Free, short game where you play as a trans woman who magically gains the ability to see what other people are thinking on the bus home. Content warning: misgendering (though it's not malicious). 4/5 stars - excellent.
Do I Pass?
"Do I Pass" is a visual novel where you play as a transgender woman who is worried about if she passes or not. With the help of a magical webpage she becomes a ghost and peeks into the minds of others to determine how they feel about her. There are three endings depending on the types of interactions she encounters from other people.
The game was originally made for Confession Jam 3 and then expanded after the jam. It is playable in web browsers, gameboy emulators, and with a flash cartridge will run on gameboy hardware as well. Approximate 10 minute playtime for each ending.
Content Warnings: Misgendering, Transphobia
Download the gameboy rom to run on Gameboy Compatible Devices!
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As a trans femme who often travels by bus alone, this really hits close to home. It's hard not be there, anxiously wondering what everyone thinks about you and your identity. It's terrifying, honestly, and I think you captured that well. Thanks for sharing.
Sorry about the delay in replying and short reply. I have a game jam that is due in two days and my mental illness stuff is hitting me pretty hard.
Your comment really means a lot to me. I hope the game made bus rides a little easier.
I'm looking forward to seeing your future games (especially your upcoming rpg Dreamy Beast). The work you do as a trans game designer is really important so I hope you keep making games too.
I was looking forward to this as soon as I saw it on your profile and now that I've played it, it even exceeded my expectations!
The art is very cute, both the more traditional GB-style pixel art for the maps/characters and the more elaborate drawings for the cut scenes.
The gameplay is simple - basically only choosing which person to talk to (or well, read the mind of), making it pretty unusual for a GB game, but that simplicity still works great with the story. On my first playthrough, I just tried to talk to everyone, which led me to the misgendered ending. That was interesting because probably those "She looks trans, but she's cute" or "She's probably trans, but I won't say anything" were to blame for that. I liked that you included them and even though those persons probably had no bad intentions thinking that, they still caused distress.
After that, I tried to get the passing ending and - only half remembering who I talked to on what stage before - had struggled with it, which made the experience more intense. I had runs where it went good for a while, which made me really happy, but with every additional person, I knew I could make a mistake at any moment..then I talked to the wrong person and that immediately ruined everything, leading me to restart.
While I'm not in exactly the same situation as the protagonist IRL, it felt very relatable and I had a lot of empathy for her, which is rarely the case in video games. I think you did a fantastic job there.
Of course, that also meant I was even happier to see her get the more positive passing and indifference endings! And even the misgendered ending had something bittersweet to it.
The only thing to criticize here would be the lack of any sounds, but that's understandable with that format. I think the engine doesn't really allow any effects anyway, but some light music could have been fun. Then again, programming trackers to get the right files would have been pretty complicated...never really used them myself, mostly sticking to similar sounds but with less limitations. Though I'd love to try doing actual chiptunes for a game one time...maybe even for a GB game! ;)
But I'm really impressed with what you created here. Really, great job!
Are you working on a sequel? I think the random ghost suggested that. I'd love to play that! Oh, and are you maybe on Twitter or other platforms? Between this game and the Rainbow Jam Sim 2019, I love your art style and I'd love to see more of it! :)
Hi, I am sorry about the delay in responding. Your message is wonderful but as soon as I saw twitter mentioned I kind of froze up. I am a kind of nervous person irl and the internet terrifies me. While itch.io feels safe a lot of the internet and especially twitter are/is horrifying.
I've been meaning to register a twitter account for a long time but because of my fear I hadn't. I finally registered one a night or two ago. My twitter is here: https://twitter.com/TaylorMcCue5 I'd really like to be mutuals on twitter if that is okay with you.
Working within gameboy limitations taught me a lot about art and I really liked the results I found within those limitations. Pixel art is a lot harder in many ways but it's easier to make things consistent than line art for me. Most of my nonpixel art feels less polished but I can share it with you sometime if you are still curious about it.
As far as passing goes in a weird way being seen as not cis to me can feel like not passing. One thing that makes me nervous is wondering if I pass when actually people around me know I am trans and are just being kind and accepting and what I am really experiencing isn't passing but the ratio of kind people to crueler people around me.
