The End Of Us


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TrickyThe End Of USCreated by Michael Molinari (OneMrBean) and Chelsea Howe for the San Francisco 2011 48 Hour Global Game Jam, The End Of Us is a surprisingly evocative work about two meteors meeting and playing amidst the strangeness and charm of deep space. As much a piece of wordlessly lyrical interactive art as an action game, The End Of Us matches its play to an engaging soundtrack and offers a short but satisfying experience.

The End of Us is controlled with the [arrow] keys, and with the mouse. You direct your purple meteor as it flies through the starry cosmos and encounters a playful orange meteor. The two end up traveling, colorful paths trailing behind, swirling, bashing, collecting stars... There is little overt narrative, or stated goal in The End Of Us, but it is endearing all the same.

The End of Us is short enough that nearly anything I say about might feel like a spoiler. I will say that I always find it intriguing when game creators are able to evoke human characteristics in non-human objects, through actions rather than words. It is always better to show than to tell, and The End of Us puts on quite a nice show indeed. The slight air of pretension makes the ultimate artistic direction a little predictable, but none-the-less effective. In any case, I highly reccomend budgeting the two minutes it will take to play The End of Us: when those two meteors go round and round together, it's the rest of the world that looks so small.

Play The End of Us

31 Comments

Possibly the most bittersweet depressing game that I have played that involved little more than slamming rocks into one another. For that, it gets high marks from me.

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Of course.

Maybe avoiding the pagescroll when pressing up and down arrows would have helped. Like in "helped not to send a Terminators army @ the author's home".

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This game spoke to me. The purpose of these comets is so ambiguous; it speaks depths about human emotion. Were these two rocks merely playful travelers, meeting at a brief and, ultimately, meaningless point in time? Were they engaged in a long, arduous struggle for power over the stars? Or perhaps they were in love, dancing through the vast vacuum of space. I don't think I'll ever arrive at an answer to my questions. They'll haunt me until the day I die.

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I'm with Fritware on this one.

Questionably excellent so a "5?" from me :)

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Every game that OneMrBean makes seems to be a work of genius, to me, at least, this being no exception; I welcomed the shivers down my spine and the thought-provoking game.

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Speechless!

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Anonymous February 9, 2011 1:53 PM

It's a good game, give it 5 mushrooms people, why is it about 3!?

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It was touching. I found it horrifically sad that the two could never simply touch. Whenever they came close enough, one was simply smashed further away... it reminds me of the way that people distance themselves from each other. Someone comes close enough to truly know you, but you suddenly feel weak, and vulnerable, so you force them away. However, with people, eventually you stop distancing yourself from those you grow closest to, and I think the game might have had a hint more human meaning behind it if at the end the meteors were no longer playfully pushing each other away, but instead their gravity pulled them closer together.
Well, even without that, it's 5 mushrooms. Another masterpiece from OneMrBean.

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The scroll problem was enough to make me quit in about 45 seconds. How do you deal with that? (Be nice to a non-techno person, eh?)

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Anonymous February 9, 2011 4:47 PM

daveecee, The answer to your questions are under the game.

The title to me feels like it refers to the ending of there time toghether (the end of "us"), rather than the obvious.

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I don't know, I'm on the fence here. I figured out the following (I think) on the second play through:

The orange meteor mirrors your movements when you first interact. Then later it follows your exact movements, or if you bump it, leads the movements but does exactly as you do.

In terms of hitting the earth, you get a different outcome depending on who was traveling in front at the time of impact. The first time through, the orange guy was ahead of me, and the end screen showed my purple guy slowly fizzle out. The second time, I bumped my way into the front position, and I saw the orange guy slowly fizzle out at the end.

I assume the message is that you're friends (who are semi competitive with one another in the fight for stars/leading) and one supposedly sacrifices themselves for the other, who loses the will to live without their buddy? Not sure I love the message...

