Jason Rohrer has just released an iPhone version of his highly unique, critically-acclaimed indie game Passage [link] through the iTunes App Store.

Passage is a touching "game" about life that lasts a mere five minutes.

The game is rather difficult for one person to explain to another and, what's more, it really needs to be played before it's discussed.  This puts me in a rather odd position, as a writer bringing news of Passage's arrival on the iPhone platform.  I would rather not even provide a screenshot of the game but, as one can be seen in the App Store, I have embedded one in the article as is our habit with such stories.

After having played the game and finding myself affected by the experience, I will simply say that I find the game to be (at least) five-minutes well spent (I've played it many times, now).  And I'm not alone in this.  The graphics and sound are quite primitive--but decidely so; graphics and sound aren't what this game is about.

A few media responses to the game:

"More than any game I've ever played, it illustrates how a game can be a fantastically expressive, artistic vehicle for exploring the human condition." -- Clive Thompson, Wired

"Passage may look primitive but it's an absolute pinnacle of videogame development." --Andy Chalk, The Escapist

"Portal is a fine game---nothing less than excellent... Passage is even better." --Nick Montfort, MIT

The author implores users to play Passage first and then read his account of just what he was trying to do with the game.  I agree that this is the best course.  If you feel you may regret having spent $0.99 on this title with so little idea what it's about, grab the free Mac OS X, Windows, or Linux version first and then decide if it's something you'd like to spend time with on the go.

There's a user discussion of the game in the Ars Technica forums that I found to be interesting reading, with a particular post summing up the experience of the game rather well.  (I would quote it, but I don't want to give anything away...)

Esquire takes an in-depth look at author Jason Rohrer and Passage in their December 2008 "Genius" issue.

App Store Link: Passage, $0.99

  • Lee

    Pretentious nonsense. Overblown, overhyped and overanalyzed. If this is supposed to be visual poetry, then Resident Evil must be Wordsworth.

  • Lee

    Pretentious nonsense. Overblown, overhyped and overanalyzed. If this is supposed to be visual poetry, then Resident Evil must be Wordsworth.

  • polyplay

    While I certainly wasn't as "moved" as some of the other industry folks who reviewed the game, I still found it to be a neat concept and a neat little game. I'm not sure if it's worth paying $.99 for a quick experience that you can have for free, but it's at least worth checking out.

  • polyplay

    While I certainly wasn't as "moved" as some of the other industry folks who reviewed the game, I still found it to be a neat concept and a neat little game. I'm not sure if it's worth paying $.99 for a quick experience that you can have for free, but it's at least worth checking out.

  • vladino

    Just download the free version for windows or mac and you are fine. No need to pay 0.99 if you can get much better games for that price.

  • vladino

    Just download the free version for windows or mac and you are fine. No need to pay 0.99 if you can get much better games for that price.

  • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

    I will say for the record: I like Portal better than Passage. :-)

  • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

    I will say for the record: I like Portal better than Passage. :-)

  • polyplay

    ^^ Agreed!

  • polyplay

    ^^ Agreed!

  • http://www.davidleblond.com David Leblond

    I find it funny that the game is much easier to play if you don't pick up the chick. :)

  • http://www.davidleblond.com David Leblond

    I find it funny that the game is much easier to play if you don't pick up the chick. :)

  • Jeff M

    I agree... I already regret having paid the 0.99 for it, and it was off a gift card. :-) It really is just fine to play on a regular OS. No need to have this "on the go."

  • Jeff M

    I agree... I already regret having paid the 0.99 for it, and it was off a gift card. :-) It really is just fine to play on a regular OS. No need to have this "on the go."

  • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

    @David: It depends on what you're looking for.

  • sfditty

    OK I have to admit it... this game made me cry. My hard-earned dollar has been wasted, and I'll never get it back.

  • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

    @David: It depends on what you're looking for.

  • sfditty

    OK I have to admit it... this game made me cry. My hard-earned dollar has been wasted, and I'll never get it back.

  • aen

    i like what jason wrote about the game. its a nice idea.

  • aen

    i like what jason wrote about the game. its a nice idea.

  • ArtOfWarfare

    Blake,

    take this off of your website immediately.

    Refund these people their money. Refund me my time.

    We trust you to accurately review games. Apparently the trust is misplaced.

    Here's a reasonable review:

    The music sucks. The graphics are terrible. There's no plot. There's no gameplay. You'll have more fun playing five finger filet while hot coals are dropped down your back. If you're really feeling charitable, give it to the needy rather than the lousy developer that made this.

  • ArtOfWarfare

    Blake,

    take this off of your website immediately.

    Refund these people their money. Refund me my time.

    We trust you to accurately review games. Apparently the trust is misplaced.

    Here's a reasonable review:

    The music sucks. The graphics are terrible. There's no plot. There's no gameplay. You'll have more fun playing five finger filet while hot coals are dropped down your back. If you're really feeling charitable, give it to the needy rather than the lousy developer that made this.

  • Mystic

    Wow, that is depressing.

  • Mystic

    Wow, that is depressing.

  • http://www.visionaryart.biz nanokiwi

    No, oh god Noooooooooooooo!

  • http://www.visionaryart.biz nanokiwi

    No, oh god Noooooooooooooo!

  • Joe

    @art - The free game is linked right in the article

  • Joe

    @art - The free game is linked right in the article

  • aen

    things often appear stupid to those who dont comprehend them... there is one thing that makes this game different to any other game here: it is not just killing time but trying to make you actually think about what to do with the time you have left in your life in a sensible way. i appreciate that a lot!

  • aen

    things often appear stupid to those who dont comprehend them... there is one thing that makes this game different to any other game here: it is not just killing time but trying to make you actually think about what to do with the time you have left in your life in a sensible way. i appreciate that a lot!

  • Alza

    Just for the record, I prefer Braid

  • Alza

    Just for the record, I prefer Braid

  • Think

    I find it utterly ridiculous that it takes playing a retro styled video game for some people to be emotionally moved and reflect on life.

  • Think

    I find it utterly ridiculous that it takes playing a retro styled video game for some people to be emotionally moved and reflect on life.

  • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

    @Think: Well, I don't think people would respond the same way to Q*Bert.

  • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

    @Think: Well, I don't think people would respond the same way to Q*Bert.

  • Lee

    @aen: What? Are your boys in a mason jar sitting on your desk? Man up. Do you need a game that would make Atari 2600 graphics seem impressive in order to ponder what to do with your life? Here's the first clue on what not to do - don't play passage in order to ponder what to do with your life.

    Sheesh!

  • Lee

    @aen: What? Are your boys in a mason jar sitting on your desk? Man up. Do you need a game that would make Atari 2600 graphics seem impressive in order to ponder what to do with your life? Here's the first clue on what not to do - don't play passage in order to ponder what to do with your life.

    Sheesh!

  • MacTheSpoon

    Ugh, I knew it. A typically pretentious polemic, trying to get the viewer to "think." Glad I downloaded the free version for my Mac instead of wasting $.99.

    I don't consider crap like this to be art. You want to send a mesage, use a telegram. My idea of art is the cool graphics like in Hero of Sparta. That's art functioning as it's meant to, and is a thousand times more wonderful and emotionally richer than this dreck.

  • MacTheSpoon

    Ugh, I knew it. A typically pretentious polemic, trying to get the viewer to "think." Glad I downloaded the free version for my Mac instead of wasting $.99.

    I don't consider crap like this to be art. You want to send a mesage, use a telegram. My idea of art is the cool graphics like in Hero of Sparta. That's art functioning as it's meant to, and is a thousand times more wonderful and emotionally richer than this dreck.

  • http://erfundien.de Marcel

    Lee, thats what art is about. When you first read a poem by Goethe or read "The Trail" by Kafka, you might not see anything big behind it. But if u dive in further there are rly mindaltering revelations to be had. Or maybe you just look at an expressionistic painting and your just startled by its beauty and start thinking about life. The next guy might think its a terrible waste of space.

  • http://erfundien.de Marcel

    Lee, thats what art is about. When you first read a poem by Goethe or read "The Trail" by Kafka, you might not see anything big behind it. But if u dive in further there are rly mindaltering revelations to be had. Or maybe you just look at an expressionistic painting and your just startled by its beauty and start thinking about life. The next guy might think its a terrible waste of space.

