It’s amazing that the most moving game I played last year wasn’t one of the big-budget first-party titles on a current-gen system, but an obscure SNES RPG Kotaku readers first alerted me to called Terranigma. I’ve already covered the first three chapters of the game, but it’s the final chapter that had me contemplating mortality, age, and what it means to come to terms with death. Heavy stuff for a game designed for kids.
I was so thrilled to get to talk about the ending of Terranigma at Kotaku, really delving into Joseph Campbell’s monomyth and fables in general. It’s a climax that still has me thinking all these months later with his bittersweet beauty that is so emotionally resonant:
There’s been a lot of change in my life over the past few months. When I first began playing, I lived in a different city, was in a different job, and was in a different state of mind. In many ways, the timing couldn’t have been more synchronous. Ark’s growth reflected the ambiguities and struggles of my own life, my own artistry. In the end, I’d like to believe he went back to what was most important to him and found meaning in that. The true enigma of Terranigma isn’t just the fate of the planet, not even that of Ark, but us, the humans who survive and move on.