So yesterday I asked you all to go play Passage (no ‘The’, whoops). Did you?
I get excited about these little game experiences. Passage reminds me of a fun version of The Marriage. Both games are steeped in metaphor, but Passage actually turns it into a fun experience while simultaneously hitting those intellectual strings that make me think about the experience. The creator’s statement explicitly says it is to act as a memento mori and it does quite successfully. At the end of your character’s life, you find it difficult to complete what was the simplest task in the game previously (moving forward). Not only that, but your goal shifts in the five minutes from finding treasure (which requires exploration and planning) to simply trying to move forward to gain points. It’s such a great statement that says “Hey, live for the day because as your time ticks away it is only going to get harder. There’s no better time than now.” When my wife died, I stopped moving, not really knowing what to do. It happened so suddenly. Do I move on? Where do I go from here? Sure it was all metaphor, but it wasn’t jammed down your throat. The game makes you question in a simple gamespace the same philosophical questions that underlay major human life events.
Now if a free indie game can make us ask those questions why are all of our big budget games so vacuous?
Kudos to Jason Rohrer. I’d say he needs to get sucked up by a game development company but I don’t want his spark to be extinguished.