'Airplane Mode,' AMC's First Video Game, is a 6-Hour Simulated Coach Flight...Or is It?

Friday, 08 November 2019 - 2:46PM
Friday, 08 November 2019 - 2:46PM
'Airplane Mode,' AMC's First Video Game, is a 6-Hour Simulated Coach Flight...Or is It?
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Screenshot: YouTube/AMC
Every so often, we come across a story so baffling that we wonder if it's not a joke. That was the case this morning when we received a press release announcing AMC's (yes, as in The Walking Dead) entry into the video game market with Airplane Mode, which promises to cure overstimulation by recreating in painstaking detail what can only be described as one of the most boring experiences available to humans: a six-hour-long transatlantic commercial airline voyage in coach class. 

That's it. Unless AMC is doing something exceptionally ingenious ahead of a top-secret new show (a reboot of Lost? A new adaptation of The Langoliers?), that's all there is to it. That's the game. 

There are a few tantalizing details, however, that indicate it could be something quite unexpected.

• The trailer opens with the title card and opening scenes of Le Voyage Dans La Lune (A Trip to the Moon), a 1902 film that could arguably be called the first science fiction movie ever made. Could Airplane Mode be hinting at a new show or taking players on an unexpected interstellar journey?

• A gameplay still from the Steam site shows that the player's avatar appears to be reading J.K. Huysman's Au Rebours, which includes a vital chapter about the protagonist's discovery that traveling is ultimately a futile and disappointing endeavor. Is this an in-joke?

• Ok, seriously, we've got nothing. This looks ridiculous. Aside from the promise that each flight will be different, at least insofar as "randomized events on every playthrough, such as turbulence, bad wifi, and delays," this seems like a  critique of the ever-dwindling human attention span and taste for consuming novelty for novelty's sake. 

Here's the press release (we've replaced the YouTube link with the actual video):


New York, NY – November 8, 2019 – AMC announced today the debut of Airplane Mode, the first video game published by AMC Games, which will be featured during Desert Bus For Hope 2019, the long-running video game charity fundraiser. Created by Hosni Auji, Airplane Mode encourages players to unplug and enjoy a long-haul commercial flight across the Atlantic. For this project, AMC Games also partnered with "slightly off" company sibling IFC for brand promotion and an inflight safety video.

A special alpha build of Airplane Mode is slated to run during Desert Bus For Hope 2019's livestream the afternoon of Tuesday, November 12. The annual charity event kicks off November 8 at 8am PST with a livestream on desertbus.org and continues so long as the audience donates.

Airplane Mode will officially take off in 2020. Watch the game's teaser trailer here:

"AMC has always been committed to bringing visionaries' passion projects to life – on-screen and now in games, and we're thrilled to launch this new label with the debut of Hosni Auji's Airplane Mode," said Clayton Neuman, VP of Gaming for AMC. "The game is as insightful as it is absurd; a meditation on life between destinations, and one that we will be proud to bring to players worldwide next year."

Players take the role of a window seat passenger for the real-time duration of the flight, experiencing every travel detail – from taxi and take-off to meal service, in-flight entertainment and the behaviors of the cabin crew and fellow passengers. Airplane Mode presents players with randomized flight events in every session, creating an endlessly replayable experience for flight enthusiasts and content creators alike. Additional features include:

· Fairly accurate satellite imagery of your flight path;

· Carry-on bag with a book, headphones, pen, and charging cable;

· Overhead reading light and complimentary aircraft information card;

· IFC-produced inflight safety video;

· Chance of inclement weather (turbulence), bad WiFi, and delays;

· Authentic ambient noise; and

· Inflight magazine filled with travel articles, crossword and Sudoku.

"Hosni Auji's Airplane Mode captured my attention from the moment I saw the teaser," said Andrew Ferguson, one of the core organizers of Desert Bus For Hope 2019. "I loved the simplicity of the idea and genuine commitment to the bit. My interest in the game only grew when I learned it had been inspired by Desert Bus itself. One of my favourite aspects of minimalist games is that the focus can invite us to truly explore the space a developer has built; whether for comedy, aesthetic beauty, delving into social issues, or just to tell a short story. Alt-games, experimental games, and 'boring' games push at the boundaries of what's possible within the medium and it brings me genuine joy to be a small part of Airplane Mode's launch."

AMC has partnered with several third-party publishers in the creation of video games based on its blockbuster series The Walking Dead. Such games include The Walking Dead: No Man's Land and The Walking Dead: Our World (Next Games); an integration of Negan into Bandai-Namco's Tekken 7; The Walking Dead Slots (FTX Games); and The Walking Dead: Endless War (GC Turbo). Airplane Mode is the first game to be published under its new indie publishing label, AMC Games.

For more information on Airplane Mode go to playairplanemode.com or wish list now on Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/931310/Airplane_Mode/

Uh, ok.
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