Krikket highlighted a massive 740+ indie gamestuff bundle over at Itch.io, proceeds donated to good causes, in the wake of ongoing events.
This derailed most of my Sunday as I wound up sorting through the massive amount of stuff in the bundle. It’s an indie game dev bundle, so there is a lot of dross (amateur creations, buggy stuff) among some gold, but we’ll take it as all of the game contributors’ hearts as being in the right place.
I jumped at it mostly for the tabletop RPG stuff – I love collecting and reading indie RPG PDFs, even if I never play them. Solo RP also appears to be taking off lately, between the introduction of the concept this past couple of years and recently, the coronavirus stay-home situation.
I hope to highlight more of the gold as I work through the bundle, but for now, this is a quickie that greatly surprised me.
It’s available free on Itch.io, even if you don’t get the bundle, and is a mini 5 minute web browser experience as a Unity game. Kintsugi by purplelilgirl.
At first glance, it seems super-basic.
You click a shape that represents some pottery; it falls and breaks.
You pick up the pieces, one at a time, and attempt to jigsaw them back into place.
As long as the piece is in the right place, it’ll magically stick there, ignoring gravity and physics for convenience. Once every piece is restored, the areas between the cracks fill in with gold, and you’re done with that shape.
There are only 5 shapes, so it’s not a very long game either.
Kintsugi, as the game description tells you, and a wikipedia search can elaborate on, is the Japanese art of mending broken pottery by repairing the cracks with metallic lacquer, usually gold.
In a 5 minute meditative experience with some calming (if loud) music, the game wordlessly teaches you the themes behind this concept.
It makes you witness the initial accident, the crash, the shattering of a complete shape into broken pieces. Some shapes are easily mended, the later shapes may inspire an initial despair at ever being able to put it back together again.
It asks you to be the kintsugi craftsman, picking up each piece and attempt to put the broken shards back into the place. Like all mending and repair, literal and figurative, some patience and perseverance is required.
It then shows you, visually, the results of that process. The cracks, the flaws, highlighted with gold.
At some point, it may occur to you that it even looks better and more beautiful than the original.
And with that, the game is done, having said what it had to say.
For real world examples of Kintsugi, I found this article from Colossal to be short yet illuminating.