On August 2, 2016 I had the wonderful pleasure of downloading, playing and completing ABZU, the very first game developed by gaming studio Giant Squid. Giant Squid was founded by Flower and Journey Art Director Matt Nava and he knocked this game out of the park. It’s beautiful and emotional while telling a very simple story through exploration. ABZU is derived from two ancient words; the first being “ab” which is “ocean” and “zu” which is “to know.”
Several years ago I was out surfing. It was a day or two after a big storm blew through so the swell was huge. It had been several months, maybe even a year, since I had last surfed and I shouldn’t have been paddling out. But there I was battling the set waves trying to get out past the breakers. These waves were eight to twelve feet high. So powerful. Beautiful, structured chaos. It took me ten to fifteen minutes to paddle out and once I was out there I wanted to take a break but I couldn’t, my wave was rolling in. So I did what any surfer would do, I turned around and started paddling. After a few strokes I popped on my board and rode the wave back to shore. The wind and water in my face. The joy of being thankful for such an amazing moment. As the wave dwindled I flopped back down onto my board and began to paddle back out. Little did I know, I was about to be rewarded with a miracle.
As I’m paddling over a six-foot wave I see another surfer pop on his board and I hear all sorts of hoots and hollers. Usually hooting and hollering is a sound of congratulations for catching a great wave but this hooting was different. We weren’t alone in the water. The surfer on the wave rode past in a blur and right behind him I saw two very large dark shadows in the water. Instantly I felt fear and at peace as I forgot to breathe. And as I sat there on my surfboard one of the large shadows breached. A dolphin jumped over the nose of my surfboard. I couldn’t control my laughter. I was afraid yet the smile on my face wouldn’t fade. It was majestic and awe-inspiring. Out of the vastness of the ocean I was humbled my the miracle of this dolphin allowing me to witness its beauty. This is something that I’ll never forget and I only mention it because playing ABZU made me feel that juxtapositionof fear and joy. I cried out of pure joy when the dolphin jumped over me. And while I didn’t out right cry while experiencing ABZU I did tear up several times.
ABZU gets a 10 out of 10 from me, great job Giant Squid and thank you.