" a world where man will never stand...
to realize that world, I decided that I would engrave it on a canvas "🌹

this page is a love letter to rpgmaker games. these games defined my adolescence and are the reason i began my artistic journey. i owe so much to the creators and the fanbases of these series that have been my muse for over 10 years now.

( spoilers below )


if you know me even slightly well, you know how much this game means to me. it was not the first i discovered, or my alltime favorite, but it shines so brightly nonetheless.

ib has a unique charm that many horror games do not -- the atmosphere is not always creepy or unsettling. the gallery itself is beautiful, and if this was not a horror game, the artworks would just be admired for what they are. while most of the rpgmaker games on this list are through the perspective of a child, ib's portrayal is most realistic. being only 9 years old, ib does not know how to read a good deal of the titles (written in difficult kanji), or the artistic techniques / references mentioned throughout. she is also subject to mental strain because of the frightening things she has encountered. where ib shines the most, though, is its characters.

ib's timid personality is in direct contrast to mary's upbeat and intense personality -- she is not frightened of her surroundings at all, and is even quite pushy. people that have played the game already know the reasons for mary's "braveness" and her being unfazed by the gallery, but ib does not. as a child, i never understood mary's motives and saw her as just mean and selfish, but as an adult i realize how tragic her story is.

being painted as a young girl, mary's mind is just that. she has no way of learning right from wrong, or proper social cues -- she was born in the gallery and has always been there. that is why garry gets a bit annoyed with her loud voice and lack of tact as opposed to ib's quiet mannerisms. as she was the last of guertena's works, there is a constant hole in her heart longing for companionship that she misses with her "father." meeting ib and for once having someone who she can see as a sister is groundbreaking for mary, and she does not want to let her go. we can even see after burning mary's portrait that she has a book in her room titled "how to make friends."

this would not be an ib section if i didn't mention my beloved garry... keep in mind that i first played (watched p*wdiepie play) ib as an 11 year old. i saw a cute purple haired emo boy and was immediately smitten. and no, as a 21 year old i have not gotten over him at all; i think my obsession only grew.

garry as a character is a perfect contrast to the frightening situations that little ib encounters. even though he is a bit of a scaredy-cat, garry vows to protect ib and make sure she is safe. he reads her the titles of paintings she cannot pronounce, and talks to her about random subjects to keep her mind off of the situations they are in. and after ib faints from a mixture of right and exhaustion, garry brings her to a quiet, safe place in the gallery, giving her his coat to rest in and even a lemon candy.

garry's sacrifice for ib, in which he exchanges his own rose (life) for ib's at the hands of mary, shows how protective garry is of the young girl, and how much he values her life. he does not hesitate at all to sacrifice himself and even reassures ib that he will "come running" if she needs him while he dies. ib wholeheartedly believes his reassurance, too, believing that he is only sleeping.

the endings of ib are all either bittersweet or tragic. there is only one ending where mary is able to live happily, at the expense of garry's life as she switches with him. every other ending leads to mary's death, or her spending the rest of eternity trapped in the gallery.

the true ending, promise of reunion, is the closest that there is to a happy ending in the game. garry and ib escape the gallery together, and are reunited because of the handkerchief ib gave to garry. he promises to return it to her after he cleans it, meaning they will meet again someday soon.

ib is such an amazing game, with beautiful art despite its pixel-ness, and the music is so so beautiful. no game soundtrack has touched me like ib's has, and i've listened to it on repeat for 10+ years now. kouri truly has no idea the impact their game has had on my life, i owe so much to them for making this world and these characters. and if you haven't, please play ib!

( to be continued )