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Passage - Life and Death in 500KB.

043043 Registered User
edited January 2008 in Games and Technology
http://hcsoftware.sourceforge.net/passage/index.html

A thirty year old programmer named Jason Rohrer, after thinking about life and death, came up with this amazingly simple "game." The arrow keys control your character (you can also use an Xbox 360 controller), and you can move up or down in the world (don't forget this) to explore "life." This little app will take five minutes of your time, but hopefully it'll hit the emotional mark it was going for.

Screenshots:

[size=+2]Warning: These spoil the entire point of the five minute playthrough. You might as well play it.[/size]
titlezm8.jpg

beginningst1.jpg

walkingfv0.jpg

passagesaduo4.jpg

I think it's awesome, really. It's quick, to the point, and very emotional. I hope that when he shows it to his wife, she loves it as much as everyone who's played and enjoyed it.

There's even an article on his feeling's about it, but I wouldn't read it until after you've played it.

http://hcsoftware.sourceforge.net/passage/statement.html

NOTE: I hope this isn't considered site whoring, since I've given just about all of the info on the little bugger I can without giving it away. It's something I simply wanted to share, and maybe discuss the point, but mostly just share.

[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
043 on
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Posts

  • Mort sur la rueMort sur la rue __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2008
    INCREDIBLE game.

    Mort sur la rue on
  • KhavallKhavall British ColumbiaRegistered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Damn when.
    The girl died.

    Man that's pretty impressive levels of power from a damn pixel game like that


    Just, PLUNK! Now your wife is dead.

    Khavall on
  • CouscousCouscous Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    My guy only got one treasure chest. It was empty.

    Couscous on
  • LordNibblerLordNibbler Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    I didn't want to leave the spouse's grave behind. Thankfully I dropped down when it was still on the screen.

    LordNibbler on
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  • CouscousCouscous Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    In retrospect, I probably should have never picked her up so I could get more treasure chests.

    Couscous on
  • FencingsaxFencingsax It is difficult to get a man to understand, when his salary depends upon his not understanding GNU Terry PratchettRegistered User regular
    edited January 2008
    I guess I did this wrong

    Fencingsax on
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  • Mort sur la rueMort sur la rue __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2008
    He should make a sequel where instead of a line, it's like a circle that keeps rotating as you keep walking, and when you reach the end you reincarnate.

    Mort sur la rue on
  • PbPb Registered User
    edited January 2008
    Whoops, I didn't get the girl. I think I need a walkthrough.

    Pb on
  • MalkorMalkor Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Titmouse wrote: »
    In retrospect, I probably should have never picked her up so I could get more treasure chests.

    The ol' ball and chain weighed you down eh? I liked it it was short and to the point, but I think I get what he was trying to get across.

    Malkor on
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  • YodaTunaYodaTuna Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    So your options are either more money or a woman. Seems appropriate.

    YodaTuna on
  • PbPb Registered User
    edited January 2008
    1289, bitches. Lets see you do that with some whore riding your back!

    Pb on
  • Spore CloudSpore Cloud Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Every time I try to run this I get a dialog box with an error message, it says:

    16 bit MS-DOS Subsystem
    c:\Passage.exe
    The NTVDM CPU has encountered an illegal instruction.
    CS:0565 IP:02d4 OP:63 68 61 72 73 Choose 'Close' to terminate the application.

    Idea ideas?

    EDIT: Fixed, Firefox didn't download it correctly I guess, IE did though.

    Spore Cloud on
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  • MunacraMunacra Registered User
    edited January 2008
    I don't think I did this right.

    Munacra on
  • HallowedFaithHallowedFaith Call me Cloud. Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Needs more robots.

    HallowedFaith on
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    I'm making video games. DesignBy.Cloud
  • LemmingLemming Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    I got over a thousand points. I am the clear winner here.

    Edit: Yeah, seriously. This game clearly teaches that other people can only BRING YOU DOWN.

    Lemming on
  • Bryse EayoBryse Eayo Registered User
    edited January 2008
    Yep the only message I got here was if I grab the girl at the start it fucks me over.

    :D

    Bryse Eayo on
  • ZekZek Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Munacra wrote: »
    I don't think I did this right.

    And when you think about it, do any of us really do it right?

    but seriously what the hell is this about treasure, i sure didn't find any

    Zek on
  • MahnmutMahnmut Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    I never saw
    the girl.

    I spent my whole playthrough wondering whether the environments were supposed to symbolize the Stages of Life in some way. :|

    Mahnmut on
    Steam/LoL: Jericho89
  • urahonkyurahonky Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Pfft. That's it? Terrible game.

    I mean, I get the point... It's talking about how life is a long road full of obstacles... And the the only thing you get in the end is death.

    Woah... Shit. What a great as game. The music was actually really good.

    urahonky on
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  • MegaMan001MegaMan001 CRNA Rochester, MNRegistered User regular
    edited January 2008
    At first I thought the game was trying to convey that moving through life quickly is a very shallow way of doing it. I mean, if you move really quickly the entire background becomes fuzzy, as do your character, so I interpreted that to mean that shooting through life makes you lose perspective. When you stand still you are able to see things a bit more clearly.

    Of course, I don't think I saw one treasure thing and when my wife died I was seriously like D:

    MegaMan001 on
    I am in the business of saving lives.
  • MJMJ Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Whoa...:cry:
    I feel like I just played an epic.
    The moment my partner went *plunk* into a tombstone, I felt a lump in my throat. And then the character I controlled went soon after.
    And then reading the article? Yea...double sad smiley.

    MJ on
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  • Samir Duran DuranSamir Duran Duran Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    If you intend to collect boxed treasure for a living, you should hold off on marriage?

    Am I doing this interpreting thing right?

    Samir Duran Duran on
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  • Zetetic ElenchZetetic Elench Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    I played this a few weeks ago, and yes, it's brilliant.

    But I think it only just qualifies as a game, riding mostly on its pixel graphics.

    Still, gorgeous. Anyone played the wonderfully irreverent destructoid mod? (not to be played by anyone who hasn't played the original, obviously)

    Zetetic Elench on
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  • RavenlockRavenlock Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Hunh. I was going to make this very thread here today, but I did a search and saw that people had verbally crapped all over Passage in the "Indie Games" thread, so I figured why bother. ;-)

    I did, however, make a thread about it over at the SomethingAwful forums which spawned a fair bit of discussion, so these comments are mostly copied from my comments there:

    What impressed me about Passage was that with some definitively Atari-esque graphics and almost no gameplay, he managed to convey an emotion (and arguably a philosophical perspective) through a very straightforward nonlinear [in a sense] experience, rather than through simply reading / hearing / watching a story.
    Honestly, on a conceptual level, everything he did impresses me more the more I think about it. The "future"/"memory" device is really clever, having the area around you be clear, but having the future be very hazy when you're young, and the past get hazier as you get old. Also, the very simple, but eloquently implemented, "limitations" of marriage. You have a companion who will help you (you get more points for finding chests if you have her), but your travel options become limited and eventually you have to deal with her loss. The moment when she very suddenly is replaced by a tombstone is more jarring than I expected.

    Really well thought out, for what it is - which is a five minute experimental title, NOT an earthshattering artistic statement, as some people were criticizing it at SA as though it were supposed to be. I felt kind of like it was a poem, in game form. And its being in game form means it is partially written by the player, which is notably different from any other kind of poem. It doesn't have to change the world to make that pretty neat. :^::^:

    I do hope he shows it to his wife someday. It's certainly sad at the end, but I also found it touching, and not really depressing in retrospect. We DO all die, but this game is pretty much 100% focused on the choices we have before that happens. I would think (hope) that his real spouse would find their choices reaffirmed by this sort of thing. :)

    Ravenlock on
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  • TechBoyTechBoy Registered User
    edited January 2008
    urahonky wrote: »
    Pfft. That's it? Terrible game.

