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Parish
12-11-2007, 09:44 PM
If you haven't played this, download it here (http://hcsoftware.sourceforge.net/passage/). Go on, it's a quick download and a quick play.

Did you play yet? You need to play before you read any further. Experience it fresh, please.

Now, talk.

Shadax
12-11-2007, 09:51 PM
I am absolutely incapable of playing through without a spouse, unlimited treasure be damned

poetfox
12-11-2007, 10:24 PM
I... didn't realize there was any other choice besides what I picked. I wonder if that says something about me... I didn't see anything else to do, really, besides walk. It still had a little emotional thing to it, especially near the end when my partner died... but I dunno, knowing I could do something more might have made that decision mean even more, you know? If I had realized I was sacrificing everything for love... but oh well. It was an interesting little art thing.

SlimJimm
12-11-2007, 10:41 PM
I didnt like it. I walked, I died. I walked again moving down and around, then died. 866 was the highest number (score?) that I got. Cant say I was moved in any way.

I suppose this is a prime example of "Games as Art", but then again Im not fan of modern art.

Sprite
12-11-2007, 10:54 PM
Man, the grief of a partner's death really ages a guy.

How long until Passage 2: WITH KIDS!

Parish
12-11-2007, 10:54 PM
I get the impression what you take away from this game correlates to your age.

I also found that I needed to play it more than once, with no preconceptions, before I really "got" it. My first playthrough was simply me walking in a straight line to the right, which wasn't especially interesting beyond the visual effects and the music. The second time, I discovered after a while that you can move down, which completely changed the game. The third time, I realized you can move down at the start and complete bypass the woman, which changes it even more.

Not much point in another "are games art?" discussion here, though -- that would be a digression at best. Besides, I found Passage moving and quietly profound, but not everyone will agree. If that isn't the epitome of art I really don't know what is.

Shadax
12-11-2007, 10:55 PM
I guess playing through without a spouse is actually a lot easier, as you don't have to deal with the emotional blow of them dying, but there was something extremely unsatisfying, especially when you get more than halfway across the screen, none of the treasure chests are yielding anything of note, and you realize you'd die before you got back to your loved one.

locit
12-11-2007, 11:03 PM
I played it once with a spouse and couldn't get a bunch of the treasure chests. Then I played it alone and got a bunch of treasure chests. Then I played it with a spouse again and just walked right. I was sad when my spouse died, though. I'm curious as to whether or not you can go around her and meet her so that you die first, but I'm not really in the mood for a fourth playthrough. A neat little art-game, though better when viewed as art than as a game, methinks.

The message I took away was that life is ultimately futile and you will die, all your accomplishments amounting to nothing.

Wheeeeeee.

Sprite
12-11-2007, 11:03 PM
Alright, I like it.

The first time, when playing with the spouse, I just marched forward, only got about 700 points. Once I realized my characters were dying I got a bit sad, but just kept marching forward. I wasn't all that affected by the deaths at the end, since it was just what I expected.

The second time I bypassed the wife and decided to look for treasure. This changes the effect entirely. All of a sudden I'm really worried about how much time I have left, and dashing around looking for as many chests as I can. I wanted a high score. In the last few seconds of my life I caught a glimpse of two chests and started a mad dash to get them before the death. No use, I was too late. I got 1200 points but felt disappointed because I wasn't able to get those last two chests.

Tomm Guycot
12-11-2007, 11:10 PM
The first game I just walked right. I tried pressing up and I could swear I tried down as well, but as best I could tell, I kept walking. I got 750 points.

Then, remembering I saw CJ Awesome mention skipping the wife, that I tried down at the start.

I collected chests and decided this wasn't worth playing again and tried to exit. None of the buttons worked and I couldn't exit.

I eventually walked back to the woman, and tried to get treasure with her.

The few chests I could get didn't even emit stars anymore. I found myself thinking you should get more treasure, since you are sharing it with her. I tried to exit again and couldn't.

Then I walked around until we died, still in the "brick" area.

Then I had to reset my machine.

I welcome your psychoanalysis.

Sprite
12-11-2007, 11:30 PM
Hint to Tomm: Hit 'Q.' Q for Quicide.

Mewd
12-12-2007, 12:07 AM
Haunting. Also seemingly one of those things without much discernible meaning beyond what you infer yourself.

Eusis
12-12-2007, 12:28 AM
Gave the game a shot, got the spouse. When I discovered I could go up and down, I did that and explored for awhile at around the... Grey tiled point? Anyway, I got some treasure there, then when I noticed they were getting older went out more, went back to the beginning, then made a mad rush to go as far right as possible. Spouse died, I explored a bit and got one last treasure chest (which shot black spark-thing rather than treasure) and shortly after died. I think I only got around 300 points, I wasn't paying the most attention to that. The whole thing's left a bit, well, depressed and feeling like I could've accomplished more but ultimately didn't have enough time.

