old man and the sea.

kind of just listen to the music

Game Description


You are on a boat with Hemingway. Talk to the man. Enjoy the music and the a m b i a n c e.

Move with WASD or arrow keys. Interact with E.

Some thoughts:

You are on a boat with Hemingway. And what do you do when you’re on a boat with someone? You shoot the shit, talk about life. Old Man and the Sea has a very relaxing atmosphere. It has four songs and four times of day that change as you speak with Hemingway. The game puts no pressure on the player to do anything, it is meant to be a relaxing experience you can sink into with minimal friction.

My initial idea was to create a “choiceless choice-based” game. I had an ambitious idea for a branching narrative but with too much momentum for the player to escape their fate. Hemingway would hold you on his boat and would not allow you to go back to land, no matter how many times you asked or what you did to try and escape. Eventually you would end up joining Che Guevara in Africa and dying in combat, through no fault of your own.

As I worked on this, I gradually simplified this idea until I landed on an admittedly experimental experience. At first it may seem like the player has no choices; all they “can do” is speak to Hemingway or drive the boat (though there is nowhere to go). I spent a lot of time thinking about the types of choices that matter to me in games. I reflected on one of my favorite games of all time, Skate 3. It has a game mode, Free Skate, where you freely skate around the map, doing tricks, if you want, on any interesting spot you find. A lot of times I would go home after school, turn on Skate 3, leave my player idling in a scenic location, and listen to the Skate 3 soundtrack as I worked on homework, glancing at the TV every so often. For me, the single most meaningful choice a game can give is the pace of play. I love it when a game removes all the timers, enemies, combat, risk, etc. and leaves you with a deliciously atmospheric world that can be enjoyed just as much by speedrunning through it than by doing nothing at all. For Old Man and the Sea, I tried to make a game like this. The final product reminds me of when I was a kid playing Pokemon and I’d meet an interesting NPC with a lot of text lines and I would spend a few minutes reading what they had to say.

I sought out to create a minimalistic “smelling the flowers” type of experience. Enjoy the music, the colors, the reading, etc. Subjectively, I enjoy the final project and have found myself playing it in the background as I multi-tasked on other things. I learned that good writing can pull a lot of weight when it comes to game design; previously I created exclusively action/system based games so this was a refreshing change. Next time I will make a game with more characters and areas; I think the stylistic choices from this game can extend to a more complex experience.

P.S. u can drive de boat


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