  • Lee

    @Marcel: Please tell me you're not seriously comparing Passage to Kafka or Goethe are you? That's positively inane. Maybe I should right a polemic on how Sneezies is a sophisticated play on Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. Or how Brothers in Arms is an allegorical treatment of the Leviathan.

    Mindaltering revelations? In Passage?!? What are you smoking and where can I get some?

  • Lee

    @Marcel: Please tell me you're not seriously comparing Passage to Kafka or Goethe are you? That's positively inane. Maybe I should right a polemic on how Sneezies is a sophisticated play on Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. Or how Brothers in Arms is an allegorical treatment of the Leviathan.

    Mindaltering revelations? In Passage?!? What are you smoking and where can I get some?

  • http://www.hbdia.com IzzyNobre

    The game didn't move me the way people said it moved them, but I didnt find the author's explanation of the game interesting.

    I'm glad I downloaded the free version, though. And the "game" was quite boring.

  • http://www.hbdia.com IzzyNobre

    The game didn't move me the way people said it moved them, but I didnt find the author's explanation of the game interesting.

    I'm glad I downloaded the free version, though. And the "game" was quite boring.

  • TheBunny

    BLAH! what pretentious crap.

    Why is this being called game at all?

    And not like say a DEMO from the old demo scene?

  • TheBunny

    BLAH! what pretentious crap.

    Why is this being called game at all?

    And not like say a DEMO from the old demo scene?

  • http://erfundien.de Marcel

    @Lee: Sorry, somehow everything i write in english(not a native speaker) comes with a grain of pathos.
    Anyway, i guess i just meant to say that while you consider this just a game, others consider it art, with all the pros and cons that come with it.

  • http://erfundien.de Marcel

    @Lee: Sorry, somehow everything i write in english(not a native speaker) comes with a grain of pathos.
    Anyway, i guess i just meant to say that while you consider this just a game, others consider it art, with all the pros and cons that come with it.

  • Infowarfare

    Let's see if some of you with A.D.D. that didn't "get it" can actually read through this article about the creator of this art (and learn why Steven Spielberg, yes THAT Steven Spielberg, just hired him to work on a top secret EA game that "aims to be the first major video game whose action will not pivot on jumping puzzles or twitch-reflex fusillades but on a nuanced relationship."):

    http://www.esquire.com/features/best-and-brightest-2008/future-of-video-game-design-1208

  • Infowarfare

    Let's see if some of you with A.D.D. that didn't "get it" can actually read through this article about the creator of this art (and learn why Steven Spielberg, yes THAT Steven Spielberg, just hired him to work on a top secret EA game that "aims to be the first major video game whose action will not pivot on jumping puzzles or twitch-reflex fusillades but on a nuanced relationship."):

    http://www.esquire.com/features/best-and-brightest-2008/future-of-video-game-design-1208

  • Kia

    I don't get this at all. It's a complete and total waste of time. I have been hearing about this drivel constantly over the past few days, and I am not getting what people are seeing in it at all. There's no point, there's certainly no -message-. It's overblown, pretentious garbage. I'm all for artsy games, when they're done right. Like Braid. This? Ridiculous.

  • Kia

    I don't get this at all. It's a complete and total waste of time. I have been hearing about this drivel constantly over the past few days, and I am not getting what people are seeing in it at all. There's no point, there's certainly no -message-. It's overblown, pretentious garbage. I'm all for artsy games, when they're done right. Like Braid. This? Ridiculous.

  • spiffyone

    Pretentious? Perhaps. Most often when trying to "say" something, a little pretentiousness sneaks in. Nature of the beast, unfortunately. No gameplay? There's not much in the way of visceral action gameplay, no, but to say there isn't any gameplay at all to say there is no interaction...I wonder sometimes about some of my fellow gamers and whether or not they actually "get" the industry, the medium itself, or have played many games in genres outside of those they usually gravitate towards. Not art? Why, because it has primitive graphics? That's just...silly. Loads of games have primitive graphics but have had impact on the medium and gamers. Not saying that Passage will be one of them, but not having realistic graphics shouldn't be held against it. The graphics do what are needed: they convey only that which needs to be conveyed. Hell, I like the little touch of the passage ahead being blurry, then gradually that blur transferring to what is left behind, the fact that the field of vision is narrow, and that some areas are inaccessible with a partner. Could it have been better? Sure. But it's a nice effort. For those whining about paying .99, there was a link to the free version.

  • spiffyone

    Pretentious? Perhaps. Most often when trying to "say" something, a little pretentiousness sneaks in. Nature of the beast, unfortunately. No gameplay? There's not much in the way of visceral action gameplay, no, but to say there isn't any gameplay at all to say there is no interaction...I wonder sometimes about some of my fellow gamers and whether or not they actually "get" the industry, the medium itself, or have played many games in genres outside of those they usually gravitate towards. Not art? Why, because it has primitive graphics? That's just...silly. Loads of games have primitive graphics but have had impact on the medium and gamers. Not saying that Passage will be one of them, but not having realistic graphics shouldn't be held against it. The graphics do what are needed: they convey only that which needs to be conveyed. Hell, I like the little touch of the passage ahead being blurry, then gradually that blur transferring to what is left behind, the fact that the field of vision is narrow, and that some areas are inaccessible with a partner. Could it have been better? Sure. But it's a nice effort. For those whining about paying .99, there was a link to the free version.

  • Ryan

    Well if clicking on anywhere on 50% on my screen linking to Rolando wasn't something that would make me totally stop taking notice of TouchArcade, this is.

    I paid for a game, with NO reasonable description (either here or on the app page) for absolutely nothing? I trust(ed) this site for news on iphone/touch apps and you claim this this pretentious bullshit is worth buying?

    Every time toucharcade sells out and/or starts sucking, an angel loses it's wings and a dev goes to the bank laughing.

  • Ryan

    Well if clicking on anywhere on 50% on my screen linking to Rolando wasn't something that would make me totally stop taking notice of TouchArcade, this is.

    I paid for a game, with NO reasonable description (either here or on the app page) for absolutely nothing? I trust(ed) this site for news on iphone/touch apps and you claim this this pretentious bullshit is worth buying?

    Every time toucharcade sells out and/or starts sucking, an angel loses it's wings and a dev goes to the bank laughing.

  • spiffyone

    Okay...NOW I'm not only beginning to question whether some of my fellow gamers are able to "get" the medium itself...but whether or not they have the ability to friggin' READ. The article on this site mentions, and LINKS TO the friggin' free Windows, Mac, and Linux versions. WTF more do you goobers need? The goddamn article basically does the equivalent of holding your friggin' hand and guiding you. Jebus H. friggin' Christ.

  • spiffyone

    Okay...NOW I'm not only beginning to question whether some of my fellow gamers are able to "get" the medium itself...but whether or not they have the ability to friggin' READ. The article on this site mentions, and LINKS TO the friggin' free Windows, Mac, and Linux versions. WTF more do you goobers need? The goddamn article basically does the equivalent of holding your friggin' hand and guiding you. Jebus H. friggin' Christ.

  • spiffyone

    "If you feel you may regret having spent $0.99 on this title with so little idea what it’s about, grab the free Mac OS X, Windows, or Linux version first and then decide if it’s something you’d like to spend time with on the go."

    ^^^How in the hell is that not clear?

  • spiffyone

    "If you feel you may regret having spent $0.99 on this title with so little idea what it’s about, grab the free Mac OS X, Windows, or Linux version first and then decide if it’s something you’d like to spend time with on the go."

    ^^^How in the hell is that not clear?

  • Ryan

    spiffyone, if i downloaded the free windows version and spent 5 minutes of my day on a pile of shite, i would be as pissed as I am with the iphone version.

    so get your panties out of a bunch, pop a valium, and calm down.

  • Ryan

    spiffyone, if i downloaded the free windows version and spent 5 minutes of my day on a pile of shite, i would be as pissed as I am with the iphone version.

    so get your panties out of a bunch, pop a valium, and calm down.

  • spiffyone

    Ryan, you're complaining about paying for the game, and blaming the site, which means you either ignored the section in the article linking to the free versions, or simply didn't read, or blindly trusted, all of which make you, good sir, seem like a doof.

    Wanna know what the difference is between you playing the free version and figuring it a waste of time or paying for it sight unseen and then blaming others for your silly decision? The former is the legitimate opinion of an intelligent human being, while the latter is just plain ****** dumb.

  • spiffyone

    Ryan, you're complaining about paying for the game, and blaming the site, which means you either ignored the section in the article linking to the free versions, or simply didn't read, or blindly trusted, all of which make you, good sir, seem like a doof.

    Wanna know what the difference is between you playing the free version and figuring it a waste of time or paying for it sight unseen and then blaming others for your silly decision? The former is the legitimate opinion of an intelligent human being, while the latter is just plain ****** dumb.

  • InfoWarfare

    @Ryan (and others) - Just because you don't have the intelligence or attention span to get what it's about is no reason to accuse TouchArcade for "sucking" for posting this. It's not like they are the only one who thinks this is actually relevant, so did ArsTechnica, Wall Street Journal, Wired Magazine, Esquire and Steve Spielberg... but of course you missed all of that in your impatience and impetuous youth.

    You seem the type that would rather watch yet another "Die Hard" movie (or in your case, another Jack Ass movie) over "No Country For Old Men" and that's exactly the problem with the under 30 kiddies these days; they've grown up on the fast-cut-MTV-twitch-action-Halo-games and anything that makes then stop and actually use their brain for longer than a minute makes them "angry at the world" and feel entitled to bitch and moan about it on forums!

    It just amazes me, now with the entire world at our finger tips [through the internet] how the youth of today are actually more ignorant, less informed and completely disrespectful of everyone that doesn't give them exactly what they want right now! Our world is truly doomed...

  • InfoWarfare

    @Ryan (and others) - Just because you don't have the intelligence or attention span to get what it's about is no reason to accuse TouchArcade for "sucking" for posting this. It's not like they are the only one who thinks this is actually relevant, so did ArsTechnica, Wall Street Journal, Wired Magazine, Esquire and Steve Spielberg... but of course you missed all of that in your impatience and impetuous youth.

    You seem the type that would rather watch yet another "Die Hard" movie (or in your case, another Jack Ass movie) over "No Country For Old Men" and that's exactly the problem with the under 30 kiddies these days; they've grown up on the fast-cut-MTV-twitch-action-Halo-games and anything that makes then stop and actually use their brain for longer than a minute makes them "angry at the world" and feel entitled to bitch and moan about it on forums!

    It just amazes me, now with the entire world at our finger tips [through the internet] how the youth of today are actually more ignorant, less informed and completely disrespectful of everyone that doesn't give them exactly what they want right now! Our world is truly doomed...

  • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

    @Ryan: I stand by this post. I found the game to be rather emotive, affecting. It's a $0.99 game. Let's keep things in perspective. But even still, I pointed out a free download for three desktop platforms. If you don't "get" the "game," well, that's fine. But I don't see how you can gripe too much about it given the free download links I provided.

    I think folks that "get" it will find it to be a rather valuable experience. Those that don't, well, I think you're missing out on a nice opportunity.

  • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

    @Ryan: I stand by this post. I found the game to be rather emotive, affecting. It's a $0.99 game. Let's keep things in perspective. But even still, I pointed out a free download for three desktop platforms. If you don't "get" the "game," well, that's fine. But I don't see how you can gripe too much about it given the free download links I provided.

    I think folks that "get" it will find it to be a rather valuable experience. Those that don't, well, I think you're missing out on a nice opportunity.

  • Mchart

    I value GAMES on fun and their value. This "game" meets none of those requirements. Toucharcade has once again proven it's a sellout. Can we get a review of tatomic yet? Or do you need to be paid first?

  • Mchart

    I value GAMES on fun and their value. This "game" meets none of those requirements. Toucharcade has once again proven it's a sellout. Can we get a review of tatomic yet? Or do you need to be paid first?

  • Stealthmice

    InfoWarfare, well put.

    I came here to hear about the different thoughts of how others may have spent their 5 minutes... now I am thoroughly disappointed by what others are saying here.

    Sad.

    A lovely and beautiful game wasted here.

  • Stealthmice

    InfoWarfare, well put.

    I came here to hear about the different thoughts of how others may have spent their 5 minutes... now I am thoroughly disappointed by what others are saying here.

    Sad.

    A lovely and beautiful game wasted here.

  • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

    @Mchart: I'm not sure where the "sellout" accusation comes from. We were not contacted by the author on this title. And, further, I can assure you that we have never been paid for any review of any title ever reported on this site.

  • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

    @Mchart: I'm not sure where the "sellout" accusation comes from. We were not contacted by the author on this title. And, further, I can assure you that we have never been paid for any review of any title ever reported on this site.

  • http://www.hbdia.com IzzyNobre

    Not trying to jump into the flamw war but in all honesty, calling this a "game" is being generous.

  • http://www.hbdia.com IzzyNobre

    Not trying to jump into the flamw war but in all honesty, calling this a "game" is being generous.

  • polyplay

    Whoa.

    I'm not really a big fan of these heavy-on-concept-light-on-fun games, but some of the backlash on both the game and Touch Arcade is pretty absurd. The game was a neat experience (for being free) and because of the attention it got when it was released, it is certainly note-worthy.

    It isn't the kind of thing I would want on my iPod, but some folks will find it interesting. If you don't want it, don't get it; directing rage at the game or the site isn't going to stop you from eventually becoming a tombstone. ;)

  • polyplay

    Whoa.

    I'm not really a big fan of these heavy-on-concept-light-on-fun games, but some of the backlash on both the game and Touch Arcade is pretty absurd. The game was a neat experience (for being free) and because of the attention it got when it was released, it is certainly note-worthy.

    It isn't the kind of thing I would want on my iPod, but some folks will find it interesting. If you don't want it, don't get it; directing rage at the game or the site isn't going to stop you from eventually becoming a tombstone. ;)

  • Destinite

    My, my...art or not, this "game" sure has people talking about it. I just don't understand why this is 99 cents and free on every other platform...doesn't seem fair.

  • Destinite

    My, my...art or not, this "game" sure has people talking about it. I just don't understand why this is 99 cents and free on every other platform...doesn't seem fair.

  • spiffyone

    Izzy, define "game" in the context of video games. And, yes, that is a trick question seeing as how the industry itself has grappled since its infancy to define what exactly is a game.

    BTW, Blake...I think you should take the rantings and whines of some here with a grain of salt. In fact, you should probably hold them up proudly. The site's is experiencing the sporadic visitations of trolls, which means it's become more popular.

  • spiffyone

    Izzy, define "game" in the context of video games. And, yes, that is a trick question seeing as how the industry itself has grappled since its infancy to define what exactly is a game.

    BTW, Blake...I think you should take the rantings and whines of some here with a grain of salt. In fact, you should probably hold them up proudly. The site's is experiencing the sporadic visitations of trolls, which means it's become more popular.

  • sfditty

    One thing I have to dispute is the claim by many who like this game that those that don't like or just don't get it. I get it, and I think it's uninteresting as a game or art. Hey, some people gush over sappy sentimental Hallmark cards, and some think they're crapola, but it doesn't mean those who don't gush didn't understand the card.

  • sfditty

    One thing I have to dispute is the claim by many who like this game that those that don't like or just don't get it. I get it, and I think it's uninteresting as a game or art. Hey, some people gush over sappy sentimental Hallmark cards, and some think they're crapola, but it doesn't mean those who don't gush didn't understand the card.

  • InfoWarfare

    @sfditty - nope, you don't get it. If you did you would realize it's not a game, but an eye opening statement on your life... if you are under 30, you just won't "get it". If you are over 30, you'll get it and appreciate it, but may not be that strongly affected by it. If you are over 40, it will hit you hard and make you realize the brilliance of it.

    What you guys don't "get" is that, if you are under 30, right now you are in the stage of your life where you are wandering around, trying to collect as much treasure as you can (cars, gadgets, money, girls, etc.) and when you hit 30 you realize that you got to get more serious and start really working towards a goal, maybe get married; work towards something. Then 40 comes around before you know it and you realize that either, all of the things you wanted to accomplish in life by now you haven't, or if you have, it means nothing, and now you are just "getting old" and at any time, without warning, you can die. Or lose your loved one. And you start looking back at your life, trying to remember where you went wrong... but if you are under 30 all you are thinking is "this game sucks cause the graphics ain't good like Halo and I can't blow shit up"... and you just. don't. get it.

