We The Giants

While there's decades of evidence for the ability of a game's social commentary to affect us, there's few games that go the extra mile and add intentional meaning. A game can subtly play with important ideas, but explicitly evoking those ideas to provide meaning to the player seems to be a bit too far for most games.

The occasional quirky title decides to buck the trend and go all out. Instead of trying to subtly play with an idea in the background, it instead chooses to put the meaning and context of the game at the forefront. These “message games” are not just trying to have a little fun, but also to say something meaningful to the player.

We The Giants is a simple, quick little message game where you play as one of a race of little cube people who always refer to themselves as “we the giants.” You are introduced to their rituals, first exploration, then clairvoyance, then finally sacrifice. When you sacrifice yourself, you are allowed to leave behind a bit of “wisdom” for the ages in the form of a bit of text, then your body becomes a building block among all the other bodies of the other people that have played the game.

You can follow the “wisdom” left behind by other players at their Twitter accounts. If you go there, you'll also see why I put “wisdom” in quotes.

Why You Should Check This OutWe The Giants is a message game – light on the game but heavy on the message. You are asked to sacrifice yourself for the good of the rest of your race, in order to build something bigger than just your character. It makes for a short, quick game. But sometimes meaningful games require you to do things that aren't about getting the highest score, but instead are about learning the message. In other words, they have to sacrifice fun in order to get at some ideas that are bigger than fun.

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Comments

DoubleW wrote:

However, if I'd made this, I would have had some basic physics apply to the outermost blocks, to prevent even the most strenuous and thought-out attempts to block it off permanently; park your block too far to the left of a given surface, and other players can push you off into the pile to where you're useful. But with how many players it's going to take to finish the pyramid, that would have been resource-intensive, I guess. I doubt it will be necessary in the end.

I think having the last level reset periodically accomplished this well enough, even if it's not quite as elegant. On the other hand, it also renders sacrifices a bit less mutable.

PyromanFO wrote:
Did the players intend to come in and make a collective statement against the original meaning of the work? Or did they just feel like screwing around and/or griefing just to see what would happen? In either case, we're fishing for player intent in actions taken in an extremely limited context, which isn't all that different than the general search for authorial intent, in my opinion.

It's not about intent but what the work as it stands says. I'm not trying to guess anything about player intent. It's actually a pretty good statement about players without any conscious intent creating something pretty interesting anyway.

Agreed. As in any other creative medium, attempting to divine intent is a waste of time. Much more productive to focus on what is.

Sensical wrote:

I like how, on my subsequent visit, I was given no option but to look at the progress of others, all of them standing on the shoulders of giants, all of them reaching towards that Star of David, all of them shown in the slow-blinking eye of yet another giant.

While I appreciate the added sense of finality that gives in a game from an experiential point of view, I also wish clearing Flash cookies were easier.

I found another copy of the game running on another site, in case you're looking for a different setup in the final screen.

wordsmythe wrote:

I think having the last level reset periodically accomplished this well enough, even if it's not quite as elegant. On the other hand, it also renders sacrifices a bit less mutable.

If the map resets (I guess every couple of days? Maybe even daily?), now there's a sense of urgency to get as many of your friends in as possible to pile their bodies up to get the star. He could have gotten a cynical Ayn Rand angle on this. Or a pyramid scheme. I slay me.

Then again, it doesn't delete the twitter posts.

wordsmythe wrote:

While I appreciate the added sense of finality that gives in a game from an experiential point of view, I also wish clearing Flash cookies were easier.

Now I have to see if deleting my cookies somehow deletes my block from the stack. He would have accounted for that, right? Or did he depend on the game not being long enough for griefing to be worth it?

EDIT: It doesn't. A bit of a buzzkill, really. The next question, is, do I clone myself enough times to reach the top?

DoubleW wrote:

Now I have to see if deleting my cookies somehow deletes my block from the stack. He would have accounted for that, right? Or did he depend on the game not being long enough for griefing to be worth it?

EDIT: It doesn't. A bit of a buzzkill, really. The next question, is, do I clone myself enough times to reach the top?

The Flash cookie only tells the game that you've played before, so that it won't let you play again but will instead show you the zoomed-out final screen.

I considered wiping my cookie and replaying enough times to reach the star, but I figured my boss would catch me before I was done.