Tram Simulator

fizzhog's picture
Game File: 

Another transport simulator? Bit of an obsession currently. This one is rather different to the last; I hope that nobody is too disappointed but in this one you play as a passenger. In my 'research' I was watching things on youtube and I came across one video which had been made by special request of a particular route in a bus simulator as seen from the passenger view. 'Special request'?! That is perplexity and not criticism. Honestly I find transport sims and real world public transport pretty boring. But other people are passionate about these things and that fascinates me.

The thing I most enjoy about transport sims, especially older ones, is the janky scenery. As the focus is on the trains, buses, etc. less effort goes into representing passengers, buildings, etc. In this respect transport sims often seem to be a few years behind games in general on a technical level. I will spend more time looking at the blurry sprite people or the strangely distorted buildings than actually playing the game. I wanted to capture some of that in this game.

This a game about boredom really. I imagine the player character is really tired on their way home from work on the tram as other people are on the streets partying (a memory from years ago). Do you look out of the window and watch the world go by, do you browse stuff on your phone or play that cool new game? And also how long do you play this simulator before closing it?

CONTENT WARNING: The images on the browser on the phone are random and may contain offensive stuff. They were harvested with an image scraper and haven't been checked. In my testing I haven't come across anything bad but you never know.

z: left thumb
x: right thumb
g: play game
b: browser

Lots of images from Pixabay and Flickr
Building models from 3DRT
Phone game sprites by David E. Gervais
Sounds from freesound

Made For: 


spiral's picture

I wrote this with some of my headmates so it might be confusing

The range of perspective the game gives feels neither increased nor decreased, compared to the original TrainSimulator (mind the i and n, which may appear as if they are, next together, actually an m). Rather than being alienated from a reality, here we are alienated from our ability to interact.

We are more immersed in what the world is, but not by choice or action, by the will of the Tram to proceed on its own course without caring for what the player/rider experiences- or does not experience either, perhaps. The range of "gameplay" interactivity is limited to a fraction of the screen space, however along with that it creates a more consistent narrative. Here we are, riding the tram, a hapless bystander to the unending route we have found ourselves on, in a world where eerily photorealistical sprites of women are dancing outside- Why are we not partaking in this "party"? We are at the whims of the tram, which may be a stand-in for the designer, fizzhog.

We, as the rider, do not appear to be seated properly. We are used to, in these contexts, holding our phone close to our chest- it's our personal experience and we feel embarrassed for others to partake in it, even accidentally. Regardless, we can take as a possible fact that the tram is otherwise empty. It is not unusual for public transit to run with seemingly no purpose- the idea is it will gain purpose as it goes on. The further the tram goes, the more we are made to consider it. But what if we revert back to this phone, and try to ignore the world around us?

We have two options for distraction. The first is the game, which we spent the most time with. After starting up the game, you see two sprites facing each other- our assumption, from the lesson of Video Games, is that this represents a battle between the upper and lower sprite. Pressing with the left thumb causes the lower sprite to cycle randomly. Pressing with the right thumb causes one of the the two sprites to change. Does the left thumb mean we are changing who our currently selected fighter is, and with the right thumb, we are sending them into battle? Most of the time, the lower sprite changes from the right thumb. The opponent is strong. Occasionally noises are produced, the background colour changes. A symbol of progress. Or, more likely, the entire thing is meaninglessness orchestrating as a subject, as "gamers" are eager to understand what they see before them in terms of what they have experienced before.

The second option for distraction is to click through the image browser. The rider, at this point, will be assured of their lack of control on their environment, if they had been so far uncertain and are looking for a convincing argument. An image will be shown at complete random from an insurmountably large selection. With some behind the scenes conversation, we know that the theme of the images was any search result from the credited image sites for "politics". Is politics good, or is politics bad? Perhaps after viewing enough of these images, we may find an answer. More likely, we will never find an answer, as nothing in this game concludes.

fizzhog's picture

The not being "seated

The not being "seated properly" is mostly due to laziness; the hands were recycled from an earlier game of mine which simulated playing with a Tamagotchi; I could see that they didn't quite work but I was running out of steam (haha!) and just went with it. The game on the phone is not quite random; you are, as you say, sending your lower monster to fight against the upper one; three 'wins' in a row results in the 'levelling up' sound and change of background colour.

spiral's picture

Thank you for the response,

Thank you for the response, I hope our collective critique was of value or at least interesting entertainment! The "not quite working" is fine honestly, what matters most is the conveyance of setting and context the player finds themselves in. Also, it's interesting that the game isn't as random as we thought! It is always fascinating to us how such light mechanics can lead a player to develop a more fleshed out mental model...

fizzhog strikes again with TRAM simulator

I quite enjoy catching the tram home at the end of that day when it's busy and people are relaxed and chatting. what I don't like is catching it in the morning, for some reason. I just feel really fidgety and want to get off and walk. But public transport interests me and i don't find it boring. i kinda like the clankiness of trams, though it can be annoying sometimes lol.

I like this simulator as much as your other one, maybe more. didn't even realize i could use the phone until I saw the controls in the description, which was a great addition. interesting to scroll through the random photos, and the game was a nice touch to!!! you do a good job selecting the audio and the imagery + movement of the imagery

gisbrecht's picture

I Saw Gore And Minecraft on

I Saw Gore And Minecraft on my phone!!! Aaah! I didn't pay attention to outside does this reflect on meeee badlyyyy???

clyde's picture

I enjoy this a lot. The

I enjoy this a lot. The division of attention between looking out the windows and looking at the screen felt true to life. I also enjoy the realism from the images I browsed through on my phone. I appreciate reappropriations of media like this in downloadable games especially; I like that it feels like it is from circa 2018 and it will feel that way thirty years from now as well.