    I mean, I get the point... It's talking about how life is a long road full of obstacles... And the the only thing you get in the end is death.

    Woah... Shit. What a great as game. The music was actually really good.

    Seriously, I get that the author has recently experienced a death of someone close to him, but that doesn't excuse the game for being extremely nihilistic and trite.

    Everything is meaningless because one day you die. Also, despite the fact that you meet your wife at age 10, you will never ever ever have children or leave any sort of legacy. All you will have is squished memories of the colored regions of the past! (Ok, that part might be fairly accurate)

    And lets be realistic here, Females have universally longer life expectancy than males. You should be the one plunking dead first.

    TechBoy on
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  • kedinikkedinik Social Justice Sorcerer Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    It was neither a fun game nor did it convey a meaningful message. I want those 5 minutes of my life back.

    kedinik on
  • DavoidDavoid Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    I liked it. I also like editing the music in MSPaint. Try opening the music file in photoshop or what have you and changing around the image.

    Davoid on
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  • RavenlockRavenlock Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    TechBoy wrote: »
    Seriously, I get that the author has recently experienced a death of someone close to him, but that doesn't excuse the game for being extremely nihilistic and trite.

    Everything is meaningless because one day you die. Also, despite the fact that you meet your wife at age 10, you will never ever ever have children or leave any sort of legacy. All you will have is squished memories of the colored regions of the past! (Ok, that part might be fairly accurate)

    And lets be realistic here, Females have universally longer life expectancy than males. You should be the one plunking dead first.

    I actually don't find the game nihilistic at all. Trite I'll give you, but I don't think that's necessarily bad. When you take into account that he's giving a very broad representation of life as a bunch of freaking pixels in five minutes, I think you can forgive the absence of children, jobs, etc.

    I think it's a pretty straightforward display of choices and consequences. Greatly simplified? Of course. But not badly represented, for how simplified it is. As someone in the SomethingAwful thread mentioned, after several playthroughs he found that even though the game was arguably harder with the spouse along, he found he didn't want to play through it without her.

    A game that can elicit that sort of response from a player is not a waste of time, especially not when the time involved is less than it takes to flip channels or go to the bathroom.

    And the absence of a "legacy" is only nihilistic if you think that the purpose of one's life is to build such a legacy. Which is fine if you happen to think that, it just isn't the focus of this particular game...thing. Personally, it never even occurred to me as I was playing that a legacy aspect was missing.

    It's hugely open to interpretation, of course - which is kind of the point.

    EDIT: You are right about the life expectancy thing, though. That DID cross my mind while I was playing.

    Ravenlock on
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  • ED!ED! Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    I skipped the girl because she looked like a lamp-post. Got a lot of treasure points though.

    ED! on
    "Get the hell out of me" - [ex]girlfriend
  • ScosglenScosglen Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Is the hidden lesson that marriage will hold back your treasure-getting opportunities? I got like twice as many points as a bachelor.

    And honestly, this games' resonance with some people is more a testament to the human imagination than clever design. The 'game' is designed to be as minimalistic as possible, and so as people we naturally pick up the slack ourselves and imagine relationships and emotions that the game only gives barely the slightest of hints at to make it more interesting. An interesting converse is that as game experiences become more and more fleshed out with increasingly "lifelike" fidelity there is less and less opportunity for us to fill in the gaps ourselves and we are forced to only accept what the developers present to us, like a film.

    Scosglen on
  • LewiePLewieP Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    When my wife dies, I stop exploring, and stand by her grave so we can be together forever.

    LewieP on
  • OhtsamOhtsam Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    LewieP wrote: »
    When my wife dies, I stop exploring, and stand by her grave so we can be together forever.

    That's uh
    um...
    Kinda disturbing

    Ohtsam on
  • LewiePLewieP Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    I knew I was going to die soon after her, and I wanted our graves to be side by side. If I had carried on exploring, our graves would have been no way near each other. Is that not romantic?

    According to the designer, what you can see on screen is what you can remember, had I let my wifes gravestone go off screen, that would represent forgetting about her.

