I could have sworn the first time I played I saw another ghost on the bus and I kept on trying to meet them again figuring it was all RNG. Really fun little treat to play on my Game Boy color, I just wish it had sound.
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The game was originally made for Confession Jam 3 and then expanded after the jam.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 transgender man, this had me in tears on stream. amazing job
such a lovely game
This game is great!
Playing the browser version I seem to be getting random hard audio spikes? It doesn't seem to relate to any particular action (it's happened a few times even while I typed this).
Anyway thanks for making this; it's relatable and really elegantly designed.
I liked how the magical elements make it easier to share and explain your experience- I can relate to that a lot. I worry about how I can pass too.
Yes!! i got all 3 endings! cool game
This is a brilliant game, I totally loved the ghost mind reading mechanics, the art style and how it was all written! :)
Everyone loves to cosplay as something they aren't. You got caught. Everyone can have their own opinions and you chose to get upset about that. It's a shame everyone has to bend knee to make others feel good about themselves. If it's your normal, then it is YOUR normal, no one else's.
Took me like 10 retries to get all of them right. So, the first ending is the easiest because it precedes the other endings, while the third ending is the hardest because it gets preceded by the other endings. So each person falls under three types: Those who aren't fooled by your looks, those who are fooled, and those who didn't notice you. Identify which one is which to get your desired ending. That's your hint.
Hello, I was wondering if you know of any ending guides - or if you can hint me towards the endings, et cetera. I think the colors are making me nauseous, so I don't want to play longer than I have to but I do want to experience it close to what you envisioned. Thank you for your time!
Ending 1 Just play normally
Ending 2 Don't read the minds of people who misgender her
Ending 3 Only read the minds of people who don't even mention her
In case you find it hard to get the last ending here's a quick guide:
1 interact with all the people on the bottom part of the bus
2 interact with all the people on the bottom part of the bus and a person on the bottom right part of the upper section of the bus
3 interact with the person on the bottom right, the driver and a person on the bottom right part of the upper section of the bus
bravo!!! loved the game. truly encapsulates what goes through my head on the daily.
this game was good!! as a trans person now a days idgaf about passing but it was all i could think about 3 years ago very relatable. 18 year old me would have loved that spell hahah
I went from hyper caring to not caring and then back to kind of caring but not in as painful a way.
I think I've hit acceptance now.
Thank you so much for playing.
"The End." With a sense of finality, I put down my gameboy, and stare at the wall with an empty expression. I draw in a deep breath and let it out. I feel an ache in my belly. I think about what the game has taught me. I think about my childhood, innocently playing games, in another world from the one I live in now. I think about all the times I've been worried about passing on the bus. I think about all the rest of my life I have to live. I let out another deep breath, then shut off my gameboy with a click and a pop, and turn towards the computer, hands pausing above the keys as I think of what to say.
I already sort of knew the message that this game conveys, but your production pushed it further into my heart. It's painful to know and be confronted with, and yet it gives me a form of hope. A hope that I can move past thinking about my gender for other people. A hope that I can truly enjoy gender for myself. I expect this will stay in my heart for a while.
Thank you, thank you for the game.
Thank you so much for playing my game. I know that parts of it were painful but I think the process of loving you for yourself is a worthwhile thing to try to experience.
Also I am super amazed you played this game on real gameboy hardware. The nerd in me finds that to be the coolest thing ever.
Also I'm sorry about the delay in replying, my life is really intense at times so I get distracted.
It's all good, I completely understand the pressures of life. Don't feel that you have to take every opportunity, that you have to respond to everything. I'm just pleased that you made me feel things. Best of luck in your future, Taylor.
I deeply enjoyed playing this game, as a trans woman. I tried getting different endings, but I only got the misgendering ending. Make me wonder, though… Is passing about being seen as a woman or about being seen as a cis woman, to you? I’d rather be seen as a queer, trans woman than a man; as long as people are respectful to me and use the correct pronouns, I’d be 100% okay with that. I live with a langage –french– that genders absolutely everything (nouns, verbs, adjectives…) and getting misgendered in french is harsh and happens quite a lot. Anyway, thanks for this game, lots of love!
I am sorry about the delay in answering your question. The cyberpunk bundle had come out and I needed the money so I was afraid of rocking the boat by saying anything lest I somehow screw everything up.