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Chiktionary Author Profile Page February 9, 2011 6:48 PM

Wow!
Simple yet profound.
To me, it was about the joyful exuberance of youth giving way to age. It was like two friends or companions journeying together, then one succumbing to age and the other travelling on alone until their light fades as well.
Beautiful.

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Thirding (I think?) the annoyance about the pagescroll - this is why I like being able to used WSAD instead of arrow keys. How does everyone else get around this?

Also, it lags like crazy on my computer, but pretty much all of the newer flash games do... same with youtube videos. Not sure why, my computer is only about 5ish years old, and it worked fine until recently.

In the end I could only stand it for about 15 seconds, though I'd really like to play the whole thing...

Any advice? [I'm using Firefox, but switching to other browsers - Chrome and IE - doesn't help the lag.]

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JoeNobody February 9, 2011 8:22 PM

I made the mistake of clicking with the mouse when Orange showed up. Apparently, doing so results in dual-controls: Purple with keyboard and Orange with mouse. So, I completely missed the experience everyone else is describing, and was merely left wondering... "Ok, so I can move them both around. Now what?"

The down-arrow-causes-browser-to-scroll-as-well problem was annoying enough I didn't bother to try it again the "right" way.

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I'm impressed by how well the game portrayed the friendship of the asteroids, given that the motion of the orange asteroid wasn't very complex.

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Thanks for the comments, everyone!

To anyone running into page scrolling issues, I just updated the game to allow for WASD control as well, so you should be able to play without much worry. Sorry about that!

@JoeNobody
It sounds like you accidentally stumbled upon the secret 2-player mode!

If you click on the game while the orange comet is visible, a second player can control it using the mouse. If you click once more, the orange comet will go back to being controlled by the game.

Again, thanks everyone for playing and commenting. Chelsea and I have been enjoying reading people's reactions and interpretations. :]

-Bean

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Poor orange comet

left all alone at the end. :(

At first I thought it would turn into the sun.

Then the purple comet (That I assume started life on earth) and the orange comet would still be working together...

Also, did anyone notice that the target on earth was Africa, where the first humanoids were? (Prolly coincidence.)

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Absolutely beautiful. This is gorgeous, a jewel. It made me cry.

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Okay so I tried the game again, with WSAD control, and enjoyed it quite a bit!

I am a little confused about the end - the numbers started counting down, but before they finished (?) a larger asteroid appeared. I tried to pull ahead but I'm not sure if I succeeded - I /thought/ I hit it first, but a bunch of cracks appeared in the orange buddy. I bumped into him/her, figuring orange was about to fade away or die, but instead, after I did so, purple faded away. Orange flew along for a while, then faded as well. My question is, why did Orange crack while Purple didn't, and why did Purple fade at that point?

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As usual..One Mr Bean and co-creator, Chelsea Howe have hit another "actions speak louder than words" game of pure delight. The soundtrack is captivating while the space-traveling duo romp happily through space. Two thumbs up and 5 stars from me!

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you can controll your orange buddy if you click on the screen and move the mouse around

Fun game a little sad tho

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Krizpy, the target was actually India.

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@segaahern
JoeNoBody found that out, and OneMrBean confirmed that already.

@loki
I just tried the game again on single-player mode, and as far as I can tell, the AI is programmed to be in front of you (even if it needs to move off screen to do so) for the first asteroid, and it is programmed to be behind you (even if it needs to move off screen to do so) for the second. The AI is then set on two functions after that:


A) If you are on the top half of the screen, the AI is set to be behind you, so the orange meteor will 'survive'.
B) If you are on the bottom half of the screen, the AI is set to be ahead of you, so the purple meteor will 'survive'.

Of course, the word 'survive' is placed in quotes for obvious reasons.

This does make me experiment with something about the two-player mode:

In the two player mode, the meteor that got hit by the first asteroid WILL survive if it hits the second. I was hoping for a loophole here.

A perfectly healthy meteor will die if it hits earth, and the perfectly healthy meteor will also follow in its partners footsteps in the end. Similarly, looking for a loophole.