DrSenbei
12-12-2007, 04:49 AM
I bypassed the women right from the get go,she looked like bad news with her pubes hanging out and all.
So I started going south and opening chests, then went right for a while and opened more. Started to get old around the blue section and thought it was the end of the map because there was no more blur in front of me so I died chasing treasure at 850~

Second game I just walked right but the scenery was totally different! I wonder if it changes every time. Maybe I should try playing with the girl.

Jakanden
12-12-2007, 05:30 AM
I got 980 on the first try, but I had read the directions so I knew about up and down. It took me a bit to understand what the hell I was playing, but I dig it. It is definitely something to try a few times as an interesting discussion topic.

MoltenBoron
12-12-2007, 08:13 AM
I've only played once, got the companion right away before I knew exactly what I was doing, but figured out up and down pretty shortly after that. I was about half-way through life before I discovered there was treasure to be had and I started trying to get it. Wasted about a quarter of the time I had left trying to get a treasure that turned out to be impossible to reach. Then just walked right until both the wife and I died.

I don't know if I can play this game again, but I say that in a good way. For something done so simply, I found it deeply affecting and emotional. I also think it might have a sort of Rorschach Test quality; I'm drawing parallels to my own life and experience now as I'm typing this. I feel as though the ability to affect different viewers in different ways, based on what the viewer brings to the experience, is a crucial element in what makes a work art, and this game absolutely qualifies.

And just to back up Tomm, I couldn't figure out how to quit, either, and ended up using Ctrl-Alt-Del to bring up the task manager and close the game that way.

Jakanden
12-12-2007, 08:22 AM
And just to back up Tomm, I couldn't figure out how to quit, either, and ended up using Ctrl-Alt-Del to bring up the task manager and close the game that way.

RTFM! It is all there!

Yeah I had the same problem at first as well. I also had to look to figure out how to get out of full screen.

Brickroad
12-12-2007, 09:01 AM
I just played a game where I didn't move right at all, only up and down. By the end of my 0-point life I had nothing to look back on except a blurry expanse of green, signifying my lazy existence mooching off of family and crashing on friends' couches.

It did sting a bit when I saw the love of my life finally scroll off the screen, forever out of my reach.

Mewd
12-12-2007, 10:13 AM
It's interesting, there doesn't seem to be any wrong way to play this. There are no objectives besides what you impose yourself. You can try to get to the far right of the screen, or gather treasure for points.

Gathering points really doesn't have any sort of impact beyond gratifying you for getting them. There's no incentive beyond your personal enjoyment.

From a practical standpoint, the wife is a liability. It makes it harder to pass through tight corridors and the emotional hit of her dying us probably the most significant thing to happen in the game. On the other hand, however, simply having her there enriching simply by having them with you.

I don't find the game depressing. As a metaphor for life, I'd interpret that the game is ultimately what you make of it. Struggling to pass through that corridor, or struggling to obtain as many points as possible is enough to give you purpose enough to enjoy the ride through an otherwise shallow world.

It's arguable that it's demonstrating futility instead, since there is really no point to reach in it beyond the end. Even if you aren't trying to pass through the 'corridor,' I have to wonder if this is more about the passage of time than reaching the end of this pass.

reibeatall
12-12-2007, 10:24 AM
So, it's pretty, umm, touching, that at the begining of your game (life), you have this great expanse ahead of you. You can kinda see what the future may hold, but you can change that (by going up or down). But as you near the end of your game life, then everything is behind you, and you know your end is coming.

I also didn't know there was a woman my first playthrough. I walked down and skipped that part. I'll try again.

reibeatall
12-12-2007, 10:25 AM
It's arguable that it's demonstrating futility instead, since there is really no point to reach in it beyond the end. Even if you aren't trying to pass through the 'corridor,' I have to wonder if this is more about the passage of time than reaching the end of this pass.

My thesis is "Life is a journey, not a destination."

Mewd
12-12-2007, 10:47 AM
Right. That attitude puts this game in a much more positive light. Kudos.

MCBanjoMike
12-12-2007, 10:57 AM
So, it's pretty, umm, touching, that at the begining of your game (life), you have this great expanse ahead of you. You can kinda see what the future may hold, but you can change that (by going up or down). But as you near the end of your game life, then everything is behind you, and you know your end is coming .