To answer your question, among my own kind being seen as a trans woman is passing to me and comfortable. Other times among cis people who view trans women as inferior it isn’t passing to me. For example when I’m the only person in a room who is asked to give pronouns or when people comment on my “tells” such as feet or height or whatever, it’s painful.
I don’t really pass well all the time but I blend in enough that I’m usually left alone. If I could go without being misgendered again for the rest of my life I’d be happy regardless of how people see me.
The deeper part of this is that passing is not really a thing. It didn’t make it into the game due to scope and complexity but there was a character named Fancy who was planned to be included from the start. She was going to be an actual ghost who was buried as a boy by her family and was stuck haunting the world and filled with hatred.
No matter how you look, there are systems of gendering in place that exist even after death that enforce gender on us and we don’t always have control over them. I wanted to write about that pain but I just didn’t have the skill as a developer to make it yet.
I think passing is a painful thing because existing in society comfortably and safely is tied to it so I can’t exactly say “fuck passing it’s bullshit” and ignore it. At the same time chasing passing is ultimately self destructive for me and ends up hurting me.
I think for me passing is being able to avoid being misgendered while being part of society and having my gender not be questioned and scrutinized. That’s what passing is to me but it’s painful and really complicated. I’m sorry this turned into a rant but I thought about your question a lot and I finally just wanted to answer even if my answer is inarticulate and flawed.
Hello, I am very, very happy to read your answer. Thanks for writing all this and sharing it with me!
I guess passing is far from being just personnal: it’s a matter of context, of society, and so on… And I guess this is what makes passing painful. It’s something you can’t really control, it’s out of reach.
As for you character Fancy, it totally sounds like an awesome idea! Have you ever considered collaborating with someone else?
Passing is entirely out of reach which was the point of the game. I once saw a streamer play my game and give up in frustration because they didn't think they could find a way to pass. I'm glad that I could give them that sort of experience in a gentle way.
Also I am REALLY excited about writing Fancy and she's my favorite OC but I have projects that have to be done before I can really get to work on her. I doodle her a whole lot though. But I'm getting off topic.
As far as collabs go, I'm a mess and bad at focusing and tend to self isolate. Under proper conditions, my work can be really strong but otherwise, it can just end up being a mess. I'm fine with collaborations but it would really be a question of scale and time. Right now my time is super limited and I have a lot on my plate. I'm happy to listen to an idea though if you want to email it to me or something?
It might just be a while before I could commit to anything if I ever can but I'm totally up to hearing it. x_x
(my dev email is: firstname.lastname@example.org just fyi)
I sent you an e-mail 1 or 2 weeks ago, I hope you received it and I hope you’re doing fine!
Hi there! Fellow trans GBstudio dev that just wanted to say this is a nice little game and the art is very cute in it. I found it while looking around to see what others have done with GBstudio!
Thank you so much. I've seen one other dev (maybe 2?) who are trans floating around doing work in GBstudio. I'm glad to see someone else joining in. There's something really neat about seeing trans people exist in retro gaming stuff in a positive way so I'm really looking forward to seeing what you have planned. Good luck!
I don't want to pressure you or anything but when you finish your game I'd be thrilled if you let me know. I'd love to have a new trans gameboy game to play.
Thanks for the follow! I'm still getting my first game developed enough to set up an itch page for it, but I'll be back with the link when it's ready.
this is an amazing game. as a trans male I understand the struggle of constantly wondering if you're passing. I love how you made this struggle into art and hopefully a form that helps cis people understand.
Thank you so much for commenting and playing my game T_T
After reading your comment I've realized I'm in a weird place as a lot of my games are just hopes cis people will be kinder and understand but most cis people aren't going to seek out trans games. I don't know what to do about that but hopefully I can find an answer one day.
Hi Taylor! This is such a cute game. I LOVED it. I am a cis gay woman myself and it definitely made me think. I actually am working on a game for my thesis that will be a role playing game for kids that talks about social justice issues (including trans rights) while also teaching computational and systems thinking. I would love to chat with you sometime if you are interested in that! I could, of course, provide you with some info on me first! Hoping to hear back!! But if not, thank you for making trans content. You are so important and valuable.
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.
I don't know how I missed this but omg thank you so much for your reviews. Without you my games wouldn't get played as much. The work you are doing really helps.
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.