Have You Played… 80 Days?
Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.
80 Days [official site] is a great travel game. I don’t mean it’s a good game about a journey (although it is that). I mean it’s excellent to play while on a journey of your own. On a plane, ferry, train, rickety bus. Observant folks might point out the absurdity of absorbing yourself in a tiny screen and its navy facsimile of wanderlust while the real world and its sights pass you by. Well played, observant people. But sometimes you look out the porthole and it’s just 100% precipitation. What then? Read a book? Nah, go to Siberia on a steampunk blimp.
The goal of your character, on the face of it, is to guide and help your master cross the finish line of a trans-global time trial within 80 days of setting out from London. Obviously, anyone who sets out to achieve that and only that hasn’t understood or enjoyed the jaunt to its fullest. But it does a great job of teaching you this digressional sentiment, of baiting you into interesting alleys and mysterious harbours, goading you into making intriguing friends and rivals. It’s the best interactive fiction available, whether you're stuck in the clouds or not.