Written by Angelina Bellebuono. Angelina is a photographer and writer living in rural Georgia. This is a combination personal essay and interview about To the Moon and creator Kan Gao. Because it discusses the story and themes of the game, there will be spoilers.
The opening graphics in Kan Gao’s To the Moon reveal starlight first, then moonbeam, before steadying into a night sky and a lighthouse in the bottom left corner of my laptop screen. The game has been out for almost three years, but it’s new to me. And I know only a morsel more about video games than I did a few months ago when I used my goat-farming experience to review Goat Simulator. I expect To the Moon will transport me farther afield, into much more serious terrain.
But I do not anticipate the deeply layered plot or the complex characters. I do not predict that a video game will hold me spellbound for five hours straight, and I certainly don’t imagine that I will have an equally riveting, two-hour conversation with Kan Gao. But I do know, from the opening lines of dialogue and the first notes of Gao’s mysterious, magical soundtrack, that I will not just be entertained—I sense immediately that spending time in Gao’s world will be an experience worth my time. This will be a different kind of adventure, I think, traveling to the moon and back.