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Have You Played... Passage?

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Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Passage, Jason Rohrer’s small game about life and death, suffers for having become more renowned than it was perhaps intended to be. It was a small thing and an experimental thing, not a signpost to an entirely different future for games.
But, soon after being hailed as progressive and powerful by many places, including here, it became a by-word for every stick ‘indie’ games get beaten with – navel-gazing, not-a-game, egregiously lo-fi… When encountered with any kind of expectation that it will be uncommonly resonant and moving, it can only disappoint. As a thoughtful curio stumbled upon unexpectedly, Passage is as much a bittersweet surprise as it ever was.

Which is why I’ll try not to say too much about it now. Pedestals hurt it. I can understand why people – both those who despise ‘artgames’ and even some of those who admire them – hate it but as a tiny, quiet statement that games can be made to press emotional buttons beyond fight or flight I’m very fond of Jason Rohrer’s third and possibly most direct game. Put aside all expectations other than that it’ll take ten minutes of your time, and see if it has any effect on you.

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Alec Meer

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Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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