It’s fitting that the most touching moment at this year’s E3 came to us courtesy of a game that’s all about human connections.
Few attending the gaming industry conference knew much about Unravel, a little game about the mythological red threads that connect us to one another. But then a terrified Swedish developer named Martin Sahlin took the main stage on Monday on behalf of his tiny studio, to discuss his character, “Yarny,” and his quest to create something beautiful.
It only took about five minutes for the Internet to fall in love with “Yarn Guy.”
While the E3 press events showcase untold hours of sweat and tears game creators put in behind the scenes, the presentations are typically flashy and rehearsed. Sahlin, on the other hand, reacted to his on-stage appearance like most of us would: with shaking hands and a warbling voice. Since this heartwarming presentation, the Internet has exploded with support for the game and Sahlin himself. “I’m not buying Call Of Duty Black Ops 3,” wrote YouTube user tabularmite in reaction to the video yesterday:
I’m not buying Assassins Creed Syndicate
I’m not buying The Division
I’m buying Unravel because this guy tried really hard to make this [game] even though he’s only part of a small studio. He’s actually putting a lot of work into making a game that has a heart.
Twitter was beside itself:
SHEDDING TEARS OVER THE YARN GUY— KC!⚡ (@BLVCKFEINT) June 16, 2015
MARTIN "YARN GUY" SAHLIN DESERVES HAPPINESS— Eli! (@eeldoodles) June 16, 2015
On Tumblr, Sahlin has become an overnight hero. In a post that’s garnered over 19,000 notes since yesterday, Tumblr user dragonjaw wrote:
if ur ever scared to share your OC online, remember that the Yarn guy showed his OC to thousand of people on stage really nervous and he’s the best thing EA showed us and everyone loves it
In a post about how Sahlin had inspired her professionally, Tumblr user syrawrthedestroyer wrote, “Martin Sahlin makes me so incredibly happy, his passion for his creation, the way he was able to charm so many just by sharing his love for games, and the way he powered through his nerves gives me so much hope. ” Or, as tigerinthetubes put it:
what she says: i’m fine
what she means: the yarn man was the hero i didn’t think i needed, but got nonetheless. the man before him was a smug looking man in a suit that’s probably more expensive than everything in my closet. he was, in fact, the physical manifestation of everything i dislike about the video game industry. then the yarn man, or martin sahlin as his doctor calls him, appears on stage and he’s such a precious human being. he was probably terrified of being on stage in front of the eyes of thousands of people who will surely form an opinion on him within mere seconds and yet he still stands there because he’s so passionate about his game and he wants to share it with all of us. look at him. a passionate developer wanting to share his game with passionate players. the little doll that’s playable in the game, he even crafted a real life version himself and was physically shaking as he proudly showed it to the world. he’s too precious. i don’t know what i did to deserve him. i don’t know how i can love a man i don’t know. i thank him from the bottom of my heart for re-igniting the spark in me. i thank him for making me feel so much joy i even managed to physically sit through “let’s talk about mobile”, the depths of minion hell and various sports games. thank you yarn man.
Among the nicest things about fandom’s outpouring of love for their newly discovered progressive cinnamon roll? The fanart, of course.
Look at this you guys: yarn man is loved.http://t.co/rZznjQ4osS— Amy (Three Different Ones) (@taterpie) June 16, 2015
Photo: muffinpines: protect this extremely important yarn man http://t.co/SBXgsetTm2— Nicole/ Nyxx (@NMacDowell13) June 16, 2015
And Just so I don't leave on a completely negative note— Eruna • ᶠˡᵉᵉᵗᶦⁿᵍ…＠ ᶠᶠˣᴵⱽ ʰᵉˡˡ (@TheAirHoarder) June 17, 2015
Precious yarn child plus precious man pic.twitter.com/VUiE246Bzz
And there’s plenty more where that came from.
On his Twitter, Sahlin expressed deep gratitude for the reaction to him, Yarny, and his game.
I’m kind of speechless right now. Smiling all over :)— Martin Sahlin (@monkeybeach) June 15, 2015
Thank you all so much. I’m just totally floored. In shock I guess. If shocks were super great things, that is.— Martin Sahlin (@monkeybeach) June 17, 2015
So much deserves to be said about all this, and I’ll do my best to find the right words. But it might have to wait a few days. Hectic days.— Martin Sahlin (@monkeybeach) June 17, 2015
We’ll wait for you, Yarn Guy. We’ll wait forever.
Illustration by tincannibal/Tumblr