An attempt to understand the perspective of the men in the battle for Iwo Jima Western Child (CW): describe maturing in 1920’s America. Your old man talks about the Great War, what does it mean to you? Eastern Child (CE): describe maturing in 1920’s in Japan. Your father tells you to honor your family, what does this mean to you? CW: You hear of the attack on Pearl Harbor. America’s hackles raise. How do you feel? CE: You speak with your brother, a proud member of the Imperial Japanese Army. He refuses to ever be taken alive. What do you say? CW: Your brothers are ready to take the beach. Your brothers are real, those animals are not. Nevertheless, how do you survive as they kill your brothers? CE: The enemy approaches, promising destruction. They do not see your imminent ambush. How does this make you feel? CW: Brothers fallen. Alone. Hated enemy in hiding. One attacks! A stab in the side. What rushes through your mind? CE: You rush the enemy as commanded. Home. Family. Honor. He shoots back into you as you rush, impaling him. Knowing it is the end, what are your thoughts?
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As difficult as it was for me to pick only four finalists out of the many fantastic games I read, 29 Days to Spring was one game about which I had no doubts. Just reading the text gave me shivers and left me feeling weighed down by its narrative. 29 Days to Spring is a simple and elegant game that eschews traditional mechanics in favor of an emotional exploration of soldiers in war. And while this sort of game is not always easily categorized as an RPG, it is at the very least a great tool for character exploration and development. It’s also a great example of how games can be used for more than just entertainment, instead encroaching into the territory of fine art. Even if you never play 29 Days to Spring, it’s worthy of reading and contemplation. - Armand Kossayan