Have You Played… Offline?

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

I was a mite irked when Konstantinos wrote about Offline [official site] in 2014, because I wanted to. Offline is a short free game about spooky happenings as you drive Underground/subway/Metro train, and it’s a fair example of a games trend I’ve really enjoyed over the past few years: games which ask for two, five, ten minutes of my time to show me something small and nice and cool.

Offline puts players in the driver’s cabin of a subway train, filled with enticing buttons to press, levers to pull, and knobs to twiddle. Turn the lights on. Turn the lights off. Speed up. Slow down. Try to phone control. Twiddle levers to alter the sound. Honk the train’s horn. Fill one of your cabin monitors with pictures of eyes. Make ghostly hands rise from the tracks. Summon ghostly dancers. Fiddle, twiddle, and go faster, faster, don’t pull the emergency brake, just keep going.

It’s really quite pleasant.

I’ve noticed, over my two years at RPS, that some folks assume I think every game should be like this – that we should rid the world of Crusader Kings II and Arma and StarCraft and everything else which will swallow as many hours as you feed it, then replace them with five-minute walking simulators. Which is, of course, nonsense. I’m delighted that I can enjoy over a hundred hours of adventuring in The Witcher 3 and up to ten minutes of driving a spooky ghost train.

If you dig this, hey, we’ve written plenty about other games by creator Pol Clarissou as well as games from Klondike, the collective he’s part of (ignore the name – they’re French not Canadian).

[Disclosure: Pol and I realised, a year later, that we dined together in a big group in 2014 – but we didn’t really talk or know who the other was. I don’t ‘do’ networking. And I was very hungry.]

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  1. MrFinnishDude says:

    10 minute games are almost an artform by itself. Like the short film, the genre has unique potential.
    Blendo’s Gravity Bone and Thirty Flights Of Loving left a permanent impression in me. Such beautiful stories, an emotional rollercoaster, all in the space of about 15 minutes.
    I’m not ashamed to say that That Thirty Flights of Loving is one of my favorite story based games of all time, so beautifully executed that I actually felt longing heartache for a week for Anita, a block headed girl who never even said a word. Now that’s great storytelling.

    • zxcasdqwecat says:

      I agree but I still wish TFOL had more game to play.

      • zxcasdqwecat says:

        And I’m not calling it art on itself and stuff ofc.

      • MrFinnishDude says:

        I do think that Thirty Flights of Loving has absolutely amazing potential, but I also think that it should not be judged by its lenght. You judge a short film as a short film not a feature lenght one. We can only wish for a longer successor, someday.

  2. John O says:

    this would be super awesome as a VR thingie Just add the ability to look around and the goggleview. Still made me happy just as it is.

  3. peterako1989 says:

    Yes. In fact I prefer playing offline. I most often than not boycott games that go online for no reason other than cause headaches.

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    DelrueOfDetroit says:

    That weird ‘L’ that they use for the title makes it look like some sort of field hockey game.

    Also, your mitey irksomeness doesn’t show in the comments of that article, Alice.

    Also also, stupid Chrome not supporting Unity? Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a cloud to yell at.

    • Premium User Badge

      john_silence says:

      Ha! Rather made me think of funny witch-house typography like you would find for instance in Mircalla’s discography (or should I write M‡яc▲ll▲?).

      I follow Pol Clarissou yet somehow hadn’t become aware of Offline’s existence. Surely it must have flickered into existence while I wasn’t watching – but in the past (shudder). And I reiterate: that is where John is stuck.
      It’s time to assemble a time-travel device from various parts of an HTC Vive, an Oculus Rift, and remnants of the Pantheon clock in Paris that we’ll source through the Untergunthers.

      Anywho, thanks for the tip!

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    Ben King says:

    I really enjoy the sound in this one as much as fiddling with the buttons and knobs to create crazy light shows… there’s just layers and layers of creepy screams and song like wails in there as you throttle up.

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    gritz says:

    Thanks for posting, googling “offline train game” was getting me nowhere.

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    caff says:

    I like small weird things like this. They remind me of hairy leprechauns.

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    toastmodernist says:

    Someone has to make the idiot joke so – I’d really to play offline but steam is so bad at it!

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    toastmodernist says:

    really LIKE. damn edit function. Also someone also made the joke. I hate myself. This game is good.

  10. welverin says:

    Alice, you’ve been with RPS two years now?

    Oh, and is it really necessary to note you sort of had dinner at the same time as some game creator? That’s more ‘do other people actually take issue with something so insignificant.’

    • ElrosTiwele says:

      Given the internets’ attitude towards female games journalists it seems reasonable she’d add that disclaimer or some dickwad would find it and point it out as a justification to claim her integrity is compromised and ergo it’s justifiable to send her death threats and worse.