  • InfoWarfare

    @sfditty - nope, you don't get it. If you did you would realize it's not a game, but an eye opening statement on your life... if you are under 30, you just won't "get it". If you are over 30, you'll get it and appreciate it, but may not be that strongly affected by it. If you are over 40, it will hit you hard and make you realize the brilliance of it.

    What you guys don't "get" is that, if you are under 30, right now you are in the stage of your life where you are wandering around, trying to collect as much treasure as you can (cars, gadgets, money, girls, etc.) and when you hit 30 you realize that you got to get more serious and start really working towards a goal, maybe get married; work towards something. Then 40 comes around before you know it and you realize that either, all of the things you wanted to accomplish in life by now you haven't, or if you have, it means nothing, and now you are just "getting old" and at any time, without warning, you can die. Or lose your loved one. And you start looking back at your life, trying to remember where you went wrong... but if you are under 30 all you are thinking is "this game sucks cause the graphics ain't good like Halo and I can't blow shit up"... and you just. don't. get it.

  • sfditty

    @ InfoWarfare - I'm actually 37. And thanks for explaining what the game is about, it verifies for me from an outside source that I do in fact get the game, and haven't been missing anything about it.

  • sfditty

    @ InfoWarfare - I'm actually 37. And thanks for explaining what the game is about, it verifies for me from an outside source that I do in fact get the game, and haven't been missing anything about it.

  • mrkgoo

    I liked it.

    I don't see why people are complaining so much. People may not 'get' it, but it's not like it cost that much (free if you were paying attention). I especially like the way it depicts how you vaguely see things ahead with the blurring effect, as well as your position on the screen. How this lessens as you move forward, until it then becomes hard to look back. It's a direct metaphor.

    And I would disagree that it's actually a game, but the definition of a game is loose anyway. I'd say it's more like interactive art. I for one aprreciate teh retro look, and I love 8-bit music.

    For the record, I'm sure it costs 99c, just so they can recoup costs of the developer agreement/kit thingy.

  • mrkgoo

    I liked it.

    I don't see why people are complaining so much. People may not 'get' it, but it's not like it cost that much (free if you were paying attention). I especially like the way it depicts how you vaguely see things ahead with the blurring effect, as well as your position on the screen. How this lessens as you move forward, until it then becomes hard to look back. It's a direct metaphor.

    And I would disagree that it's actually a game, but the definition of a game is loose anyway. I'd say it's more like interactive art. I for one aprreciate teh retro look, and I love 8-bit music.

    For the record, I'm sure it costs 99c, just so they can recoup costs of the developer agreement/kit thingy.

  • http://www.mavisxp.com mavis

    Wow. It really says a lot about the demographic here at TA, to see so many immature whiners complaining about this game. I didn't buy it, because as Blake clearly pointed out, it's freely available for Mac/Win users - those of you who rushed out and bought it and now feel cheated somehow ... here's a suggestion: learn to read.

    And thanks for posting about this game. It was moving.

  • http://www.mavisxp.com mavis

    Wow. It really says a lot about the demographic here at TA, to see so many immature whiners complaining about this game. I didn't buy it, because as Blake clearly pointed out, it's freely available for Mac/Win users - those of you who rushed out and bought it and now feel cheated somehow ... here's a suggestion: learn to read.

    And thanks for posting about this game. It was moving.

  • mrkgoo

    I was wondering where all the 'pretentious' remarks came from, because I certainly didn't find this software pretentious at all. But then I read the comments from the Esquire and other 'reviewers'. Those were pretentious.

    I see this 'game' as something created more about life and mortality. Made after someone ponders it all when they experience a loved one pass away. It's just a thought - maybe even an experiment to see if a piece of software can be touching as a piece of writing or an image can be.

    But to call it better than Portal or the pinnacle of videogame development? That's stretching it.

  • mrkgoo

    I was wondering where all the 'pretentious' remarks came from, because I certainly didn't find this software pretentious at all. But then I read the comments from the Esquire and other 'reviewers'. Those were pretentious.

    I see this 'game' as something created more about life and mortality. Made after someone ponders it all when they experience a loved one pass away. It's just a thought - maybe even an experiment to see if a piece of software can be touching as a piece of writing or an image can be.

    But to call it better than Portal or the pinnacle of videogame development? That's stretching it.

  • TSP

    I´m 31 and I get it. Lovely thoughtprovoking but not really a game.

  • TSP

    I´m 31 and I get it. Lovely thoughtprovoking but not really a game.

  • threejane

    Wow-- you have to credit this app and review for being discussable. Any time a thing that is free can make people so angry about its existence, somebody did something interesting.

    I find Passage to be an interesting use of the medium. It didn't speak to me in any profound way about my own life, but that's a high standard. It did invite me in to the creator's idea about some important Life-Things. When you think about it, usually that involves quite a bit of face-time and trust-building. I give him credit for finding an elegant way to convey that in a medium that is not often used for such things.

    I actually found his game Perfection to be more interesting to me, but that's because it nailed my own experiences as a programmer and researcher for the last decade. It's equally simple, and for most people probably equally meaningless. To me, though, I saw exactly what he was trying to convey and in this case I relate completely. Passage, less so-- I get his point, it just isn't that interesting to me.

    I don't think any of us can be "right" about the value of Passage. Historically, many works of art that are now considered to be great were ridiculed at the time of their creation. On the other hand, most things that were initially ridiculed are either still ridiculed today or have simply been forgotten by history. The fact that many of you hate it might mean it sucks, or it might mean you all suck. Similarly, those of you who love it might be insightful or you might just be another hipster jumping at another opportunity to display your Overwhelming Coolness to the Rest of Us.

    Get over yourselves. Play whatever you like. If the conviction with which one holds one's opinions were the measure of intelligence, Bill O'Reilly would be a Grand Dragon in Mensa.

  • threejane

    Wow-- you have to credit this app and review for being discussable. Any time a thing that is free can make people so angry about its existence, somebody did something interesting.

    I find Passage to be an interesting use of the medium. It didn't speak to me in any profound way about my own life, but that's a high standard. It did invite me in to the creator's idea about some important Life-Things. When you think about it, usually that involves quite a bit of face-time and trust-building. I give him credit for finding an elegant way to convey that in a medium that is not often used for such things.

    I actually found his game Perfection to be more interesting to me, but that's because it nailed my own experiences as a programmer and researcher for the last decade. It's equally simple, and for most people probably equally meaningless. To me, though, I saw exactly what he was trying to convey and in this case I relate completely. Passage, less so-- I get his point, it just isn't that interesting to me.

    I don't think any of us can be "right" about the value of Passage. Historically, many works of art that are now considered to be great were ridiculed at the time of their creation. On the other hand, most things that were initially ridiculed are either still ridiculed today or have simply been forgotten by history. The fact that many of you hate it might mean it sucks, or it might mean you all suck. Similarly, those of you who love it might be insightful or you might just be another hipster jumping at another opportunity to display your Overwhelming Coolness to the Rest of Us.

    Get over yourselves. Play whatever you like. If the conviction with which one holds one's opinions were the measure of intelligence, Bill O'Reilly would be a Grand Dragon in Mensa.

  • Josh

    Those of you who have trouble accepting 'Passage' have to understand that this game is unlike (m)any other game(s) you have played before.

    That statement isn't pretentious, but accurate.

    None of the design decisions that went into making this game were made FOR YOU.

    Ever wonder why you (probably) think 'Petz Hamsterz' is bullshit to you? It's because the designers weren't thinking of YOU when they made their design decisions.

    Every design decision that went into the creation of Passage, was made in reference to an artistic rationale. Why the name? Why the horizontal 'timeline' orientation? Why the classic 'gamey' graphics? Why the music?

    To appreciate this game, or any piece of art, is to understand the rationale. Of course, every art scene has it's output that seems complete bollocks to us – but even then, it speaks to people within the scene. Which sometimes seems like they're all just patting each other on the back.

    You're entitled to voice your opinion, but many of you just sound like shallow little teenage whiners. Which, to be honest, I completely expected to read when I clicked 'view comments' for this article.

  • Josh

    Those of you who have trouble accepting 'Passage' have to understand that this game is unlike (m)any other game(s) you have played before.

    That statement isn't pretentious, but accurate.

    None of the design decisions that went into making this game were made FOR YOU.