I tried to not really do any particularly brutal misgendering scenes because I didn't feel like it would do anyone any good for that sort of thing to exist.
Getting the different endings is really difficult and I would have gladly made you a map if you asked for one on who to talk to for each ending. The passing ending is really hard to get and that's intentional. I thought it was important to make a game where you only pass as much as the current person you are talking to rather than having a “true passing” that is an intrinsic part of who you are.
I'm glad you think I did a good job with empathy, my hope with this game is I would feel more comfortable with the reality that I don't always pass and maybe help other people feel better about that too. I tried to give every single ending something kind about them. Passing is always glorified but I wanted there to be value in alternatives to passing as well.
The lack of sounds are understandable given the format but it actually is possible to do sounds. There are trackers that work for it as well and I could provide all of the technical information about how to make music for a gameboy game. My problem is that I don't really know how to compose at this point well enough that it would detract from the experience. If you ever want to try doing gameboy chip tunes let me know though!
I am working on a sequel currently. I have a rough draft of the start of the game done but I am reworking it. It continues the story that was meant to happen within this game. I recently even made my first ever lofi song for it thanks to your program and I am very excited about it. It won't be a gameboy game this time so I can be more flexible with sound.
Anyways, again I am sorry for the delay in responding. I hope we can talk more as you are an awesome person.
Oh also omg I forgot to mention I played Anteholic, it was really good and I liked the worldbuilding in it a lot! Also sorry if any of this message is really confusing, it's late and I really just wanted to reply to you no matter what today.
Ah, I'm sorry! After posting it and waiting a bit, I kind of had a hunch. Hope it was not too uncomfortable for you. :(
Yay, let's become mutuals! :) Started following you, you'll probably recognize me in the notifications. You can also set your account to private, if public Twitter becomes too much. Then you can restrict who can interact with you and who can see your content (i.e. only followers, and people can only become followers if you allow it). Some friends of mine do that as well and it makes it more comfortable and less overwhelming for them. Then there are also blacklists for single words, which I use a lot, that can also make the experience a lot more enjoyable. Twitter can be a scary place, but there are ways to make it way less scary. :)
And of course, I'll reply to the rest of your points as well, but I think maybe Twitter DMs might be a better place for that now, if that's okay with you? It's less public than here...and we can get a bit more off-topic there. I mean, this is the comment section of your game, after all. x)
I enjoyed the demo and can not wait to see where you take the full game.
Only a few days till your deadline GOODLUCK.
I liked it, it was a neat idea. I hope the full game explores it more. I liked the fact a small handful of people had trans thoughts but most where caught up in their own mind.
While I am not trans, I have dealt with social anixy so thinking that people are judging you is something I can understand too.
A good visual novel can still have player choice, so having that will make this more of a game. You have a good base idea for it, being able to mind read, Im not sure what choices you can give, but it will make the game more enjoyable.
I didn't get any sound to play during the game, but there where some crackles as I was typing this so maybe there is meant to be sound?
Most of the artwork is nice, though I think the "you pass, dont Pass" website should be redone.
I did also notice you where a ghost before you got on the bus.
Thank you for writing a long comment. I am currently rushing to finish the game so please understand if mine is a little short.
There will be increased player agency in the full version through a secret mission. Randomly an actual ghost might appear on the bus, talk to them to access it. I wanted to put in a secret like that.
Unfortunately I am a solo dev so I didn't do any sound. Sometimes there is crackling it is an unintended side effect, the game is actually a gameboy game in an emulator. Being a ghost at the start is an error that will hopefully be fixed in the full version, if it isn't please let me know.
For now rather than redoing art my goal is to just finish everything but I appreciate the feedback.
I struggle with social anxiety and being trans while not passing compounds it. I wanted to write a story that comforted people like me. I hope that it can achieve that goal.
I would suggest putting sound on your list, reach out to other game boy developers on how to implement it. Just a single beep noise when closing text boxes or text scrolling bleeps will be enough rather then a background song.
I think you make a point. After I finish the planned content I'll see what I can do about going back and adding that.