Author Topic: A Bird Story Discussion Thread  (Read 6865 times)

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Tumbles

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A Bird Story Discussion Thread
« on: November 08, 2014, 12:22:21 AM »
I figured that until there's a discussion board for A Bird Story, we should at least have a temporary discussion thread. :seraismile:

Please note for those who haven't played it yet that this thread may contain some spoilers. So, you know... play it first.

So, what did you think of the game? :seraismile:

I really like it, personally. I feel that it becomes apparent early on that you can't look at it as a piece of realism, otherwise you'll just get confused. I found it's best to go in with an open mind, and try not to figure out every little thing, or which parts are dreams, or which are reality. At least the first time, I enjoyed just being lost in the whimsy of it all.

The fact is that there are gonna be a lot of interpretations about the story, and none will be necessarily wrong or right, and I think that's the way it was designed. It's something different to everyone, and that's kinda cool. :vikonsmile:

EDIT: This is my favourite review so far: http://steamcommunity.com/id/mrninjasquirrel/recommended/327410/
It sums up my feelings towards the game in a way that I never could.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2014, 12:29:26 AM by Tumbles »

Spoiler: show


                                         

~

Dragon Mage

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Re: A Bird Story Discussion Thread
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2014, 12:42:47 AM »
Kan did it again and poor sensitive little me didn't stand a chance :'( But that aside the game definitely had shown improvements since the last game release like sound effects used, spriting?, music and what not. I found the game both humorous and adorably cute in most scenes and more sad near the end. Yes I was confused when I saw . . . ahem, a few things at first but in the end, it was still really enjoyable. To me it made more sense then The Mirror Lied. :platquack:
And now eagerly waiting for "Finding Paradise" :)
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darkknight109

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Re: A Bird Story Discussion Thread
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2014, 02:41:17 AM »
A very interesting game. Much more surreal than To the Moon, but still quite enjoyable. I wasn't sure about the whole "story without words" angle this game took, but it sold me on it pretty quickly. It was fun and quirky at points, but the overall narrative felt very strong.

I am now eagerly awaiting Finding Paradise.

A Fat Kid

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Re: A Bird Story Discussion Thread
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2014, 03:19:17 AM »
Well, I've only played it once so far, so I'll be missing out on all the interpretative stuff and whatnot, and I'll probably miss a good deal of symbolism. That said, here goes a review for my first run. As with all my posts, it's going to be a lot longer than I had hoped it will be.

Spoiler: show
A Bird Story is not what you'd expect it to be. It is not To the Moon, and does not try to achieve what TtM did. The player must walk in with a blank slate, and take it for what it is. All of Reives' games are narrative (with the exception of TML), and each is emotionally evocative. Yet, each is unique, and possess their own strengths. A Bird Story does not stray from this.

ABS is a short that borders between a boy's imagination and reality. The transition between them is silky smooth, and for an unknown reason I never stopped to ridicule at the absurdity of it all. The entire game is presented in a surreal manner, and it all fits.

Either an act of bravery or madness, Reives forsakes one of his greatest strengths. ABS has no dialogue at all. It communicates with the player through its beautifully composed soundtrack and its expressive sprites alone, and it works. Removing all text increases the player's attention on the sound and animations, and ABS boasts an impressive arsenal of each, bringing every 16-bit character to life.

The production quality of ABS is beyond that of any previous title. There is attention to detail in every scene, from the clock in the boy's room that varies with the time of day, to each window in the school having different exteriors. The paper plane segment shows off the game's beautiful backgrounds, and even the clouds the player sails through are visually impressive. The only place that I think requires work, in fact, is the exterior of the apartment, where the texture of the floor tiles display RMXP's limitations.

The game retains the humour of its predecessor, but it is handled in a more subtle way. No longer are emotional moments broken by invasive jokes, yet the game doesn't feel as emotionally draining as DYRML. Well done on striking the balance.

Perhaps my favourite part of the game, and the part which I found most emotional, was the forming of the bond between the boy and the bird. It was reminiscent of a scene in How to Train Your Dragon. The formation of a friendship without words, shown only through play and character interaction. It's charming, adorable, and it strikes in a way words will never be able to.

ABS is, like each Freebird game, bittersweet. But this time, Reives gave it an extra sugary glaze. It illustrates the power of good writing and a moving soundtrack. It is a personal story meant to connect with the player, and demonstrates how the most simplistic, ordinary actions can carry more emotional weight than an excessively extravagant adventure to save the world. It is an ordinary story, about an ordinary boy who takes in an ordinary bird. Reives once again delivers to players what is so sorely missing in the films, books and games of our day: heart.


TL;DR

It's nice.

Pretzle

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Re: A Bird Story Discussion Thread
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2014, 04:15:19 AM »
Something I really love: The moving trees to make a new path, it looks smooth and it's fun. I also love that there are different kinds of trees in the forest, instead of only having one type :)

I laughed out loud several times during my first playthrough. So many cute and fun moments in ABS (like when the teacher throws the boy OVER the wall to the corridor... lol) and ofcourse the boy looking around the corner trying to catch the bird when he's not hiding in the plant :D

I'm not sure about some (a lot) of the symbolism and what it means to me at this moment, but I definitely enjoyed watching/playing this the first time! (Yes, even came back to the forum after a very long break to post this).
~ Searching for a lunar rainbow ~

Dragon Mage

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Re: A Bird Story Discussion Thread
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2014, 04:20:03 AM »
I knew some people were gonna return to the forums :) Welcome back Pretzle! I heard there is a bunny in a tree somewhere in A Bird Story, I wonder where and when it is.
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Sun

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Re: A Bird Story Discussion Thread
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2014, 04:30:26 AM »
It was a touching little piece of art.

