Hmmm: Pass Some Time With Passengers

By Nathan Grayson on May 11th, 2012 at 8:00 am.

Do people actually play guitars on trains? Is that a thing?
Oh my, this is a pleasant surprise. I’m not sure I could describe the sensation I felt while playing a surprisingly substantial prototype of Passengers as fun, but I was oddly mesmerized by its tale of trains and, er, what appear to be Feudal-Japan-era samurai ghosts – among many other things. Basically, the entire game consists of learning the stories of rather eclectic train passengers and then applying that knowledge to incredibly broad philosophical quandaries. Apparently, creator “jarnik” was inspired by the odd bits of socialization (including guitar playing, apparently) that occur on his train rides home, and he’s planning to expand out to 140+ passengers and an atmosphere that shifts “from an ordinary night train ride into a surreal trip where future, past and fiction are one.” As is, though, it’s a surprisingly contemplative, occasionally heavy handed way to spend a few minutes. It’s pleasant. Hop aboard here.

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17 Comments »

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  1. wu wei says:

    Sounds like the video game equivalent of 253.

    (Incidentally: why doesn’t logging on return you to the article / comment instead of dumping you back to the main page?)

  2. Secundus says:

    without playing is this like that elevator game that everyone said was art where you just sit in one place for twenty minutes?

  3. Text_Fish says:

    Quite charming, but I’m not sure it qualifies as a game.

  4. GamerOS says:

    A game can be art, but art is not a game.
    This seems more like interactive fiction then an actual game.
    Just because the player/reader can interact in some way it doesn’t make it a game, take Dear Esther for example, just holding W all the time does not make it a game.

    Ah well, it’s interesting at least.

    • Rettaw says:

      Comparing it to interactive fiction is deeply flawed, this is clearly a version of Memory using written concepts rather than pictures. If you accept that the board-game Memory is a game even when “playing” it alone, then Passengers is clearly also a game.

      Of course, Memory is pretty boring regardless of the number of players, so the interesting thing with Passengers, and the metric by which it is most fair to judge it, is it’s thematic cohesion or it’s “artsyness”. Because frankly when we talk about “arty” games we seldom mean that the game mechanics are expressing or causing emotion (well, besides rage. I think everyone agrees that game mechanics can reliably cause rage.), the criteria most often rolled out when justifying the application of the label “art” onto some new thing.

      (As for games being art, I just can’t stop myself from mentioning Train)

  5. Premium User Badge

    stahlwerk says:

    Got stuck twice now halted on the last leg with one heart and three passengers remaining, and the game not responding. :-( I’m not gonna try a third time.

    • Premium User Badge

      Bluerps says:

      Happend to me too. I’ll try again later, when the version number is a bit higher.

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  7. Sivart13 says:

    This is some of the artsiest fartsiest nonsense I’ve ever “played”.

  8. Josh W says:

    Seems nice, reminds me a little of metrofinal, but it bugged: I misunderstood how the first choice worked, and when those people got back on the train and that question came around again it stalled.