That was a part that I found pretty interesting, too. Also, I found myself being somewhat shocked when my wife died. Somehow I'd just assumed we were in it together until the very end and then...all alone again. Just like real life, I thought, things you had taken for granted suddenly disappear and you find yourself destabilized.

I found the whole game to be quite surreal, never really catching on to the fact that treasure chests were worth a whole lot. I mostly just wanted to explore and see what was coming up. I suppose that's also a lot like life, too, at least in my case.

I guess the whole point of this game is to sit around analyzing it afterwards, then? It was a vaguely depressing experience and I'm not sure I want to play it again.

reibeatall
12-12-2007, 11:01 AM
I found the whole game to be quite surreal, never really catching on to the fact that treasure chests were worth a whole lot. I mostly just wanted to explore and see what was coming up. I suppose that's also a lot like life, too, at least in my case.


I'm glad I'm not the only one who didn't seem to care about the treasure. If it was in my path, I'd get it, but I wouldn't go out of my way for it.

Ben1842
12-12-2007, 11:06 AM
I didn't like it.

I gave it more of a chance then I normal would because Jeremy recommended it.

In the end I think it was more art than game.

I can appreciate what it was going for, but it just didn't touch me.

It felt very sterile and lonely, even if you choose to go with the "wife" person.

It's an interesting concept, but I don't think it was totally successful (for me).

Thanks for pointing out an interesting art thing though.

SamuelMarston
12-12-2007, 11:23 AM
That was a part that I found pretty interesting, too. Also, I found myself being somewhat shocked when my wife died. Somehow I'd just assumed we were in it together until the very end and then...all alone again. Just like real life, I thought, things you had taken for granted suddenly disappear and you find yourself destabilized.

I found the whole game to be quite surreal, never really catching on to the fact that treasure chests were worth a whole lot. I mostly just wanted to explore and see what was coming up. I suppose that's also a lot like life, too, at least in my case.

I guess the whole point of this game is to sit around analyzing it afterwards, then? It was a vaguely depressing experience and I'm not sure I want to play it again.

This was my viewpoint too, except I felt that the whole thing was really uplifting. The fact that something so simple is able to inspire some to strong emotions strikes me as a compliment to the human race, both that we can create something that moves others, and that we can be moved.

I can't wait to make my girlfriend play it. As a Film/Rhetoric double major, she'll probably eat it up.

djSyndrome
12-12-2007, 11:30 AM
I skipped the partner my first playthrough and just wandered around.

You get double points for walking with your partner.

If you let the game run and do nothing, it automatically advances time (and moves you towards the right edge of the screen). During these times the 'future' portion of the display on the right disappears.

There is so much symbolism in this game. Some of it is probably intentional.

Sprite
12-12-2007, 11:31 AM
Yeah, it'll be really interesting to see how different majors take this game/interactive art.

To those who were wondering, the woman indeed ages whether you marry her or not, and whether she's on the screen or not. I walked past until she disappeared, then spent most of my life standing there at 22 until she reappeared in my memory. So, I decided to go back and stare at her backside from afar. Then I decided such a thing was rude so I went around to her front before realizing that she would just slide off the screen and then I went back to stare at her behind. Then she died. Wasted opportunity, I guess.

Tomm Guycot
12-12-2007, 12:01 PM
I find reading your responses and learning about you far more interesting than the game itself.

(that's the point, I would guess)

Parish
12-12-2007, 12:22 PM
I find reading your responses and learning about you far more interesting than the game itself.

(that's the point, I would guess)
Yes. That made it a perfect choice for Fun Club. It's not even what people do that's interesting but rather how they interpret the results of those actions. You can only do so much within this game, but everyone seems to attach different meaning and significance to those limited actions.

Alixsar
12-12-2007, 12:39 PM
I...there was treasure? I didn't even notice.

But anyway, I spent most of my time going right, with a little bit of up and down for good measure. I liked how in the beginning of the game, the area on the right edge of the screen is all blurry, which I guess represents that the future is uncertain. And at the end, the left side is a mixture of all the areas you've been to previously but they're all blurred together. It also takes up close to half of the screen, because at that point you're really old and spend most of your time reliving your past memories, but your memory sucks since you're old and it's all blurred together. ...or something, I dunno.

Sprite
12-12-2007, 12:57 PM
I applaud this choice, Parish. You should do at least one artsy-fartsy game a month now. I feel like spending my winter break trying to make a simple artistic game like this now.

MCBanjoMike
12-12-2007, 02:24 PM
Playing this made me want to try a game that I think is called Braid. Did that ever come out? It was supposed to be artsy and interesting.

