Streets of Commuter Rage

Like Falling Down in a miniskirt

Back when Facebook mania was in full swing, pretty much everyone I know – myself included, I’m sad to say – joined a group called “I secretly want to punch slow walking people in the back of the head.” I have no idea what this simple slice of sociopathy was intended to achieve – would thousands of slow-walking people notice the group and think “oh no! Someone may punch me in the back of the head! I’d better start walking at the same pace as a normal human being”? What an odd form of shouting into the void it was. Plus, it was a total misnomer as far as I’m concerned – there’s nothing secret about my desire to visit violence upon glacial dawdlers. And the back of the head? A little tame, really.

Time Limit (source: Darren Me over at TIGSource) gets it. Time Limit is for the members of the non-existent Facebook group “I blatantly want to punch slow-walking people in the face with absolute impunity, and with such force that they’re sent spiralling out of the world itself.”

It’s a bonkers Japanese indie side-scrolling beat ’em up – except rather than starring the traditional urban justice beefcake type, it posits you as a harried commuter trying to weave through the teeming crowds and catch your train on time. Cursor keys move, A jumps, S performs a mad “I’ve seen a gap in the crowds” dash and D… Well, D punches people in the face.

You can dodge most people, but honestly, you’re going to be punching them in the face, because punching them in the face feels great. They’re sent flying when you do, and it takes a moment to realise that they don’t disappear out of the game’s small window when they hit the edge, but rather tumble onto your desktop, huffily striding off-screen along your taskbar when they land.

Time Limit has, you see, Clever Magicks that incorporate a screenshot of your desktop into the game every time it loads. You think that’s your wallpaper behind the main window, but actually it’s a part of the game. I’m sure it’s not intended as anything more than a cute gimmick, but it oddly adds to the game’s overall sense of “this is my world, and everyone else is just in the way. RAAAARGH.”

It’s very crude, very silly and utterly throwaway – but it’s also enormously cathartic. Oh, and F and Space activate special powers at certain points, but I’ll leave you to figure those out yourself.

Grab the game from here. If you can’t get it to run (I didn’t have any problems) there’s a spot of tech advice in the TIGsource post.


  1. The Hammer says:

    Haha, I’m going to check this out.


  2. Kim says:

    Haha!! Groovy….
    Highly entertaining XD I’ll grab the game when I get home!

  3. Riotpoll says:

    The F special is the most most fun.Stress Induced Rage is win as far as I’m concerned.

  4. Sum0 says:

    In this fascinating installation, Japanese multimedia collective KobeDenshi Senmongakko offer a biting critique of modern day workaholic society, focusing on Japan’s increasingly stress-ridden world of corporations and institutionalised systems of overwork. Through the main character’s re-direction of pent-up frustration and lack of job satisfaction into the medium of random violence against passive strangers, KobeDenshi ask difficult questions about the nature of violence and wonder how an increasingly technologicalised Japan can cope with ever-higher demands on its workforce for company loyalty in an age of layoffs and plummeting job security. Additionally, in choosing a female businessperson as the main character, KobeDenshi ask us to consider the role of women in the ever-changing modern world; not only in the corporate workplace but in the male-dominated medium of video games itself.

    Players can also punch people in the head repeatedly. (Multimedia installation, 2008)

  5. Ragnar says:

    Reminds me of the old C64 / Spectrum game Skool Daze, where you went around and hitting teachers and school boys.

  6. Ubernutz says:

    Is that a……Planetside icon I see?

    Would anyone be kind enough to tell me about the population on Werner?

  7. Beefeater says:

    The word is ‘meanderthal’. Props to urban dictionary for this excellent shorthand for slow and annoying walkers.

  8. Wrestlevania says:

    Arses… It crashes for me as soon as I hit the ‘punch’ key, serving only to swell my burgeoning spleen further.

  9. K says:

    I walk slowly on purpose just to annoy you.
    Sometimes I may just stop, stare at the sky and spread my arms, parting the stream of people like the Red Sea, as the clouds break and a beam of light shines down on me as I laugh and declare myself master of the Human herds.

    Then I get punched in the back of the head.

  10. Lu-Tze says:

    You know what’s worse than slow people? Turners. People who suddenly decide to change direction (even a complete 180) in tight pedestrian traffic and then have the affront to look at you when you walk into them like it’s your fault.

  11. Dave says:

    Punching meanderthals (nice word) in the back of the head is all very well, but I’d rather do something unspeakable to the people who don’t move away from the top or bottom of escalators. Having them dragged screaming into the whirling gears of the escalator machinery would be a good start.

    Uh, anyway… the game looks pretty fun! Bookmarked for later.

  12. GeorgeR says:

    Oh wow, this is fantastic. And as someone who also blatantly hates people are slow walkers (they’re a sub race of humanity as far as I’m concern, right alongside CHUDs) this is right up my alley.

  13. Leeks! says:

    Next to, “put your hand down in class and shut the fuck up, no one cares,” that particular group was my favourite bit of pointless passive aggressiveness that social networking enabled me to take part in.

    Now all I need is a game that allows me to tear the lower jaw off anyone who has ever related something a professor has said to an inane life story. Also a video game.

  14. Taximan says:

    +1 points for lovely sparth artwork as your desktop bg.

    How ’bout a nice post your desktop round from you writer/contributor types. You know, for a slow news day/season. It’d be a thoroughly fully bred PC (gaming) thing to do, and it tells something about the user. A bit like the comparing business-cards scene in American Psycho.

    You know. How do game journalists prioritise their desktop. Do they? Do the have genre-substructures. It’s like how you check other people’s bookshelves and dvd/cd-shelves out when you visit them.

  15. BJ Blazkowicz says: