Waiting in Line 3D, a new browser game by Rajeev Basu and Patrick T. Lo, is exactly what it sounds like. Gameplay consists of sitting and waiting in line, and as you wait, your energy depletes. To wake up, you have to punch yourself in the face, but punch too many times and you die. That’s it.
Winning presumably means waiting it out, doing your best to balance awake-ness and health until whatever you’re waiting for finally arrives. Except the line doesn’t ever end. You’re Sisyphus rolling the boulder up the hill forever and ever until it all goes dark.
“Play” it here.
Why make a game that’s this deliberately unsatisfying? “I like the idea of making an ‘anti-viral,’” Basu tells ANIMAL. “Brands and labels pour money into finding that magic ‘viral formula,’ if ever there was one. But to stand out and be different, why not do the exact opposite?”
“I like the idea of how being so very boring can actually be interesting,” he adds.
The work was ostensibly created to promote the song “Friends Listen,” by ManCub, much like Basu’s Facehawk functioned as an interactive music video. To hear the whole track requires an iron will, as after a just minute or so of waiting, the prospect of face-punching yourself to death starts to look awfully alluring.
Basu insists it’s possible to accumulate points and advance through the game– “you need to stick it out,” he says–but I’m inclined to take that with a grain of salt. On a few playthroughs this morning I haven’t been able to get past about a minute and a half of play and a grand total of zero points.
“I hope it challenges what people think of what a game needs to be. Everything seems to be guns, soldiers, and blasting tanks these days,” Basu says. “How about something a little different? Like waiting in line.”