The flowery bird boy you befriend and help heal, in Compassion.

Compassion is a narrative experience game by Ivan Papiol, about getting help when you're in pain.

You encounter an injured bird, in need of help. When you interact with the bird, the thoughts that appear on-screen reflect more gloomy thoughts about how you deal with pain. Poking the bird with a stick explores the ways you can pull away when someone tries to be there and care for you. Offering the bird some flowers dives into the validation and, well, the compassion you can feel when you open up and let others provide help. If you think about it, in a way, that bird is almost like yourself.

This game carries a tang of extra meaning for me. If you check the archive of this site, things slowed down in July. I had a hard time dealing with some things going on in my life, and figuring out how to navigate the road ahead hasn't been easy.

You can't erase pain, but it's easier when you're taking my hand.

Caring for my flowery bird boy was somehow the highlight of my day. It's games and experiences like this that reenergize me. I'm gonna come back to this game when it feels like the sticks and rocks are clouding my judgment.

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The old man talking to the fish in Under What?

Under What? is an interactive visual comic by Dan Gartman. It’s an adorable little tale of a fisherman who falls in the water and has some unexpected lovely banter with an old fish under the sea.

The art of this game shines brightly—you can tell the game is made by an artist with a sharp eye for visual storytelling. The sequence where the fisherman falls into the water really makes it feel like you’re drifting downward with him, even though you’re just watching a short visual comic. The vignette of the fish city has such a vibrant and alive atmosphere, I almost want it as a framed painting in my house.

The fisherman falling into water.

Though the game is most potent for its art, the writing isn't all that bad either. You make small talk with the fish, and you're also subjected to few semi-philosophical questions. It's also got a few punchy jokes—if you (the fisherman) quip that it stinks like fish, the fish retorts, “have you ever had to smell smoked people?”

Under What? is a short and sweet little experience—it’ll take fifteen minutes of your time and give you a few laughs. It's a great sort of game to click through with your morning coffee. Under What? is available on itch.io for Windows.