I really like how subtle Kan's storytelling is. How he trusts in his audience to figure out the details from the hints they are given. Like, from the start on, I was wondering why the boy has to tuck himself in. And voilą, parental presence comes only in the form of notes on the fridge and an invisible person covering him with a blanket when he falls asleep on his desk (instead of carrying him to bed).

I'm still wondering about a lot of things. The mixture of reality and surreality made me wonder whether he has a very vivid imagination, but then, Kan has already replied to people posting on Steam that it's a sign of him remembering these events, and obviously not remembering them exactly how they went.

And I found it interesting how both share similarities. Like, the boy sort of has no parents and the bird is separated from its mother. Or that they both are playful. The boy has found a kindred spirit in an unlikely form. And it's someone who cares about him (inviting the other children to play on the teeter-totter with him) when there seems to be nobody else that does (absent parents, teacher that finds him asleep in class just kicking him out).

When the courtesy 3 months have passed (so as not to impede sales), I wonder whether I should upload my Let's Play (made it yesterday already) with an analysis. If I do, I hope you guys don't mind when I snatch any brilliant observations you mention in this thread or elsewhere on the forum. Because as I was playing, I really wanted to grasp the story and felt there is a lot of depth to discover.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2014, 04:33:37 AM by Sun »

Pilgrim

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Re: A Bird Story Discussion Thread
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2014, 05:15:10 AM »
Ah, well done on another wonderful story! Once again confirming that games can indeed be emotionally engaging works of art! This was a breath of fresh air amongst the mainstream mass of blockbuster titles, proving that a well written story, clever use of simple visuals and a breathtaking soundtrack can combine to create a truly memorable experience.

It will certainly take a few playthroughs to really grasp some of the finer details and symbolism; but the experience definitely treads the line well - being surreal enough to create intrigue and mystery, without being too confusing. At every point, I knew the overall plot and what was going on, but there are certainly a few questions lingering that I'm very much looking forward to exploring on future playthroughs.

As I understand it, the entire game takes place in this boys memories, the first scene suggesting we're taking a step back in time to explore this most poignant of life events. A few scenes with the 'boy' as an elderly man with grey hair 'observing' the scene perhaps adding to this.  This allows Kan to play around with the world, with dream sequences and plenty of fun ways of delivering that 'as the boy remembered it' effects. It works very well, and while I don't fully understand it all, I'm looking forward to having some deep discussions about the nuance of some of the scenes.

The soundtrack is brilliant, and so important to telling the story in this world void of dialogue. I immediately bought the soundtrack after my playthrough - this is definitely To The Moon standard, and I see more 'Best Music' awards in the near future!

Looking forward to following the progress of Finding Paradise - no doubt another masterpiece in the making!

Dev J Chand

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Re: A Bird Story Discussion Thread
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2014, 09:44:13 AM »
I must say I like the fact that Kan can give the feeling of being in the past without using fine grain. I hope the follow up to To the Moon doesn't have the fine grain filter. Just say that they upgraded the machine in between games.

Sun

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Re: A Bird Story Discussion Thread
« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2014, 05:56:26 AM »
Wondering what this whole flight symbolism meant. Yeah, I'd really like to analyze some more.

To summarize and analyze the points I remember:

The boy dreams of flying. He makes little paper planes, draws himself flying on one.
Then he finds a bird, a flying animal. The bird cannot fly due to an injury.

The boy helps to make sure the bird gets treated, but also ultimately (because he doesn't want to let go of his friend) endangers its healing.

The boy imagines gently sailing down to the ground with his umbrella (dude, that scene made me hope no impressive children play the game) and flying through the air on a giant paper plane, with his friend the bird.

The boy and the bird become friends because the bird cannot fly. Then they get separated, and the next time they meet, the bird can fly. I don't think it's meant to say the bird could only heal in the absence of the boy, though. Which you could assume if you really wanted to - sometimes, it feels like people interpret things into a story because they want them to be in there, not because they are meant to be there. Seeing how the boy is sad when the wing doesn't heal and how he eventually sets out to meet the vet again makes me think he really wants his friend to heal. But you can say that his fear of losing said friend endangers the healing process.

Together, they play with paper planes. Catch, fetch ...

Then, the ending. The bird returns one last time and shows that everything is fine again, it's back with its mother (I think? Could also be partner, but in that paper plane flight sequence, they were searching the bird's home, a nest with two birds = parents?). Now, it can fly, which it demonstrates to the boy. Just one last favour is asked: Removing the bandages. The bird returns with the gift of another paper plane, which the boy keeps.
What does it mean ... "And this is so you can fly, too"? "Keep on working on that flight thing"?
In any case, the boy is not one step closer to flying himself in the ending. But he has befriended a creature that, kind of "in his stead", has come to be able to fly thanks to him.


Still feels like I'm missing something. Why does he want to fly? Because flight = symbol of freedom?
He's a kid with a vivid imagination and a great child's joy in playing and ... well, his life is dull, repetitive and lonely, so his outside world doesn't match his colourful interior world? If only he could make reality as bright as his imagination, or so it seems?