Playing in Traffic [An Experience]

Katie Horstman
Guest Writer
 
January 2nd, 2012

For 1USD or 80 Microsoft points you can land yourself Playing in Traffic (PiT) from the Xbox Live Indie Game section. Hold tight, there is more to be known before such a feat can be completed. PiT questions the moral and overall value of educational games, it feeds on the ignorance that games within the genre lack. Stevie the Pig is more than equipped to attempt to teach a child the safety procedures that are involved in crossing the street, highways, trainyards or freeways that travel across sea. PiT is a commentary on the state of not only US drivers, but drivers found across the world. As an indie game it ultimately raises the question: are we failing to parent our youth and allowing technology to raise our children?

Is this what you expected? Something meaningful, thoughtful, or something that would blow your mind? One might be able to achieve such philosophical thought if they had ingested 1000 pounds of some sort of drug paraphernalia that would induce such bold statements from such a small game.

Welcome to the lovable and unpredictable world of the XBox Live Indie Games. Last year I suppose I would have gotten upset at a game like PiT. This time around, I decided to go into it with the expectation that it was going to disappoint. Now if you’ve just finished the trailer, I know what you’re thinking: there isn’t any possible way that the gameplay is unique because Frogger did it forever ago. (If you don’t know what/who Frogger is, please return to the internet and let it teach you a lesson.) But that’s the point of the game. Cross the paths in front of you without being hit; not just once but multiple times. In the course of 20 or so levels that I played, I never figured out what decided how many times you had to cross back and forth. If you are able to cross multiple times without being struck, you are awarded with fire. The screen becomes desaturated and you are on fire, in the boomshakala sense, but the power up and change mean nothing. Beware you are not invincible and that confuses me because I don’t see why it even exists.

There’s not much to story of PiT. The graphics aren’t impressive and seem like they belong on a smartphone screen no bigger than 3 inches. The voice acting sounds like a guy who has no professional training doing his best to portray an afterschool special. That would be Stevie, he is a pig. The things he says are at times, immature humor slight with small amounts of racism, prejudice and a slight hint of pedobear. He is a pig. Stevie is not helpful (he admits it, though) and will randomly appear and scare the bejeebus out of you. I know this game is really shaping up, but there’s a gleam and I’ve tasted it.

(Screens, pay attention/Moral devalue dispersed/Sigh deeply, facepalm)

Don’t be fooled, this is not an educational game. It’s not all that fun. Until you add multiple people. (If you are of the legal drinking age, I could also suggest alcohol. A mere suggestion, because after 3 levels you’ll need it.) First game, laugh your ass off at how physics work and the fact that the Aerian child you are controlling has feet similar to the Flash; it’s only similar due to the fact that if he was the Flash 1) he wouldn’t get hit by a slow moving vehicle and B) you would be much happier. In PiT, when you are hit by a car, your body flails about the entire highway causing the other speeding vehicles to fishtail yet stay on course. Observation six: this is top down, like Frogger, and again much like it’s unidentified inspiration the child is the size of the passing vehicles. Which you could believe in Frogger, there are many a frog from a jungle a far that very well could be the size of a Volkswagen. In the case of this child, he is quite large which makes his speed unbelievable. Unless he were the Juggernaut, in which case death would only be an option for the vehicles.

Next game requires a self anointed point system or alcohol. Since you are dodging cars, many are passing, and often they are inspired by other cars. Every time you see the Smokey and the Bandit car (including all various colors) take a swig or add a point. Be careful with intake here, there are many, many times you will that car. Others exist as well, I saw what could be the top of the Mystery Machine and possibly Steve McQueen’s Mustang from Bullitt. So there is much fun to be had agreeing or disagreeing on which cars belong to what.

For 80 Microsoft points, Playing in Traffic is an okay game. There are a lot worse floating around the Indie Arcade and they are buggy and damn near unplayable. As a single player game, PiT may not grant that much fun. It does well as a social game. Especially if you are looking for a mindless timekiller that won’t create that competitive hatred between friends like Mortal Kombat or Tekken does.

Now should you take on the challenge of this small game or any mentioned games within, remember this: friends never let friends drink and drive or operate heavy machinery and play inverted.

Images via Xbox.com

META

Katie has always had a connection to games and was able to make Super Mario Bros. a motion game before Nintendo even thought of the Wii. She has a serious addiction; an illness if you may, of loving ridiculous games. She has been through an extensive digital rehabilitation, but we fear her addiction is surfacing again.

Specialty: First Person Shooters