“Takume” by Stephan Hövelbrinks, Lara Kaaa, James Dean, Chris W. Early & Maximiliano Vaccaro.

“A mystic story about identity, dreaming and dealing with past events.”

Some games are short, but still have an incredible impact on you. For me, “Takume” is one of these experiences. In just ten minutes I was the witness to a story, which does not tell many details, but still feels oddly reliable. It all starts with Takume standing in the forest and her first sentence is the statement “Something is wrong here…” A figure fades into the place, which looks just like her, just with differently colored hair and clothes. She calls her by her name and Takume wonders if that person really was her sister Raroia. However, the apparition does not reply, instead she runs away deeper into the woods.

Takume tries to follow her and on her way she will meet sometimes suspicious, sometimes friendly characters. She asks all of them about her sister, but mostly she will not receive any answer without doing a good or bad deed first. She continues to search for Raroia and eventually finds her. The reunion does not explain exactly what caused their separation, but I had the feeling that it is a tale about the longing for absolution. Let me give you my personal theory about “Takume”.

The short description of the developers states that the game is about “identity, dreaming and dealing with past events.” I think that Takume and Raroia are two different parts of the same personality, that got split after a traumatic event as some kind of protecting mechanism. Takume got rid off her memories and hid them well, because she was scared and did not know what else to do. Later, when Takume grows up and wants to know about more about herself and the past events, she tries to recollect her memories. She will find them in an imagined, anthropomorphic form: Her imaginary twin sister Raroia. That is why she follows her in her dreams, as not only Raroia appeared in the forest out of a sudden, but also Takume.

A little supportive hint for this theory might be found in Takume’s meeting with Amefurikozo. When Takume rescues him and pulls him out of the swamp, he will make it rain again, so that she can see herself in the water. She states that the puddle is like a mirror for her and that it displeases her: “The longer I look at it, the more uncomfortable it gets.” If she does feel incomplete without her other half called Raroia, that makes a certain sense. Only when the two ‘sisters’ fall into each other’s arms in the end, they can be one again.

Another more associative hint are the names themselves: Takume and Raroia. Those are the names of two French Polynesian atolls. The ancient Paumotu people called both of them together Napaite, meaning “The Twins”. Even though the two atolls may look like single geographical entities, they are just two different features of our planet. And so I will close this article by quoting John Donne’s popular poem “No Man is an Island”:

“No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

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Thank you for this article. 💙 It‘s very rewarding that people still play and like the game and think about it’s possible meaning.