@Holly
You made some really important points about the meteors not hitting each other - and it was after this point that I decided to really analyze the AI system:

YOUNG:
1) Purple flies by itself. No AI.

2) Orange flies into Purple on opposite side of Purple. Orange programmed to keep a set radius away from Purple.

3) Orange set to fly around Purple for a second.

4) Orange set to fly behind Purple until magnetic storm cloud.

5) At storm cloud, Orange will fly on the mirrored side of Purple (ie, if you fly on the right side, it will fly on the left, if you fly middle, it will fly middle).

MIDDLE:
6) Orange begins with mirrored movement.

7) When stars begin, Orange starts following star path.

8) After a while, Orange will try to circle you (but is too big, so will hit you quite a few times), then go away and sit still for a moment.

9) Orange does the same thing as above again.

10) Orange follows you.

11) Orange goes ahead of you and Purple (you) follow Orange.

12) At magnetic storm cloud, Orange mirrors Purple.

OLD:
13) Orange starts with mirrored movement.

14) When counter starts, Orange will overtake you, and get hit by the asteroid first.

15) When counter starts again, Orange will fall behind you, and you will get hit by the asteroid.

16) When counter starts for Earth, Orange will fight to either remain behind you or in front of you, and this decision is set when counter reaches red numbers. If you are on lower half of screen, Orange will be in front of you and will die. If you are on top half of screen, Orange will be behind you and you will die.

----

Here's my food for thought:

In the young stage, you two just meet, and just like young children, will play some chase. When Orange circles and follows you, it symbolizes how close you two have gotten.

In the middle stage, you two play around with the stars, trying to compete with each other. Sometimes you will win, sometimes Orange will win, and even when Orange is unhappy, Orange will perk right back up and play with you again.

In the old stage, both of you become frail. Orange can't bear to see you hurt, so it takes the first hit, and you realize that Orange can't take another hit so you take the second. When the third, much larger rock (Earth) looms ahead, the two of you fight it out to save each other... and whoever survives can not bear to go on without the other.

To me, this message is very much like "...But that was [Yesterday]" in terms of friendships. In a way, the young version felt like the Green friend, the middle part being a bit more like the Pink girl, and then the very end... well, I would say is like the part where you have to crash into the black wall, except there is no dog to save you this time.

It is nice to see such a long lasting friendship, which makes it sadder when one must fall. It reminds me of one of the curses of long life - even if you don't die, your friends still will, and you will end up with a life by yourself. A life of no friendship is a very empty one. And don't start saying that you don't have any friends - no matter how strong we are, we still rely on someone for some sort of support: moral, emotional, social...

For reasons like [Yesterday], the idea of friendship speak out a lot more than the original theme of "extinction" - that's a good thing for me because I never really liked "extinction". -.-

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This is excellent.

I'm amazed that the authors were able to make this work.

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Thanks for the comment, Anon. I assume something went wrong with my playthrough, in that case. I only came across the one asteroid, never the earth.

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In the end,

the stars change color to the color of the comet that crashed. A reminder of the fallen?

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I think how you view the two meteor's relationship says a lot about how you view people. I really got the feeling that they were freinds.

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My take on this game:

the first stage is meeting a new friends, as young meteors
the seccond stage is a friendly competition or how we will always be different from our friend, and mid age meteors
the third stage is how a friend will protect us from harm. as old dying meteors...the final stage...

it's hard to move on knowing that your best friend died to save you

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Hmmm... it is a very intriguing little game, two comets, endlessly crashing and playing around, a metaphor for human emotion, the fragilty of the human condition, the world we live in today, and what we want from our lives... or maybe its just rocks crashing into each other in space....

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Orange never showed up. I feel depressed now.

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A truly fantastic webtoy. @NEko: Your take reminds me of when St. Augustine wished he had done something that should no be said on such a site as this when his unnamed friend died. For those who can handle it, read the Confessions to know what I mean.

The toy gets 4/5.

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