IF Comp 2012: Transit (Shaye)

Transit is a CYOA-styled work, created in Twine, about being stranded at a foreign airport. Per tradition, I will have some non-spoilery content after the jump; then if there’s anything spoilery I wish to discuss, it will be separated from the rest of the review with spoiler space. The fact that I am covering Transit at all means that it does feature listed beta-testers.

Transit is an extremely small piece about being trapped, not knowing what is going on, and eventually having something fairly unpleasant happen to you. I played through three or four times in only ten minutes or so: it really takes a very short time to reach an ending. If there is a way to win, I didn’t find it; nor did I find anything that resembled clues towards trying again.

Though there are beta-testers listed, there is also a somewhat disheartening list of Known Bugs, and I ran into one of these on my first playthrough, rendering the experience nearly incomprehensible. Even if flawlessly executed, however, I think Transit would still be a fairly forgettable piece: it’s so short, and it uses that brief space to say really not very much.

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In some respects Transit is short and accessible, decorated with iconic images and an easy interface (at least when the bugs aren’t kicking up). As story or setting or game, though, it’s dystopic and alienating, because the airport space you’re traversing is full of dangers and people who don’t speak your language; because it’s not clear how to win or even whether there is any win state. I think this is meant to be the point, that airports and foreign countries (and airports in foreign countries) are scary. In all but one of my playthroughs, I got caught in airport security carrying a blade and a packet of white powder that weren’t mine, possibly thanks to a “friend” who had ditched me “to get food”. The other outcome wass death by consumption of multiple sinister drinks from a vending machine.

I gather, though only from reading other reviews, that it is possible to escape security and make your flight. However, I got killed so insistently and repeatedly that I got the sense that was supposed to be what happened, and that’s why I gave up.

In any case: I think it is a bad idea to submit to the comp a game with severe known bugs that can ruin the player’s experience a good percentage of the time. It sounds as though the author had technical difficulties, but those can sometimes be addressed with help from the folks at the intfiction forum, or others who are familiar with the tools.

2 thoughts on “IF Comp 2012: Transit (Shaye)

  1. There is a walkthrough available by clicking “Extra info” in the top right of the screen. Not that you’ve missed much…

    • Aha, okay. I think I formed the impression that those links didn’t quite work properly, due to difficulty with the restart. Or maybe I just managed to look past it. Whoops.

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