Reminiscing with ilomilo

Childhood. The memories seem so far away, but they all come rushing back to me while playing ilomilo. The splendor of being impossibly tiny in a huge, magical world. The music, a theme which all my old stuffed animals can march to with animated gusto.

Everything about the title brings me back to that place. The premise is simple: you want to meet up with your friend. So off we go, with a tiny dog backpack in tow, off to a world only my friend and I know.


At first, the task is incredibly easy…but we don’t care. We’re too busy marveling at it all–the huge submarine booming overhead, the teacups in the distance, the sock puppet with a dislike for toy cubes, creatures meant to give us piggyback rides. It’s a dreamworld, and it’s all ours. And yet faint rasp of my feet hitting the ground as we approach each other is a reminder of just how tangible and tactile this world is.

When I was little, I kept a box. Inside this box, you could find a teal toothpaste marble from the local glassshop. An intact univalve shell, found on an SF beach. A chunk of quartz, accidentally found when I split a rock into two. A tiny sunflower button, which fell off a dress. Items collected by virtue of beauty, meant to be kept safe. I thought of this box as I collect tiny trinkets in ilomilo…when you collect enough, snippets of a memory between ilo and milo are revealed. And sure enough, every time I open the box I think of things that are otherwise lost to me. Even the saftkas remind me of a something kept in the box: tiny but colorful voodoo dolls, depicting me and my sister, brought to me by a latin american psychic. The way they follow me everywhere reminds me of the years where I would refuse to let go of the right arm of an old teddie bear, given to me by my father on the day I was born.

“So, where to?”
“Let’s meet at the giant pinwheel.”