Tiny Wings: Andreas Illiger

Curator: Rafael Fajardo
date: October 31, 2011
Categories: Entertainment Design, Experience Design, Illustration
Tags: casual game, game, interaction, interface, one-button
Tiny Wings official gameplay trailer

Tiny Wings is a one-button game available on iOS devices (sorry Android owners). It is easy to learn, difficult to master, devilish to play, delightful to look at, quick to download.

Tiny Wings is pretty. Just look at it! I can’t play it. I’m no good at it. But the visual work draws me back to try, and try again. At first I thought that Andreas Illiger had made or commissioned watercolor art/illustrations for the game. I recently discovered that he is actually procedurally generating the art. That is to say that he has programmed his game to render watercolor-like textures. And, he has programmed it to paint it all in different colors each time I play. Procedural graphics with the look of watercolor! This is a wonderful, delicate touch.

I admire games that are easy to learn and difficult to master. Tiny Wings is easier to learn than poking one’s self in the eye. A single touch is all it takes to activate your bird. The challenge lies in the timing and duration of the touch. And that challenge is vexing. To some it is hateful (salty language). To some it is the perfect balance (glowing, fawning language). To me, it inspires admiration and desire to make something as crystalline in its technical, visual and ludic beauty. It’s a kind of productive envy. And, be still my heart, he made the soundtrack too. I’m tone-deaf. The musical is beyond my reach—not the case for Illiger.

Rafael Fajardo
Tiny Wings screen capture from my latest attempt to fly

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