    Ever wonder why you (probably) think 'Petz Hamsterz' is bullshit to you? It's because the designers weren't thinking of YOU when they made their design decisions.

    Every design decision that went into the creation of Passage, was made in reference to an artistic rationale. Why the name? Why the horizontal 'timeline' orientation? Why the classic 'gamey' graphics? Why the music?

    To appreciate this game, or any piece of art, is to understand the rationale. Of course, every art scene has it's output that seems complete bollocks to us – but even then, it speaks to people within the scene. Which sometimes seems like they're all just patting each other on the back.

    You're entitled to voice your opinion, but many of you just sound like shallow little teenage whiners. Which, to be honest, I completely expected to read when I clicked 'view comments' for this article.

  • aen

    i apologise if i offended anyone by my last comment. i did not mean to call anyone stupid. thats the actual stupid thing...
    anyway, just by counting the comments i can tell that this gem made some people reflect about something, whatever that may be is everyones own decision. i for one prefer to enjoy things instead of aggravating about them.

  • aen

    i apologise if i offended anyone by my last comment. i did not mean to call anyone stupid. thats the actual stupid thing...
    anyway, just by counting the comments i can tell that this gem made some people reflect about something, whatever that may be is everyones own decision. i for one prefer to enjoy things instead of aggravating about them.

  • pante

    i'm 21. i love it.

  • pante

    i'm 21. i love it.

  • dunkee

    as hypocrite as christianity

  • http://deleted dunkee

    as hypocrite as christianity

  • Altrez

    I am 34 years of age. And I must say that this is so much more then a game. Most of us wonder day to day looking for new things to buy. The app store is a great example of this concept, I can count at least 10 post's on the forum of people talking about what to buy with their new iTunes gift card.

    Stop and think about the world around you and the ones you love. Time is so very short.

    No Passage its not a game, it is an experience and I for one feel very moved by it.

    -Altrez

  • Altrez

    I am 34 years of age. And I must say that this is so much more then a game. Most of us wonder day to day looking for new things to buy. The app store is a great example of this concept, I can count at least 10 post's on the forum of people talking about what to buy with their new iTunes gift card.

    Stop and think about the world around you and the ones you love. Time is so very short.

    No Passage its not a game, it is an experience and I for one feel very moved by it.

    -Altrez

  • Rick

    The woman character is leading and they don't get hopelessly lost? Life simulation this is not.

  • http://way Rick

    The woman character is leading and they don't get hopelessly lost? Life simulation this is not.

  • Jasmine

    You're an idiot, Rick.

  • Jasmine

    You're an idiot, Rick.

  • rob

    this was a horrid game. to play a game and then have to read the author's reasoning for making the game and then saying, 'oh, that's what the game is about' is not worth the 0.99. people say it's not much, but i buy a LOT of apps that i read about on this site. i was pulled into buying this stupid game from reading the review. yes, i should have gotten the free version, unfortunately with these stupid games and my OCD, I buy a lot and like to play right after reading the revew. this , however , was the worst game on my phone i think i will ever see. next time reviewing a game like this, the review should state, 'i don't want to give what the game is about, but it's about meeting your soulmate, walking a lot, making good and bad decisions, and then dying in five minutes. and you do die, it is depressing but after reading what the programmer wrote about what the game is about, it will really make it worth it, maybe even playing your life and death over and over. '
    ugh.

  • rob

    this was a horrid game. to play a game and then have to read the author's reasoning for making the game and then saying, 'oh, that's what the game is about' is not worth the 0.99. people say it's not much, but i buy a LOT of apps that i read about on this site. i was pulled into buying this stupid game from reading the review. yes, i should have gotten the free version, unfortunately with these stupid games and my OCD, I buy a lot and like to play right after reading the revew. this , however , was the worst game on my phone i think i will ever see. next time reviewing a game like this, the review should state, 'i don't want to give what the game is about, but it's about meeting your soulmate, walking a lot, making good and bad decisions, and then dying in five minutes. and you do die, it is depressing but after reading what the programmer wrote about what the game is about, it will really make it worth it, maybe even playing your life and death over and over. '
    ugh.

  • http://www.secretexit.com Frand

    It's not a game, it's an interactive piece of art.

    True, the article labels it as a game and that may cause many to project false expectations at it, but taken at face value, it's a wonderful piece of minimalist expression. What other 'game' has presented the choices we all must make in life in such distilled fashion?

    As with any piece of art, it a chance for reflection.

  • http://www.secretexit.com Frand

    It's not a game, it's an interactive piece of art.

    True, the article labels it as a game and that may cause many to project false expectations at it, but taken at face value, it's a wonderful piece of minimalist expression. What other 'game' has presented the choices we all must make in life in such distilled fashion?

    As with any piece of art, it a chance for reflection.

  • rob

    the name of this site:

    TOUCHARCADE ... keeping you in touch with the latest in iphone GAMING

  • rob

    the name of this site:

    TOUCHARCADE ... keeping you in touch with the latest in iphone GAMING

  • Brad

    Wow, there are a lot of idiots here.

    What makes Passage great (yes, I chose that word specifically) is that it is much more than a game. I suspect that most of the commenters here are just immature. Honestly, its the first game I've ever seen that I would even attempt to describe with the word "art". Art is supposed to make you think. Halo, although fun, sticks with you about as long as a residual image on your retina. Passage is making a statement and the statement it makes depends on your ability to draw personal meaning out of it. If you are unable to do that, it probably says a lot more about you than about Passage.

    Thanks for bringing this game to my attention, Touch Arcade!

  • Brad

    Wow, there are a lot of idiots here.

    What makes Passage great (yes, I chose that word specifically) is that it is much more than a game. I suspect that most of the commenters here are just immature. Honestly, its the first game I've ever seen that I would even attempt to describe with the word "art". Art is supposed to make you think. Halo, although fun, sticks with you about as long as a residual image on your retina. Passage is making a statement and the statement it makes depends on your ability to draw personal meaning out of it. If you are unable to do that, it probably says a lot more about you than about Passage.

    Thanks for bringing this game to my attention, Touch Arcade!

  • Mark Damon Hughes

    Pretentious gimmick, this is as much a game as Wii Music.

  • Mark Damon Hughes

    Pretentious gimmick, this is as much a game as Wii Music.

  • some nerdy dork

    @rob and all the other morons:

    instead of complaining here, you could just go and make your own site with YOUR OWN REVIEWS. don't blame blake or anyone else because of their opinions. especially when he provided more than enough links for you to check it out for yourself.

    also, i find this definition appropriate for the people who used the word "pretentious" to describe passage:

    "people who use the word pretentious are usually pretentious themselves. People who blame things for being showy and pretentious usually do so to indirectly say they are not pretentious themselves which is pretentious."

  • some nerdy dork

    @rob and all the other morons:

    instead of complaining here, you could just go and make your own site with YOUR OWN REVIEWS. don't blame blake or anyone else because of their opinions. especially when he provided more than enough links for you to check it out for yourself.

    also, i find this definition appropriate for the people who used the word "pretentious" to describe passage:

    "people who use the word pretentious are usually pretentious themselves. People who blame things for being showy and pretentious usually do so to indirectly say they are not pretentious themselves which is pretentious."

  • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

    Quite a mix of opinions on this one.

  • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

    Quite a mix of opinions on this one.

  • QuickWit

    I'm surprised by a lot I'm reading about this game here... I'll call it a game because there is a score at the end and many will try to get higher scores, so it's a game.

    But everyone calling the other side "stupid" is really odd. How can both sides be stupid? I guess that's the part that makes this "art". Because it gives you some emotion over hoe you feel and makes you think that those who don't feel the same way as you just don't "get it".

    I for one, think that this is really a mess... though I grant the dev, and those who think differently, full rights to their thoughts. I'm 44 and I didn't see this as thought provoking. I've already made many choices in my life and this game didn't remind me of any of them. Grabbing the one woman available and finding the right treasure chests didn't make me question my own life. Where's the real choices about work, education, children, temptations? This game wants to say that if makes you think but only gives you one consequence -- if you get the woman you can't reach certain treasures. And the only reward for picking her up is more points.

    That there shows me that it's five minutes of seeing the best way to get the most points and after a few tries (with and without a wife) I've decided that I no longer need to play the game. I'd love to hear from those who have given all manner of praise to this game a few months from now and see what they say.

