Tiny Echo: Pushing the envelope

A strange occurance happened to me, earlier this year, while I was in the process of composing music for “Tiny Echo”.

As I was struggling to make ends meet financially I managed to land a job as a mailman in my local community, which I thought was quite humorous. Here I was, seeking to express the very essence of deliverance in a musical form, and suddenly I find myself in the very same position as the main character called Emi. This is what I took with me from seeing that side of society, and I also want to juxtapose that and pose some questions for those who have played or will enjoy playing “Tiny Echo” in the future.

First of all, last week there has been a widespread public discussion about the company that I was employed to. A discussion regarding failed deliveries and obscurity of information towards the customers. Seeing how this has always been an issue, one can not misunderstand the importance of having letters find their way to the reciever in a timely matter. Because what could be in those letters? It could be anything. It could be the daily newspaper. It could be a letter from a loved one. It could be a plea for help. It could be bills (but hopefully not). Regardless of what it could be, it can also be the single most important paper you will ever recieve in your life. Now, that’s not a thing you want to take lightly if it were to disappear on it’s way to you. So what are in those letters that Emi delivers in “Tiny Echo”?

Does even Emi know what’s in those letters? At the beginning of the game Emi is actually sleeping and is being woken up by the letters hitting the head. Sort of like a wake up call – “Time to do your job Emi” – and I found out how ridiculously accurate that image is when I was doing that same job. When you come in drowsy, early in the morning to the postal office, the unsorted mails you will deliver during the day basically hits you in the face. And whatever is written within those mails doesn’t concern you. Your job is merely making sure those mails reach their recievers.

The game however seems to show us more than that. We get to see an intro, before the letters reach Emi. We get to see what happens when the letters reach their destinations. We also get to see what happens after we have helped Emi deliver all the letters. Is that the privilege of the all knowing player, to know the full details of what the goal of the game is? It could be, because we rarely pick up a task without knowing the circumstances regarding it. Or is there more to it?

With the coming of the internet, and instantaneous access to mail delivery in the form of e-mail, the debate I mentioned earlier has frequently adressed the fact that the traditional system of delivering mail by hand might be obsolete and in need of some serious change. I have no opinion on that matter, there are way more competent people that I would rather see make that decision. But I do see how “Tiny Echo” is a representation of the zeitgeist regarding mail in general. In the game we have a world that looks and sounds thoroughly hand crafted, and I can tell it most certainly is. Deep care has gone into making the whole experience genuinely natural and organic. Which is kind of fun, since it has been in most part produced on electronic equipment, and delivered to you the gamer over the internet. What does that mean in a sort of meta perspective?

I have yet to fully get a grip on what it is that I have been a part of creating with “Tiny Echo”, but I know that we as a team have created something truly unique. I wish the best of luck to Might & Delight and want to express my deepest thanks for entrusting me the responsibility of telling the story of “Tiny Echo” with music. Thank you so much!

Me, I left my job as a mailman behind last Friday. It’s taking a heavy toll on my physical health after constantly wearing out an old knee injury. Having worked on this project helped me develop a tighter bond to my role as a composer, and now it’s time to move on to new adventures.

 

// Mt. West