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Game Description

A game about the passage of time.

Community Rating:
from 76 ratings

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Game Info

sadlet indie-intro art is_a_game death not_a_game artgame short low-res gamma256  
Date of Release:
December 2007
Jason Rohrer
Windows, Mac OS X, Linux
Also try: Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Minecraft
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Windows: exe 485 KB
Mac OS X: dmg 485 KB
Linux: gz 485 KB


2 of 3 people found
this review helpful.

Paulpaul 4
This is Rohrer on this game, quoted because it’s a pretty good summary:

“Passage represents life’s challenges with a maze. The screen geometry only allows you to view a narrow slice of this maze at any given moment. You can see quite a distance out in front of you (and, later in life, behind you), but you can’t see anything to the north or south. You may see a reward up ahead but not be able to see a clear path to it. In fact, after a bit of exploration, you may discover that a seemingly nearby reward is in fact unreachable.”

This game is famous as an “art game” and arguably the game that popularized the term. As such it’s pretty important to play through, and since it only takes a few minutes that shouldn’t be much of a problem. Unfortunately a lot of people let things get in the way of appreciating the game or art games in general, it’s best to come to it without the intent to dislike it. But that’s often impossible.

My main criticism of this game and most art games is that they often aren’t long enough. If you’re going to make an art game, why make one that’s so short that it doesn’t even feel like a game at all? It feels more like a poem game than an art game. This game had a lot of potential for expansion, and I wish it had more modes, more variations on the theme, perhaps “levels”, each a complete life, each focusing on a different human aspect of the passage of time. Experimental shouldn’t be an excuse to call a proof of concept a game. How much more powerful would the game have been if there had been more to it? I don’t know, maybe it wouldn’t work as well as I imagine it, but to some extent it feels as if most 2-minute art games aren’t trying hard enough and are more like art mini games.

0 of 1 people found
this review helpful.

Weegeemote 5 The greatest small game.
Whenever anyone I know says that videogames aren’t or can’t be art, the thing that I show them is this.

It has more meaning, emotion, and innovation in its making than almost any other game I know. Hey, it might be short, but so’s Lord Byron’s “Darkness” and Mike Leigh’s “Afternoon”.

The simplicity and minimalism of it appeal to me. It’s best to go into the game with an empty mind and just sort of play without exactly noting what it is before play— gradually finding out. The economy of details in this game is, too, amazing. From being able to see a distance in front at the beginning, and behind at the end, or the subtle changes is imagery, music, and so on, and a sort of gentle non linearity as well as a gentle guiding hand in the gameplay. I feel like the concept of this game has more power in a short length of time than if it was a longer “proper” game. Like with poetry, a short game can be just as significant as a long one.