    Thanks for posting the free link. I also respect Blake's review... that was his opinion of the game and that's what I come here for. But I don't live and die by the thoughts of others... that's the choice I make in my real life. I find those much more interesting than what I do in "game life".

  • QuickWit

    I'm surprised by a lot I'm reading about this game here... I'll call it a game because there is a score at the end and many will try to get higher scores, so it's a game.

    But everyone calling the other side "stupid" is really odd. How can both sides be stupid? I guess that's the part that makes this "art". Because it gives you some emotion over hoe you feel and makes you think that those who don't feel the same way as you just don't "get it".

    I for one, think that this is really a mess... though I grant the dev, and those who think differently, full rights to their thoughts. I'm 44 and I didn't see this as thought provoking. I've already made many choices in my life and this game didn't remind me of any of them. Grabbing the one woman available and finding the right treasure chests didn't make me question my own life. Where's the real choices about work, education, children, temptations? This game wants to say that if makes you think but only gives you one consequence -- if you get the woman you can't reach certain treasures. And the only reward for picking her up is more points.

    That there shows me that it's five minutes of seeing the best way to get the most points and after a few tries (with and without a wife) I've decided that I no longer need to play the game. I'd love to hear from those who have given all manner of praise to this game a few months from now and see what they say.

    Thanks for posting the free link. I also respect Blake's review... that was his opinion of the game and that's what I come here for. But I don't live and die by the thoughts of others... that's the choice I make in my real life. I find those much more interesting than what I do in "game life".

  • http://www.mavisxp.com mavis

    @ rob: blaming TA for your OCD? That's rich.

  • http://www.mavisxp.com mavis

    @ rob: blaming TA for your OCD? That's rich.

  • sturgidson

    Blake-

    thanks for posting this alert. I've never tried the game before- took your advice, DLd the mac free dmg, played it, felt quite moved and captivated by what I saw.

    I don't view this as a "game," actually, but as a significant work of art in the field of gaming. And this is not a piece intended to promote or expose, but rather to express. Your own emotional movement isn't being manipulated except by your own associations and the emotional assignments you make. That's why some of us are deeply moved by this game- because we relate to the experience we're assigning to the game, rather than what the game is dictating us to experience; some of us aren't moved because we're simply not interested in making the same kind of connection with this type of material (or any material, as it seems in some of the comments above).

    I'm happy to actually buy this piece, because $.99 is what I view to be a very very small price to pay to support something I find to be extremely significant: the movement of "gaming" away from the stimulation industry and toward meaningful artistic expression. Kudos to Jason for a small, measured, but significant achievement.

    As for the haters, if you don't like the game for being a game, no problem. Don't worry about it. think of it as a painting or a song that you don't like, and move on. It's five minutes you lost. you've wasted more time doing worse, no doubt.

    (Also, for Lee, who says: "Maybe I should right a polemic on how Sneezies is a sophisticated play on Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. Or how Brothers in Arms is an allegorical treatment of the Leviathan," I'd be totally down to read what you have to say in those examples.

  • sturgidson

    Blake-

    thanks for posting this alert. I've never tried the game before- took your advice, DLd the mac free dmg, played it, felt quite moved and captivated by what I saw.

    I don't view this as a "game," actually, but as a significant work of art in the field of gaming. And this is not a piece intended to promote or expose, but rather to express. Your own emotional movement isn't being manipulated except by your own associations and the emotional assignments you make. That's why some of us are deeply moved by this game- because we relate to the experience we're assigning to the game, rather than what the game is dictating us to experience; some of us aren't moved because we're simply not interested in making the same kind of connection with this type of material (or any material, as it seems in some of the comments above).

    I'm happy to actually buy this piece, because $.99 is what I view to be a very very small price to pay to support something I find to be extremely significant: the movement of "gaming" away from the stimulation industry and toward meaningful artistic expression. Kudos to Jason for a small, measured, but significant achievement.

    As for the haters, if you don't like the game for being a game, no problem. Don't worry about it. think of it as a painting or a song that you don't like, and move on. It's five minutes you lost. you've wasted more time doing worse, no doubt.

    (Also, for Lee, who says: "Maybe I should right a polemic on how Sneezies is a sophisticated play on Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. Or how Brothers in Arms is an allegorical treatment of the Leviathan," I'd be totally down to read what you have to say in those examples.

  • spiffyone

    Once again, I ask those stating that this is barely a game or not a game to define "game" in the context of the video game medium. Go on now. And, yes, again, trick question. If Will Wright, Warren Spector, Shigeru Miyamoto, Yu Suzuki, Michel Ancel, John Carmack, Tim Schafer, Hideo Kojima, and a litany of other "big" creators in the game industry wrestle with defining just what is a "game" in the context of the video game medium, I can assure you that you, posters on toucharcade, will most likely not come up with an answer either. Passage is as much a game as any other. Did I myself feel absolutely moved by it, as others were? No. To me it's a nice concept, somewhat well executed, but not life altering or forcing me to reflect on my own life. It does, however, help bring to light that the industry can have such concepts as a goal, and can execute them well within the medium.

  • spiffyone

    Once again, I ask those stating that this is barely a game or not a game to define "game" in the context of the video game medium. Go on now. And, yes, again, trick question. If Will Wright, Warren Spector, Shigeru Miyamoto, Yu Suzuki, Michel Ancel, John Carmack, Tim Schafer, Hideo Kojima, and a litany of other "big" creators in the game industry wrestle with defining just what is a "game" in the context of the video game medium, I can assure you that you, posters on toucharcade, will most likely not come up with an answer either. Passage is as much a game as any other. Did I myself feel absolutely moved by it, as others were? No. To me it's a nice concept, somewhat well executed, but not life altering or forcing me to reflect on my own life. It does, however, help bring to light that the industry can have such concepts as a goal, and can execute them well within the medium.

  • polyplay

    Just for the record, Mr. Rohrer himself calls Passage a game in his statement on it, which is linked to in the post.

  • polyplay

    Just for the record, Mr. Rohrer himself calls Passage a game in his statement on it, which is linked to in the post.

  • SMOKIN OKIN

    Wow, if you all couldn't figure out and appreciate the meaning of this game until reading the explanation of it, you truly are the sorriest bunch of gamers I have ever seen

  • SMOKIN OKIN

    Wow, if you all couldn't figure out and appreciate the meaning of this game until reading the explanation of it, you truly are the sorriest bunch of gamers I have ever seen

  • sfditty

    @ SMOKIN OKIN - really... if we don't appreciate 3rd rate art then we are a sorry bunch? If it's art then it must be applauded, even if you don't happen to have a taste for trite simplistic uninteresting direct-metaphor garbage?

  • sfditty

    @ SMOKIN OKIN - really... if we don't appreciate 3rd rate art then we are a sorry bunch? If it's art then it must be applauded, even if you don't happen to have a taste for trite simplistic uninteresting direct-metaphor garbage?

  • http://www.ferddinandcc.org/ Lester

    I've gotta say, I loved Passage, although I realize it's not for everybody. That said, this thread is depressing.

  • http://www.ferddinandcc.org/ Lester

    I've gotta say, I loved Passage, although I realize it's not for everybody. That said, this thread is depressing.

  • http://www.metroccolis.com your personal robot

    Jason is a revolutionary genius and a true poet.
    I love all of his ideas. He is breaking boundaries.....

  • http://www.metroccolis.com your personal robot

    Jason is a revolutionary genius and a true poet.
    I love all of his ideas. He is breaking boundaries.....

  • K

    I agree with sfditty. I'm so sick of pretentious artsy prats telling us all that if we don't like some lame art, that's the art working its magic. If we do like it, that's the art also. They also tell us that if we don't enjoy this game, that suddenly we're all luddites with no appreciation for anything intelligent or generally good.

    Get off your girly high horses, and STFU already.

    This overhyped POS game did not capture me, did not entertain me, and did not bring me any enjoyment- only some pseudo faux "deeper meaning" that we should all pause and reflect on.

    Yawn. It's great if some of you enjoyed this app, but stop riding on those who didn't- we're entitled to our opinions just as much as you are. And right now, my opinion of some of you is quite low...

