Almost two years after its initial release for Mac OSX and Windows, Tale of Tales have ported their controversial indie title The Graveyard to Apple's iPhone platform. As of now, The Graveyard can be purchased in the App Store for 1.99 US Dollars. As with the PC release, a Lite version is available for free. The only difference between the two is that in the full version, the protagonist may die.
The Graveyard can be downloaded via http://Tale-of-Tales.com/TheGraveyard Or directly from the App Store: http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/tale-of-tales/id349454576?uo=6
The Graveyard is a very short game. You play an elderly woman who visits a cemetery. She walks down a straight path towards a bench in front of a chapel. She is old and has trouble walking. So it takes a while to get there. During the difficult walk, we pass by the neatly arranged rows of concrete tombs embedded in a lush atmosphere of sun, clouds, trees, shrubs and animals who found a home in this place. When she finally arrives at the bench, the woman sits down and listens to a song. It's a pensive moment, a quiet pause. When the song is done, she gets up and walks back to the gate. In the full version of the game, there is a chance that she dies while sitting on the bench.
"The Graveyard offers a player the opportunity to imagine themselves in a certain situation," explain creators Auriea Harvey and Michael Samyn. "It's not a game in the sense that there is a way to win or lose or a puzzle to solve, or even a story to uncover. But the interaction does immerse you in a virtual world filled with narrative, an equally powerful feature of the medium of videogames. The iPhone version of The Graveyard is the same as the PC version. Only a few elements have been removed or simplified to allow it to run on the iPhone hardware. But the fact that you hold the game in your hand and touch it with your finger, adds to the sensation of fragility and preciousness."
An extensive postmortem of the PC version of The Graveyard was published on Gamasutra:
The Graveyard was selected for the Independent Games Festival last year, for Indieacade and for the European Innovative Games Award. It has been exhibited in Mediamatic (Amsterdam), LABoral (Gijón), FILE (Rio de Janeiro), ACMI (Melbourne) and many other media festivals throughout the world. It is currently on display at Dam (Berlin) until March 24 and a Spanish translation, called El Cementerio, can be played in the Estación Futuro in Intermediae (Madrid) until May.
Tale of Tales is an independent games studio in Gent, Belgium. Last month they released their first iPhone application entitled "Vanitas", commissioned by the seminal Art History of Games symposium. Previously they released a Salome-inspired interactive vignette called Fatale, a controversial short horror game based on Little Red Ridinghood entitled The Path and The Endless Forest, a social screensaver where everyone plays a deer.
The Graveyard was designed and produced by Auriea Harvey and Michael Samyn. The main character was animated by Laura Raines Smith. Kris Force created the sound effects. And Gerry De Mol composed and performed a new song especially for The Graveyard.
The production of The Graveyard was supported by the Flanders Audiovisual Fund ( http://www.vaf.be ).