the options given to you, you don't have to take them.
oh god what did i do to the poor bird. i wish there was a another way
Really beautiful illustrations. I get the metaphor but that's still pretty hard to look at and do in this game.
To all of you who read my comment: stay informed about associations, shelters or structures that are close to your home and know how to deal with an injured animal (and try to heal). Sometimes an association exists in your town or the next town and you don't know it. Concerning birds, if you see one on the ground and wounded, put a piece of tissue in a cardboard box, put the bird in it, and try to give it a few water drops by letting it drop in the corner of its beak (if you see its throat swallowing the water, that's a good sign, continue very slowly; otherwise stop so as not to drown it or hurt more!) then bring the bird to a care associations/"bird care and protection". That's a great thing to do when this kind of association/shelter exists near your place
I'm aware this is a metaphor, not speaking to actual birds. As a metaphor I'll admit it falls flat because you... flatten the bird's head with a fucking rock.
But people in the comments are addressing it literally so I'd like to address that.
Coming at this as someone who did animal intelligence/ethics as my BSc project - 'suffering ends with death'. It's a bit situational. Generally if I found a dying animal it would depend on which animal it is. A dying swallow might find my presence distressing. Projecting the idea that a bird doesn't want to die alone could lead to this animal, a prey animal, feeling distress more than needed in its final moments.
Be aware, commenters, of anthropomorphising actual wild animals. Do your research if you do want to help them. In some cases expediting their death IS kinder. Believing that you don't get to 'make choices for it' ignores that it didn't choose to be dying.
This applies if an animal is beyond help, I mean. If its death is imminent and painful it is kinder to kill it. Simple as. Choosing to let it suffer because you, a human, don't want to use your rational mind because you think you 'have no right' is wilfully denying our duty to reduce animal suffering.
Nature's brutal. Humans don't have to be.
I loved reading your perspective on this, the way we humans view other creatures' suffering is a huge point that I wanted to reflect on with this game.
I find that there's a lot of human perspectives and emotions playing a big role in our decisionmaking when the subject is an animal's pain. There's so much that we instinctively get wrong!
Thank you so much for playing and for your comment❤︎
No problem! It's a good experience that can get people thinking and talking. I love swallows in particular, poor little scrap.
thank you, this is very informative
What I appreciate most about this experience is how it brings forward what is usually an underlying theme of literature. Pain and how the ones around you experience it are otherworldly, what can seem normal to you is completely foreign to them. I like this little project because it uses a universal theme of mercy to make the player care enough to read through the text, rather than just clicking through them. Although the end result is graphic, this kind of compassion is necessary. What i really enjoyed as well was the dialogue acted as if an inner monologue each time i put a flower on the bird. We are all figuring out life, and most of the times it's better if we help each other! Awesome little game, the community needs more developers like you!
P.S. i didn't use the rock until i ran out of flowers. Don't poke a suffering bird you jerks!
yep, same, i kinda get the idea of the bird speaking as a clue as to what I'm gonna do. :(
IMHO the use of a bird (or any other animal) as a subject for this kind of experience is extremely wrong and morally harmful for the player. We don't know what a bird feels and wants, and even if in some cases ending their life would be beneficial (as not to feel pain anymore), many player could misunderstand the meaning behind this and feel entitled to choose between life and death of an animal.
An anthropomorphous being or a human would have been better, in my opinion.
I hope I explained my thought well enough.
That's a very good point, and I agree.
I used the dying bird as a metaphor because it's a fairly common thing that everyone has probably encountered at some point in their lives, it's a ?mundane? picture. I never thought about the possible misunderstanding that using it as a metaphor can lead to, and I feel very strongly that having the ability to reason doesn't give you the right to rationalize animals feelings, but at the same time.... I would make a choice if I encountered this situation irl again. But I guess that would make for another game!
Thank you for your comment!❤︎
Great execution, beautiful visuals and interesting message.
Yet I am not sure, as it is a bird, isn't it too anthropomorphising to give them readable thoughts, and to project on them a very human-like understanding of their pain and of its cessation ?
If I can't ease the pain of a creature or give them a little comfort, I'd rather leave the creature alone, to not scare them, and i would not kill them as I don't know if they believe that "dead" is better than "in pain but alive".
I'd definitely consider the option for a human being, whom I can understand, but doing this choice for a creature that probably doesn't think like us, I don't really see this as compassionate ?
Interesting game, anyway.
I was not trying to put the thoughts into an animal, but putting the player into the scene by using the imagery of a fairly common situation. But as it is, the game is too vague to feel that way.
I strongly don't believe we have the right to make decisions onto other beings based off our own perception of how things feel for us, and reflecting on this topic would make for another game.
Thank you for your comment, really appreciate it! ❤︎
I think I understand. Thanks for your reply and clarifying your intentions. It is true that this situation is common and a good bunch of people lived it, so you were probably right to use this imagery, it really makes your game relatable, even if it kind of blurred the message for me.
If you ever explore the question of interspecies perceptions and choices in one of your future works, I'll be glad to give it a look :)