“The Light” from Bit Blot’s Aquaria, released in 2007.
It is very rare in one’s life that they meet someone as creative and passionate about their art as Alec Holowka, one of the co-creators of Aquaria and head of the indie games studio, Infinite Ammo. To meet someone who devotes every spare minute to art is really inspiring and he’s one of the two people that I know who can do that (the most-excellent Parker Campbell is the other). I had the chance to have him on my show a few years back and the episode can be heard here.
Aquaria came out in 2007 as an indie game and was evolved by Alec Holowka and Derek Yu. In a time where massive studios are using their armies of programmers and graphic artists to release larger-than-life games, it gives me profound happiness that two passionate human beings can make a game with the intent of telling a story and speaking to their audience and still be quite successful.
The game tells the story of Naija, a girl who is alone in a vast sea who seeks to uncover her past and explore the world beyond her home. The game’s lush graphics, lovely voice acting, intuitive gameplay and evocative music make Aquaria more of an experience than the Metroidvania-style that sometimes gets lumped into.
“The Light” plays near the beginning of the game and really sets the tone: Polychordal ostinati, washes of strings on beautifully dissonant chords (both doubled in synth), pensive woodwind melodies (usually flute), and a sort of pop chord progression and drumbeat that makes the whole seemingly orchestral setup very accessible to the player.
Buy this game and buy this soundtrack, please. Your money will not be going to a relentless multi-national; but rather, two people who devote their lives to the medium and the art.