Phat
12-12-2007, 02:40 PM
Watching yourself futilely shuffle ahead as an old man after everything else is gone is (at the risk of sounding totally out of it) one of the most profound things I've seen in a videogame.

The point counter also evokes an effective microcosm: the dilemma we're faced with when it comes to balancing the pursuit of wealth and the pursuit of happiness.

And such great tunes! Well, tune. Just one. Great tune. Awesome tune.

MoltenBoron
12-12-2007, 02:40 PM
Playing this made me want to try a game that I think is called Braid. Did that ever come out? It was supposed to be artsy and interesting.

My understanding is that Braid's more game than art. Or, rather, it's focused on being a game, but in an artsy and well-thought-out way. Passage, on the other hand, is a fantastic experience as art and meets certain basic criteria of game-ness, but it feels much more like art than it does like a game.

Of course, I would probably be able to speak more knowledgeably about Braid if anyone was ever allowed to play it outside of the presence of the game's creator. But supposedly it's coming to XBox Live eventually, so when it does I'll be able to judge it on its merits.

EDIT: And to answer your question in a less obtuse way: Apparently the game is finished, to the point where it won an Innovation in Game Design award at the Independent Games Festival in 2006. The game's creator, Jonathan Blow, wanders the country showing it privately to people in the games industry and media, and those people leave the showings in awe of the game. Yet, despite apparently being finished for at least a year now, the game hasn't been publicly released yet. It has been announced that it will be released on XBox Live in early 2008.

Gredlen
12-12-2007, 02:44 PM
Wow, moving down totally changed the game.
So, naturally, my first time was simply moving forward with the spouse. I wasn't completely sure what to make of that, though I was a little sad when she died. I kept moving for a few seconds, then I decided there wasn't any point in continuing. I stopped and died shortly thereafter.
It was a very simple life and I was quite content when it was time for me to die.

Then I came here, saw that you can move down, and immediately went back to try that. Suddenly things got a little bit more complicated. I skipped the spouse and started hunting for the treasure. Everything was a maze and I kept getting hung up on dead-ends, which resulted in me not getting anywhere near as far as I did last time. I spent my final moments trying to get just one more, completely unsatisfied when the last chest contained nothing and I couldn't find another one. My score was significantly higher, but when I died, I still lamented that I couldn't get another chest. It felt like my death the second time came much quicker than the first time.

Rei's comment about life being about the journey rather than the destination really hit home after that. I spent the second game arbitrarily making the score and treasure my first priority. In the end, getting a higher score didn't change anything. There's more treasure than I could have ever hoped to have gained, so making that my goal doomed me to an unhappy death from the start.

As an allegory for life, I found this game interesting. I think I've learned something!

Sharkey
12-12-2007, 03:13 PM
I left them like this. Yes, I'm bitter about something.

Gredlen
12-12-2007, 03:14 PM
I left them like this. Yes, I'm bitter about something.

I was going to do that, but I didn't feel like sitting around that long.

Sharkey
12-12-2007, 03:42 PM
Probably been mentioned somewhere, but it'd be nice if there were a version with the genders reversed.

Also, maybe a button to leave your spouse behind. Give you the option of ditching her for a chest or whatever you're going for. Maybe make it possible to pick her up again, but she'd only put up with it once or twice, or you'd walk slower together afterward.

Then again, it doesn't need to be overcomplicated.

locit
12-12-2007, 06:18 PM
The point counter also evokes an effective microcosm: the dilemma we're faced with when it comes to balancing the pursuit of wealth and the pursuit of happiness.
What exactly represented happiness? Going right?

Phat
12-12-2007, 07:02 PM
What exactly represented happiness? Going right?
Do not question my opinion! Accept it as fact!

Or, alternatively: the first time I played through I felt a little rushed trying to collect treasure and get to the perceived end. The second time I just decided to dick around and I actually came out enjoying it more. I actually felt more entertained when I was liberated from the responsibility of point collecting.

So, yes. Going right.

Sprite
12-12-2007, 08:40 PM
Probably been mentioned somewhere, but it'd be nice if there were a version with the genders reversed.

Also, maybe a button to leave your spouse behind. Give you the option of ditching her for a chest or whatever you're going for. Maybe make it possible to pick her up again, but she'd only put up with it once or twice, or you'd walk slower together afterward.

Then again, it doesn't need to be overcomplicated.

My friends thought they should add a ton of stuff, like going to college, which slows you down for a little while but makes chest worth more. But i agree the game is best left uncomplicated. A female version, gay version, and lesbian version would be cool, but I think the game is strong enough to affect anyone whatever their sex or sexuality.

locit
12-12-2007, 09:04 PM
So, yes. Going right.
Man, happiness is boring.

