PC Gamer

Developer Kan Gao released the first free *shudder* 'minisode' for To The Moon at around this time last year, and now another has been released, completely free. While it's the same sort of length as the first (around 20 minutes), Gao suggests that this one is "a tad more...important, plot-wise". Once again, you're stuck in a hospital playing as the two main scientist characters of To The Moon, as protestors do protesty things outside.

If you own To The Moon on Steam, you should find that the DLC has already been registered to your account. Otherwise, you can download it here. You don't need to own TTM, but it will probably make more sense if you've played that first.

With Sigmund Minisode 2 out of the way, Gao will be resuming work on To The Moon's full-fledged sequel, Finding Paradise. Meanwhile, one of Freebird's pixel artists, Jordan, is still in hospital undergoing chemotherapy; if you'd like to help out with either kind words or donations, there are details of how you can do so here.

Community Announcements - Reives
The new 20-minute short with Dr. Rosalene and Dr. Watts should now be updated into your Steam folder. c: It's currently Windows-only, but the Mac version should be incoming soon, with the Linux version sometimes this week.

Post & info here:
http://freebirdgames.com/2015/02/18/sigmund-minisode-2-released/

To play it, get the free DLC, and then launch the game manually from the To the Moon \ Minisodes folder in your Steam directory.
[Right click To the Moon from Steam library -> Properties -> Local Files tab -> Browse Local Files]

Hope you enjoy it!
PC Gamer
Announcement - Valve
Today's Deal: Save 75% on To the Moon!*

Look for the deals each day on the front page of Steam. Or follow us on twitter or Facebook for instant notifications wherever you are!

*Offer ends Saturday at 10AM Pacific Time
Product Release - Valve
A Bird Story is Now Available on Steam and is 15% off!*

From the creator of To the Moon: A simple, surreal short about a boy and an injured bird -- a narrative adventure without dialogues.

*Offer ends November 14 at 10AM Pacific Time
Community Announcements - Reives
Hey guys, just a heads up that A Bird Story's release date has been set (Friday November 7th, 2014). It will be available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, and will be available on Steam and other platforms.

It is a simple, ~1-hour short about a boy who found an injured bird.

Here's the trailer:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCSK0yrakxY

Page & info:
http://freebirdgames.com/games/a-bird-story/


Cheers guys, thanks for the support and helping to spread the word!

-Kan (@reives_freebird)
Kotaku


To the Moon, a lovely and emotionally evocative indie adventure game released in 2011, is getting a sequel... sorta.


The game's called A Bird Story, and it's a short adventure that will be out this summer. Creator Kan Gao likes to think of it as a bridge between the first and second To the Moons.


"It might be good to think of it more as a standalone game / story though, since all the characters are new (all 2 of them, counting the bird)," Gao told me in an e-mail last night. "I'm also a bit afraid that people'd think less of it since it's kind of a prequel to the 2nd 'full episode.' It's its own story, and although it's just about 30 minutes or so, I think of it as just as important as the 2nd ep."


Let's call it... To the Moon 1.5.


Announcement - Valve
Today's Deal: Save 66% on To the Moon!

Look for the deals each day on the front page of Steam. Or follow us on twitter or Facebook for instant notifications wherever you are!

Kotaku


The Indie Royale Bundle, er, bundlers are still at it. The new Fall Bundle, announced today, is completely worth it if for no other reason than to get To The Moon, a poignant, powerful game.


The bundle also includes strategy titles Oil Rush and Reprisal, adventure game The Blackwell Deception, and musical puzzler AVSEQ. Buyers who pay $8 or more also receive an "8-bit inspired" electronica album.


Since everyone ever should play To The Moon, this bundle's a great way to get it plus a bunch of other interesting indie games. But seriously: To The Moon. Just do it.