    LewieP on
  • DeusfauxDeusfaux Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    kedinik wrote: »
    It was neither a fun game nor did it convey a meaningful message. I want those 5 minutes of my life back.

    caveat: music was good

    Deusfaux on
  • TechBoyTechBoy Registered User
    edited January 2008
    Ravenlock wrote: »
    TechBoy wrote: »
    Seriously, I get that the author has recently experienced a death of someone close to him, but that doesn't excuse the game for being extremely nihilistic and trite.

    Everything is meaningless because one day you die. Also, despite the fact that you meet your wife at age 10, you will never ever ever have children or leave any sort of legacy. All you will have is squished memories of the colored regions of the past! (Ok, that part might be fairly accurate)

    And lets be realistic here, Females have universally longer life expectancy than males. You should be the one plunking dead first.

    I actually don't find the game nihilistic at all. Trite I'll give you, but I don't think that's necessarily bad. When you take into account that he's giving a very broad representation of life as a bunch of freaking pixels in five minutes, I think you can forgive the absence of children, jobs, etc.

    I think it's a pretty straightforward display of choices and consequences. Greatly simplified? Of course. But not badly represented, for how simplified it is. As someone in the SomethingAwful thread mentioned, after several playthroughs he found that even though the game was arguably harder with the spouse along, he found he didn't want to play through it without her.

    A game that can elicit that sort of response from a player is not a waste of time, especially not when the time involved is less than it takes to flip channels or go to the bathroom.

    And the absence of a "legacy" is only nihilistic if you think that the purpose of one's life is to build such a legacy. Which is fine if you happen to think that, it just isn't the focus of this particular game...thing. Personally, it never even occurred to me as I was playing that a legacy aspect was missing.

    It's hugely open to interpretation, of course - which is kind of the point.

    EDIT: You are right about the life expectancy thing, though. That DID cross my mind while I was playing.

    Stuff that he wrote on his explanation page give me a nihilistic vibe too
    Yes, you could spend your five minutes trying to accumulate as many points as possible, but in the end, death is still coming for you. Your score looks pretty meaningless hovering there above your little tombstone. This treatment of character death stands in stark contrast with the way death is commonly used in video games (where you die countless times during a given game and emerge victorious---and still alive---in the end). Passage is a game in which you die only once, at the very end, and you are powerless to stave off this inevitable loss.

    Emphasis mine. It gives me that good ole nihilistic vibe, but that could be just my interpretation. At the very least, he seems to be against the idea that getting a really really freakin' high score is a good objective in life.

    (I did like the music though, that's pretty universal)

    TechBoy on
    tf2_sig.png
  • FanciestWalnutFanciestWalnut Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    He should show his wife once he learns how to code in real graphics, needs more anti-aliasing.

    FanciestWalnut on
  • VariableVariable Ted Hitler Stroke Me Lady FameRegistered User regular
    edited January 2008
    quite cool though I didn't realize I could take the girl.

    Variable on
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  • DusdaDusda is ashamed of this post Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    An interesting five minute trip, impressive enough to quiet me for a few minutes of thought. The visual metaphors for live and death are particularly notable.

    Anyone who doesn't at least briefly ponder the author's points about life doesn't have a soul.

    Dusda on
  • Goose!Goose! That's me, honey Show me the way home, honeyRegistered User regular
    edited January 2008
    TechBoy wrote: »
    Emphasis mine. It gives me that good ole nihilistic vibe, but that could be just my interpretation. At the very least, he seems to be against the idea that getting a really really freakin' high score is a good objective in life.

    (I did like the music though, that's pretty universal)
    Nihilists? Fuck me. I mean, say what you like about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, but at least it's an ethos.

    Goose! on
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  • CherrnCherrn Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    It didn't really do anything for me at all, and I'm a huge sucker for philosophical, emotional wankery. I appreciate it as a statement of what he was trying to do, but eh... didn't really impress or move me.

    Cherrn on
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