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​i want to be a tree ( but life has other ideas )

Keywords: climbing game, 2D, indie, short, slice of life...

i want to be a tree (but life has other ideas) was nominated at 2024 A MAZE./ Berlin Awards      

presented by: Ian (game designer & programmer), Xiangrui (game designer & artist), Pierre Pi (sound designer)


i want to be a tree (but life has other ideas) is a climbing game about putting leaves back on trees. You play as a basket, ambling around a forest where leaves have all fallen off. You may pick up leaves, put them in your basket, and paint them back on trees wherever you’d like. It has no goals, no winning, and you may stop whenever you’d like by standing still and singing a song.This game originated from us walking on the street in winter and noticing that the trees were all bare. We think that, in many ways, bare trees encapsulate the duality of living: working hard and struggling, being influenced by our environment without fully understanding why, yet maintaining a naive and endless pursuit of dreams and beliefs.

This game is a response to that, an introspection of our day-to-day lives as struggling artists living in Brooklyn: waking up, daydreaming, and waking up from daydreams again the moment we get on that crowded subway. From that experience, we crafted a daydream where players can climb in the air and put leaves back on trees. We chose the challenging and aimless climbing as a metaphor because oftentimes climbing is associated with goals, or peaks, or obstacles. But when you take all of that away, it really just becomes challenging activity, symbolizing a form of struggle that one needs to find their own reason to confront. The poetic act of putting leaves back on trees captures a specific feeling of attempting the impossible, and the inherent childishness of it is usually what keeps dreams alive. We want the player to feel the struggle but do so with a smile on their face. Finally, players wake up to the real world, realizing they were just daydreaming inside a drawing, just like the background music "the way we were."

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