In any case, the more I think about it the more annoyed I become with the limited viewpoint. I suppose there's a deep meaning there, but darn if I'm not at all inclined to dig for it.

Mewd
12-12-2007, 09:58 PM
I think going right represented expanding your horizons, seeing the world, bettering yourself maybe. You can be happy gathering wealth, even if you it isn't (paradoxically) very enriching compared to seeing all the environments.

mazoboom
12-12-2007, 11:51 PM
What represents happiness is that you get double points with the wife. I played two games: one just walking right with a woman and one getting treasure. I ended up with about the same score. Seems right to me. Okay, I played a third game and just sat at the beginning until I died.

My first game was just walking right and then, at about 200 points, I slipped and pressed down and my mind was blown. However, I was far too OCD and wanted to walk as much right as I could, and saved the walking down for the second playthrough. Yes, all of these responses say lots about our own lives: thus this game has a crazier system then SaGa. A++ would play again. Except that I have no patience for a fourth life. I guess that means I wouldn't want immortality.

le geek
12-13-2007, 06:28 AM
I really liked it. More experience than game, but I thought it was cool.

Mewd
12-13-2007, 11:02 AM
I guess that means I wouldn't want immortality.

I'm reminded of a bit from a Kurt Vonnegut novel. God Bless You Mr. Rosewater, I think.

God asks Adam and Eve how they are enjoying life. They say it's alright, but would probably appreciate it more if they knew it was going to end sometime.

le geek
12-13-2007, 06:03 PM
I'm reminded of a bit from a Kurt Vonnegut novel. God Bless You Mr. Rosewater, I think.

Hmm, "public hair = pornography" is what I mostly remember from that novel.

SamuelMarston
12-13-2007, 06:35 PM
Hmm, "public hair = pornography" is what I mostly remember from that novel.

I'm not ashamed of my public hair.

Crested Penguin
12-14-2007, 10:55 PM
My first time through, I went right, and picked up the partner. I had read the sparse instructions, so I did move up and down some - I didn't recognize the treasure as anything though - I thought the number was a time counter. So I ended up fiddling around, just navigating.

About halfway through, when I started realizing the characters were aging, my wife started looking over my shoulder. She told me it looked dumb, there didn't seem to be any point. She kept watching, and when she saw the next aging transition, she said, "Oh," and became much more interested. It got more and more difficult to navigate right, and then I got to a big set of dead ends, and bam, dead spouse. We were both a little shocked. I hobbled around the obstructions, and ended dead on the other side of a wall, only a few tiles away from the partner.

She and I agreed that it was pretty poignant. This makes it a landmark, because my wife has little (no) affection for chiptunes, and no nostalgia for pixel art outside of games she played as a kid. So the fact that this pixeley, chiptunesy, weird game managed to get a hold on her says something.

djSyndrome
12-14-2007, 11:21 PM
Hmm, "public hair = pornography" is what I mostly remember from that novel.

The Island Nation of Japan would like to have a word with you.

Parish
12-15-2007, 09:07 AM
Hmm, "public hair = pornography" is what I mostly remember from that novel.
"Eight-year-olds, Dude."

Falselogic
12-16-2007, 01:30 PM
At the very beginning you can see ahead of you all the different places you'll be walking through, or most of them. I say this as as a young person you imagine all the places you'll go and things you'll do. You don't imagine all the places though, because no one imagines themselves being old and in a home, so you never see those until you walk into them much later in the game

You are also walking in a open, green field. As you move over your view becomes limited to just in front of you and nothing if whats behind you. Also the environment becomes much more sterile. You spend about half the game in this area, which I thought of as "work" also there are two types of chest the ones with stars and the ones with flies. I thought that the chests were goals or aspirations that we have to aim for in life, some work out, some don't... Half way through you get to another green area, I thought of this as where you've retired, the kids are out of the house and you have a second childhood, enjoying the world again, after all that work. then you move into sterile enviroments again. These are those years spent at home or in one, where you are alive but not in any condition to enjoy it. At this point your past begins to creep back onto the screen, where it takes up more and more of your life.

In the beginning you focus on the future, in mid life you only focus on the present, and in late life you focus on the past. The fact that this is part of the game says a lot of the makers conceptions on life as well.

I loved the game I think I'll be sending it to all my friends and family to see what they thought.

Has playing this game made anyone thing of what they are doing in their real life right now? Are you chasing treasure chests that might be empty? are you focusing only on the past or future? It's making me think about my life a little more right now... I'd like to see if anyone else is...

Thanks Jeremy!

Parish
12-16-2007, 03:44 PM
Yup. Good discussion all around.

Next: something dreadful.