The Day I Couldn’t Write a Poem is a short, playable game in which the reader moves a character through text, interacting with obstacles and making their way through a narrative. It’s the work of Zennyan (Zeni Tainaka), a Japanese pixel artist who has been experimenting with digital art mediums.

With programming help from mikyokyuji (Ryoya Usuha), the poem comes to life as an 8-bit game that follows a narrative of the inexplicable struggle of writing and sometimes being unable to express oneself through words.

Released just about a year ago, an English version of the game was released later on with translation help from Eita Sugimoto. It also recently won a Tokyo TDC (Type Director’s Club) Award and will be part of an exhibition from April 1 – May 15, 2024 at Ginza Graphic Gallery.