Ludum Dare 33 — August 21st-24th, 2015 — Theme: You are the Monster

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by nerial - Jam Entry

PASSENGERS is a game where you play a smuggler of migrants in Europe.

Migrants are all over the news. They’re treated as a group of people, not as individuals. We wanted to go beyond that, to show some of their individuality and how powerless it is in front of the acting monster, you.

Thanks for playing.

Edit : I wrote a post-mortem of the game, here :

Game done by @nerial + @arnaud_debock

Game made in Pico-8, so yes, the source is an actual png image. You should try Pico, it's a very good and very tiny game engine :

Downloads and Links




Flygamer101 says ...
Aug 24, 2015 @ 1:22pm

Nice fun little game. It would be kinda cool if you could control the boat when going home. I had fun going to the shore, rejecting everyone, then going home. Decent Music too.

JustinJ says ...
Aug 24, 2015 @ 1:39pm

The first time I set off after carefully reading the stories of all the people I let on, and then seeing a lot of them die, was really powerful. Really liked it. I seemed to lose all my money every time I went, planning to come back to this and try and get a little further.

Azlen says ...
Aug 24, 2015 @ 3:56pm

Always arrived with 0 money.

I did notice however that it is easier to survive on the large speedboat. On the less expensive ships, a lot of people end up dying. With the large speedboat I managed to consistently get people across without any deaths.

nerial says ...
Aug 24, 2015 @ 7:23pm

Yep, there's no really perfect way to play this game. You can optimize (large boat, maximize price of passage, full but not overcrowded), but you will never be protected against some events. All the data (bribe, boat, number of people, money, length of the route) have multiple effects on the triggered events. You can always borrow money (it has consequences though).

uthamon says ...
Aug 25, 2015 @ 12:05am

I was curious how serious approaches to the theme are going to look and I was not dissapointed by Passengers. Propably one of the best games I've got the chance to play during this jam. Excellent work and You got me interested in Pico-8.

nicksantan says ...
Aug 25, 2015 @ 7:21am

Very interesting and unique approach to the theme. Well crafted and a powerful message.

randomhuman says ...
Aug 25, 2015 @ 9:51am

That's some dark shit. I found myself reading everybody'd story on the first couple of trips, but then I stopped and was just trying to squeeze as much money out of them as possible, inured to their suffering. Truly, I am the monster :( Powerful stuff.

Only complaint is that the music starts to grate after a while.

Aug 25, 2015 @ 11:17am

Great Game! Great Topic!

Techblogogy says ...
Aug 25, 2015 @ 1:36pm

Great game. This made me feel like a monster and gave me that papers please vibe

wg_phancock says ...
Aug 25, 2015 @ 5:36pm

Some sort of mini-game when actually heading out on the boat might have been interesting, but then again maybe it would have detracted from the hopelessness feeling of the whole situation.

Overall very interesting and entertaining experience.

Aug 25, 2015 @ 6:26pm

Very unique take on the theme, I truly felt like I am the monster there. Despite the messed up nature of it, game was fun to play if you just look at the mechanics of it.

Parappa says ...
Aug 25, 2015 @ 6:33pm

This is fantastic. Nice work.

mitkus says ...
Aug 25, 2015 @ 6:53pm

Best take on the theme I've seen so far!

Bloodyaugust says ...
Aug 25, 2015 @ 7:02pm

Damn. That was dark. How many people did I lose on those shitty boats to fucking bandits? @[email protected]
Well done.

Nikteddy92 says ...
Aug 25, 2015 @ 11:27pm

I find it a little hard but nice game.
The idea is great (and really sad..) and you developed it very well
Well done

GertJohnny says ...
Aug 25, 2015 @ 11:50pm

In the end I decided to take a dangerously overcrowded wreck of a ship filled exclusively with drug dealers and loud-talkers to Spain. It did not end well for them, and I feel like much less of a monster now.

ArchBang says ...
Aug 26, 2015 @ 10:40am

Stunningly good and complete serious, topical game. Great use of PICO-8, packs a lot of content in and does it well. Music gets a bit painful. Excellent work!

Connors says ...
Aug 26, 2015 @ 2:48pm

I saw the articles about the game; It's really well done. It actually reminds me of "Papers, Please", but with a more direct connection to real world issues. The money can affect how you see the passengers. Like, I could take lots of people to be sure I make a profit but it's dangerous to be overcrowded and some of them will probably die. Who do I turn down? Do I accept someone who looks like a liability if they offer me lots of money? It's painful, and it gets the point across. 5/5, would not play again.

Aug 26, 2015 @ 5:09pm

Made me feel like a monster! Great job!

Aug 27, 2015 @ 6:01am

Personal concept and nice usage of the theme.

CtrlAltTea says ...
Aug 28, 2015 @ 12:32am

Loved the idea and the passengers' descriptions, it added another dimension to the game. One of my favourites from this jam!

Aug 28, 2015 @ 1:01pm

I particularly like how the vagueness of some information can make you feel more like a monster even if you were trying to help people! Like when it says the boat is full, but there's some desperate injured people waiting to board and it let's you add them onboard. Just to be violently killed as the ship sinks during a storm. Nice work!

jhrrsn says ...
Aug 28, 2015 @ 1:29pm

It's kind of horrifying how quickly I stopped reading people's stories and started just looking at how much they were going to pay me. Chilling stuff!

Krunoslav says ...
Aug 28, 2015 @ 5:44pm

Nice idea! I agree with justinJ, it would be nice to control de boad. Anyway the game is very nice!

Korso says ...
Aug 28, 2015 @ 6:17pm

I really like the idea, but -in my opinion- needs more interaction in the travel phase. You fit theme perfectly and in an unique way.

Ithildin says ...
Aug 28, 2015 @ 7:04pm

Brilliant idea, a great example to show how games can be used for something more than just fun. I applaud you!

JackDegree says ...
Aug 28, 2015 @ 7:56pm

We need more games of this kind.

Mach60KAS says ...
Aug 28, 2015 @ 8:10pm

Like the Oregon Trail, but relevant. Exited the business by filling a speedboat and blowing money I didn't have to get pixel people to Spain on a first come first serve basis. Best I could have done given the circumstances.

Oddly affecting, if a little heavy. The randomized traits for people (Dwarf Fortress style) were a great touch, it made the people I was ferrying oddly relatable in a way. The graphics suited the purpose, but I really didn't like the music I'm afraid. Probably one of the most thoughtful entries, bery well done. Kudos!

OFF says ...
Aug 28, 2015 @ 9:06pm

For the game side it seems not perfectly balanced, it's hard to finish and random event are too mant powerful.
But as itself it's really a powerful experiment, a serious game who speaks well of this subject. And for the theme it's not simply good, it's smart, deep, create really this feeling of being a monster, and just not playing a monster as we play a hero.
I'm impressed because even if today i had to do a game like yours, i'm not sure of what i could even made.
Et comme on dit en france, chapeau bas, je suis impressioné.

nerial says ...
Aug 29, 2015 @ 6:51am

Thanks for the comments, very relevant. We were afraid the game could be misinterpreted, but reading all this it seems it's not the case. I wrote a small post-mortem about the jam here:

mickanio says ...
Aug 31, 2015 @ 3:54pm

This was really good, and thanks so much for the post-mortem. I'm wondering how to add graphics to my game - I wonder how different art styles such as pixel art speak to the theme and the perceived 'seriousness' of a topic. It's also very interesting to try and model a real world situation into game rules. I think a debate about the rules themselves is part of what is really interesting - for example, how successful you are if you only take 'bad' people on your boat.

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