screenshot of the "Passage" video game

Somehow I managed to miss this weird artful open source little computer game Passage since 2007; but I got a tip to it today (thanks, Jasmine!). Let me propose you to watch this 5 minute full walkthrough of Passage. Or even better, install the game and play it yourself. It will take 5 minutes, too. (Don't read ahead in the post … we only have something to talk here if we talk after you know the game 😉 )

You can also watch this on YouTube: "PASSAGE: the sweetest game I've ever played.." by sparrowmella.

What you think, readers?

It makes me think a lot … . How this cute girl (sparrow) in the above walkthrough has no idea what this game is all about, but finds out while playing and even is happy enough to find "her friend". And how it all does not matter in the end, with just the two tumbstones and a score remaining. There's not even a scoreboard that would keep track of this for surpassing it in the next round … . So it does not matter either that sparrow did not really find out how to make scores in the game.

Passage is the Memento mori art form in computer games. Let me quote some words from the explanatory Creator's Statement of Jason Rohrer:

"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. […] Passage is a game in which you die only once, at the very end, and you are powerless to stave off this inevitable loss." [Jason Rohrer: "What I was trying to do with Passage"].

And ohh … the emotions. sparrow's walkthrough is really authentic about that, from "Yay, I have a friend!" to losing the friend at the end … and I had to snuff myself then. This seems to be quite common with this game "There have been a number of people who have written stuff about this being the first videogame to make them cry, says [the game’s author] Mr. Rohrer." [source]. Why is that? In my humble opinion, because the game reminds us of a truth that we like to hide, ridicule, forget or ignore. That everything good here is going to be lost, and will not count anyway. That we are all going to die and are powerless to avoid it.

"“Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher; “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” What does man gain from all his labor in which he labors under the sun? One generation goes, and another generation comes; but the earth remains forever." [The Bible, Ecclesiastes 1:2-4]

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