The Fall Bundle [Indie Royale]


Kotaku

Steam Users Can Now Buy To The Moon, A Game About Marriage, Memories, And So Much More To The Moon is now available on Steam, and for its launch week it'll only run you $7.99 instead of its normal $9.99. $10 gets you the version that also includes the soundtrack. That's why To The Moon is in the news this week. But that's not why people keep talking about it.


I put off playing To The Moon for months. Not because I thought it was terrible; far from it. A huge number of people I respect had showered it with glowing praise. It's just that I knew something of its subject matter: the memories of a man who survived his wife, at the end of his life.


I got married in the fall, only a few years ago. September is the harbinger of optimism and possibility, a mid-year new-year I have always relished. When the wind starts to smell of school and cider and needing a jacket in the morning but not in the afternoon, I don't want to be thinking about aging, and loss, and the inevitability of mortality.


I didn't know if I was strong enough to play a four-hour story game.


To The Moon almost always seems to end up being intensely personal. It lays bare one of the most unsettling human paradoxes, asking us if memory and experience are as intertwined as we think. Memory is a tricky field to play in; each of us hoards our own private pile of experiences, adding up to the sum total of our lives.


(Spoilers follow.)


And yet, rewriting a subjective reality through memory modification isn't the part of the game that haunted me. I've encountered metaphysics in my media before. Instead, what lingered with me when I tried to sleep was the picture of a life-long relationship, a decades-long marriage that fell to pieces as its partners aged.


We see the story of Johnny and River unfolding in reverse. When we meet him, she has already passed away; the moment where he and she first meet doesn't show up until near the end of the story. And so, before they have ever met, we see everything wrong with their relationship.


Tiny glimpses of their marriage show us that really, this pairing isn't healthy. There's something wrong deep in the core of it, something undermining the entirety of their lives together. And although early hints suggest the problem lies with River, the truth of the matter is far more complex. The major flaw in their marriage isn't River's Asperger's; it's John's reaction to it.


Johnny means well. And yet throughout their lives together, his concerns perpetually underestimate and undermine River's autonomy. He asks a doctor's office to silence a clock for her sake, even though she says the tick is fine. During an equine therapy session, he wonders, "Is that really a good idea?" prompting her to respond, "I'll be fine. I'm not a child." And then, most damningly, we see the conversation between John and his friend, Nick, before John asks River on their first date:


John: "Look, Nick. I just... I just don't wanna be another typical kid in a sea of typical people."
Nick: "But how the heck would being with her change your own identity? I mean, you'd just be some guy who hangs out with a shy girl."
John:"She's not just shy, Nick. There's something strange about her.
Nick: "Being strange isn't always a good thing, y'know. Do you even know if she wants to be different? Maybe she just wants to fit in like everyone else. And if she does, pushing her the other way wouldn't help, would it?"
John:"Look, Nick, the point is that I know what I need, and she's the one who has it.
Nick: "So you want her for what she has, but not for her? That's cold, man. I just hope you know what you're doing."
John:"I do."
Nick: "I think you're wrong, though."


The music, so much our guide through this story, heavily underscores Nick's words. And we, the players who saw the story of John and River's life together unfold in reverse, can finally see the cracked foundations upon which their whole relationship was built.


For a game to exist to examine relationships in depth is still painfully rare. For one to go beyond the initial years in which a relationship is formed is rarer still, and for a game to look at how marriage changes over the course of a lifetime is something I personally have never played through in another game.


Mostly, we still take our games' relationships in snippets, where we can. Games primarily about relationships are still fairly niche in American gaming. Occasionally one makes waves, but even the games that do have the beginnings of romance tend toward the formulaic, and don't ask the harder questions.


The repeated refrain that games need to grow up and address more mature subject matter is a common cry. To The Moon does. In just a few hours, it makes the player question not only the meaning of memory, but also the entire concept of happily ever after. And it does so by portraying non-neurotypical woman not as some magical healer, but as an actual person, with needs and priorities. For that alone it would be worth playing; the fact that it's put together very well as a game is the icing on the cake.


...

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