  • K

    I agree with sfditty. I'm so sick of pretentious artsy prats telling us all that if we don't like some lame art, that's the art working its magic. If we do like it, that's the art also. They also tell us that if we don't enjoy this game, that suddenly we're all luddites with no appreciation for anything intelligent or generally good.

    Get off your girly high horses, and STFU already.

    This overhyped POS game did not capture me, did not entertain me, and did not bring me any enjoyment- only some pseudo faux "deeper meaning" that we should all pause and reflect on.

    Yawn. It's great if some of you enjoyed this app, but stop riding on those who didn't- we're entitled to our opinions just as much as you are. And right now, my opinion of some of you is quite low...

  • SMOKIN OKIN

    @sfditty and @K
    If your saying that gamers like you shouldn't have to appreciate the most simple of games and metaphors, then you are missing out on a lot. Sure you can play games like Bioshock and Fallout 3 and get the experience, but if you can't appreciate the meaning of what it is really trying to say, then you are missing the whole point of games. I'm a huge shooter fun, but I also like great movies, and I love it when a game like this goes above and beyond what any other game has tried to do and turns a few pointless collaborations of technical pixels into true art and points of view on life.

  • SMOKIN OKIN

    @sfditty and @K
    If your saying that gamers like you shouldn't have to appreciate the most simple of games and metaphors, then you are missing out on a lot. Sure you can play games like Bioshock and Fallout 3 and get the experience, but if you can't appreciate the meaning of what it is really trying to say, then you are missing the whole point of games. I'm a huge shooter fun, but I also like great movies, and I love it when a game like this goes above and beyond what any other game has tried to do and turns a few pointless collaborations of technical pixels into true art and points of view on life.

  • http://www.secretexit.com Frand

    An important thing everyone should understand and accept is that anything can be art, if produced with the motive of creating art, and placed under artistic analysis.

    Having played video games for more than 25 years now, I have grown weary of many types of games. Visual detail has lost much of its importance, and I tend to look for either hardcore skill challenges (Super Stardust HD, Geometry Wars etc.) or games that actually wring an emotional response out of me.

    With that, there are very few game experiences that I have appreciated as pieces of art:

    Silent Hill 2 broke the mold of what a game was able to convey for me. While it had game-like elements, for me it was more an interactive journey into the psyche of a man consumed by his guilt. The mechanism that decided how the story ends was also so subtle that I could only admire it.

    Shadow of the Colossus was able to get an emotional response, and make me question if I was actually doing the _right_ thing by killing the colossi. Even if the theme of the game was simply "how far are you willing to go for love?", I was impressed by the methods the game chose to make the player ponder that question.

    The director of FFVII had suffered a loss in the family, and incorporated the permanent loss of someone important into the game. It was powerful and unexpected, particularly in the genre of games where resurrection is usually trivial.

    Bioshock was an amazing experience for me through its storytelling. It has the single most clever plot device I have witnessed in any game, and it's beautiful in how it made me ashamed of myself as a player who accepts all goals given by a game without questioning them.

    So... I find art experiences in video games, and appreciate the ones that are able to convey deeper messages in a medium that's mostly obsessed with head-shots and mushrooms. I don't know if many are like me, or if most dismiss the opportunities for artistic enjoyment and simply focus on the skill-based elements of games.

    As far as Passage is concerned, I admire it. Together with Braid, I find those two as interesting examples of using this medium to reflect on topics not touched by computer gaming since Alter Ego on C64.

  • http://www.secretexit.com Frand

    An important thing everyone should understand and accept is that anything can be art, if produced with the motive of creating art, and placed under artistic analysis.

    Having played video games for more than 25 years now, I have grown weary of many types of games. Visual detail has lost much of its importance, and I tend to look for either hardcore skill challenges (Super Stardust HD, Geometry Wars etc.) or games that actually wring an emotional response out of me.

    With that, there are very few game experiences that I have appreciated as pieces of art:

    Silent Hill 2 broke the mold of what a game was able to convey for me. While it had game-like elements, for me it was more an interactive journey into the psyche of a man consumed by his guilt. The mechanism that decided how the story ends was also so subtle that I could only admire it.

    Shadow of the Colossus was able to get an emotional response, and make me question if I was actually doing the _right_ thing by killing the colossi. Even if the theme of the game was simply "how far are you willing to go for love?", I was impressed by the methods the game chose to make the player ponder that question.

    The director of FFVII had suffered a loss in the family, and incorporated the permanent loss of someone important into the game. It was powerful and unexpected, particularly in the genre of games where resurrection is usually trivial.

    Bioshock was an amazing experience for me through its storytelling. It has the single most clever plot device I have witnessed in any game, and it's beautiful in how it made me ashamed of myself as a player who accepts all goals given by a game without questioning them.

    So... I find art experiences in video games, and appreciate the ones that are able to convey deeper messages in a medium that's mostly obsessed with head-shots and mushrooms. I don't know if many are like me, or if most dismiss the opportunities for artistic enjoyment and simply focus on the skill-based elements of games.

    As far as Passage is concerned, I admire it. Together with Braid, I find those two as interesting examples of using this medium to reflect on topics not touched by computer gaming since Alter Ego on C64.

  • http://www.hbdia.com IzzyNobre

    Talk about blowing a boring "game" waaaaaaaay out of proportions.

    "Art"? Give me a break, dudes.

  • http://www.hbdia.com IzzyNobre

    Talk about blowing a boring "game" waaaaaaaay out of proportions.

    "Art"? Give me a break, dudes.

  • http://rcptones.com Brendan

    Make this game a little more fun and it could be revolutionary.

  • http://rcptones.com Brendan

    Make this game a little more fun and it could be revolutionary.

  • http://qubedstudios.com VL-Tone

    I first played Passage after reading a very short article about it on Kotatu. It has just been presented at a contest at a gaming festival where people were encouraged to create a game with the smallest/most irregular aspect ratio...

    Just about nobody had heard about the game, there was no media reaction quotes, and the article simply described the game as "one of those loose, free, and arty little diversions."

    There was nothing in the Kotaku article about "making you think about life" or "a thought provoking game".

    I liked the little retro-graphics from the screenshots, so I downloaded and played the game, and didn't know what to expect, I didn't even read the comments on the article. Indeed, it was a revelation to me, a very emotional "passage" when I began to understand what it was about... I really loved this "game".

    That being said... Since then, the game has been hyped to no end. While I think it might be deserved in a way, the hype damages the element of surprise and self-discovery people might have had when "playing" Passage.

    I'm sure many can enjoy Passage as much as I did despite the hype, but it does create a big counter-reaction from people who don't like to be told what should be "thought provoking" and "life-changing" to them, and their reaction could've been different if they found the game by themselves with little information about it. Many people will play the game with biased expectations, with an attitude of "What the heck is so great about this "game" that I couldn't thought about myself?".

    I think that the problem here lies with the fact that this version is not free...

    If it was free, the article should've been as a very short blurb about Passage being a "fun artsy time waster that you might like", giving away as little as possible.

    But since it's not free, the reviewer has to "justify" the buy, with quotes from the media and a long article explaining that the game is "thought provoking". The reviewer ends up between a rock and a hard place... If he explains the game too much he'll ruin the element of surprise and heighten the expectations too much, and if he doesn't explain it enough, some people will feel ripped-off if they buy the game and are not satisfied.

  • http://qubedstudios.com VL-Tone

    I first played Passage after reading a very short article about it on Kotatu. It has just been presented at a contest at a gaming festival where people were encouraged to create a game with the smallest/most irregular aspect ratio...

    Just about nobody had heard about the game, there was no media reaction quotes, and the article simply described the game as "one of those loose, free, and arty little diversions."

    There was nothing in the Kotaku article about "making you think about life" or "a thought provoking game".

    I liked the little retro-graphics from the screenshots, so I downloaded and played the game, and didn't know what to expect, I didn't even read the comments on the article. Indeed, it was a revelation to me, a very emotional "passage" when I began to understand what it was about... I really loved this "game".

    That being said... Since then, the game has been hyped to no end. While I think it might be deserved in a way, the hype damages the element of surprise and self-discovery people might have had when "playing" Passage.

    I'm sure many can enjoy Passage as much as I did despite the hype, but it does create a big counter-reaction from people who don't like to be told what should be "thought provoking" and "life-changing" to them, and their reaction could've been different if they found the game by themselves with little information about it. Many people will play the game with biased expectations, with an attitude of "What the heck is so great about this "game" that I couldn't thought about myself?".

