The Game of Life

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As we hit the slower weeks of summer, take five minutes to play Jason Rohrer's Passage, a contemplative art game created for last year's Gamma 256 competition in Montreal, which challenged indie designers to create games with tiny, irregular aspect ratios of no more than 256x256 pixels. In its half-year of existence, Rohrer's entry has become a micro sensation on its own, garnering kudos in scads of the most widely read games blogs as well as mainstream press. In Passage, you play a character who travels across a narrow horizontal corridor representing nothing less than the passage of life itself, from childhood to old age. Since it's very much a game about exploration and discovery, to say any more about what happens would spoil the impact -- so with that in mind, don't read Rohrer's heartfelt statement on the game until after you've played it. Rather, prepare for ingeniously low-res visuals and minimal but meaningful interactivity that maximize a miniature platform in terms of the metaphoric potential for gameplay. After Passage, Rohrer created something of a sequel with Gravitation, a slightly more complex game about creative inspiration and a father's love for his daughter. Or, as Rohrer puts it, "explores how a particular corner of my life feels, as only a game can." - Ed Halter