    I think that the problem here lies with the fact that this version is not free...

    If it was free, the article should've been as a very short blurb about Passage being a "fun artsy time waster that you might like", giving away as little as possible.

    But since it's not free, the reviewer has to "justify" the buy, with quotes from the media and a long article explaining that the game is "thought provoking". The reviewer ends up between a rock and a hard place... If he explains the game too much he'll ruin the element of surprise and heighten the expectations too much, and if he doesn't explain it enough, some people will feel ripped-off if they buy the game and are not satisfied.

  • OahuSurf

    I played the game and loved it, it really made me think about life and death, all the haters can hate it all they want, but it effected me and thats all I care about. (p.s. Im a graphics whore)

  • OahuSurf

    I played the game and loved it, it really made me think about life and death, all the haters can hate it all they want, but it effected me and thats all I care about. (p.s. Im a graphics whore)

  • CardioGram

    I played the original free version... found it to be worthwhile and moving.
    It's a very nice piece; it's a great example of the right way to make 'interactive art'. (As in, the artistic effect is achieved primarily through the interaction itself, not just pretty moving pictures. We already have plenty of artforms using pretty moving pictures.)

    In scale it's equivalent to a short story; it's not supposed to be terribly complex or epic in scope; rather something that evokes a certain feeling, gives pause, perhaps a moment of interesting perspective.

    It seems to provoke a strong negative reaction in some people; some 'don't get it' at all (complaining about primitive graphics is a dead giveaway of this), while some 'get it' intellectually but don't connect with it experientially and therefore find it trivial.

    For myself, some of my earliest memories are playing 'Astroblast' and 'Tron Deadly Disks' on the Intellevision; so the level of graphics in Passage are especially easy for me to connect to emotionally. I wonder if this type of generational effect is a key cause of the mixed responses?

  • CardioGram

    I played the original free version... found it to be worthwhile and moving.
    It's a very nice piece; it's a great example of the right way to make 'interactive art'. (As in, the artistic effect is achieved primarily through the interaction itself, not just pretty moving pictures. We already have plenty of artforms using pretty moving pictures.)

    In scale it's equivalent to a short story; it's not supposed to be terribly complex or epic in scope; rather something that evokes a certain feeling, gives pause, perhaps a moment of interesting perspective.

    It seems to provoke a strong negative reaction in some people; some 'don't get it' at all (complaining about primitive graphics is a dead giveaway of this), while some 'get it' intellectually but don't connect with it experientially and therefore find it trivial.

    For myself, some of my earliest memories are playing 'Astroblast' and 'Tron Deadly Disks' on the Intellevision; so the level of graphics in Passage are especially easy for me to connect to emotionally. I wonder if this type of generational effect is a key cause of the mixed responses?

  • spiffyone

    No one has yet to define what exactly is a "game" in the video game medium, I see.

    See? Not so easy is it?

    Anyway:

    "For myself, some of my earliest memories are playing ‘Astroblast’ and ‘Tron Deadly Disks’ on the Intellevision"

    Wasn't it "Astrosmash" on the Intellivision, and us 2600/VCS owners got the downgraded version known as "Astroblast"? Either way, I loved that game. Hell, I still play it to this day.

  • spiffyone

    No one has yet to define what exactly is a "game" in the video game medium, I see.

    See? Not so easy is it?

    Anyway:

    "For myself, some of my earliest memories are playing ‘Astroblast’ and ‘Tron Deadly Disks’ on the Intellevision"

    Wasn't it "Astrosmash" on the Intellivision, and us 2600/VCS owners got the downgraded version known as "Astroblast"? Either way, I loved that game. Hell, I still play it to this day.

  • Jim

    Only Frand and VL-Tone have anything remotely illuminating to say in this entire, interminable comment thread. I'm glad it was free!

  • Jim

    Only Frand and VL-Tone have anything remotely illuminating to say in this entire, interminable comment thread. I'm glad it was free!

  • armis

    I'm 27. I didn't get it (not that I'm saying it's related, but everybody seems to be giving out their age here).

    I played through it twice. First time just bumbling around, and picking up the girl (that I didn't even realize was one before she started following - or leading, as it were), and walking around blocks. Second time I just stuck to the "top" stretch that has no blocks whatsoever, swerving only to avoid the girl. First time the little number up there said 507 when I died. Second time, 418. Mmmk.

    I don't think I want to start on the art vs. not art debate, because it's been going on since the beginning of time and I'm not likely to bring anything significant to it (plus, I've been to the MOMA and evidently I disagree with a lot of people on the definition of art). I didn't get it, but I'm not going to rant and rave against the game, the developer, the 99 cents (seriously, you own an iPhone/iPod Touch and 99c is a big deal?) or the website. I've played a lot of games I didn't like, and I survived. Most of them cost me much more than 99c and 5 minutes during a train ride. I'm glad TA brought this to my attention. I'm glad it works for some people. It doesn't do it for me, and I'll just quietly go back to other stuff that does.

  • armis

    I'm 27. I didn't get it (not that I'm saying it's related, but everybody seems to be giving out their age here).

    I played through it twice. First time just bumbling around, and picking up the girl (that I didn't even realize was one before she started following - or leading, as it were), and walking around blocks. Second time I just stuck to the "top" stretch that has no blocks whatsoever, swerving only to avoid the girl. First time the little number up there said 507 when I died. Second time, 418. Mmmk.

    I don't think I want to start on the art vs. not art debate, because it's been going on since the beginning of time and I'm not likely to bring anything significant to it (plus, I've been to the MOMA and evidently I disagree with a lot of people on the definition of art). I didn't get it, but I'm not going to rant and rave against the game, the developer, the 99 cents (seriously, you own an iPhone/iPod Touch and 99c is a big deal?) or the website. I've played a lot of games I didn't like, and I survived. Most of them cost me much more than 99c and 5 minutes during a train ride. I'm glad TA brought this to my attention. I'm glad it works for some people. It doesn't do it for me, and I'll just quietly go back to other stuff that does.

  • adio

    Quite a bizarre one this. I am not into poetry. I don't *get* the messages to it and can't stand pretentious hand waving intellectualism. A splash of paint on a canvas that represents the inner struggle of womankind to thwart and rise above the restrictions man places on her is just a splash of colour on a canvas to me.

    This though, maybe because of recent thoughts of mortality due to rapidly ageing and distant parents and a wife who is ill seemed to kick me in the balls (eloquent no?). First time through I didn't get the girl and wandered and went, "nice idea" but no more than that. I had another go, found the girl, wandered, got the whole limited options but higher 'score' thing with a wry grin and then the sudden gravestone for the 'wife' just about undid me.

    Remarkable.

    I don't think this game is going to offer anything at ALL to anyone who has not yet been touched by death or mortality in any real way. But for those that have, I think there is a tiny chance it might.

    Strangely, I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not.

  • adio

    Quite a bizarre one this. I am not into poetry. I don't *get* the messages to it and can't stand pretentious hand waving intellectualism. A splash of paint on a canvas that represents the inner struggle of womankind to thwart and rise above the restrictions man places on her is just a splash of colour on a canvas to me.

    This though, maybe because of recent thoughts of mortality due to rapidly ageing and distant parents and a wife who is ill seemed to kick me in the balls (eloquent no?). First time through I didn't get the girl and wandered and went, "nice idea" but no more than that. I had another go, found the girl, wandered, got the whole limited options but higher 'score' thing with a wry grin and then the sudden gravestone for the 'wife' just about undid me.

    Remarkable.

    I don't think this game is going to offer anything at ALL to anyone who has not yet been touched by death or mortality in any real way. But for those that have, I think there is a tiny chance it might.

    Strangely, I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not.

  • Smackybear

    I think that reading the reactions of the people who don't "get it" make the game even more contextually interesting to the people who do. My fascination with this game just doubled after reading some of the rants and the reasons behind them. :)

  • Smackybear

    I think that reading the reactions of the people who don't "get it" make the game even more contextually interesting to the people who do. My fascination with this game just doubled after reading some of the rants and the reasons behind them. :)

  • PATRICKRL

    The game is missing other people, and gay relationships. It is also missing upbeat music

  • PATRICKRL

    The game is missing other people, and gay relationships. It is also missing upbeat music

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