Oh boy, traveling sure is stressful. Especially when you have to limit your wanderlust and are on a timeline of 80 Days.
I was surprised at how quickly I was tossed into the story, both in the narrative as well as with understanding how the game worked (I started a new game on the shared Steam account, which may have skipped over any onboarding). After quickly realizing that I was working for Fogg while not knowing what to do with my large sum of money, I surveyed the globe to see the possible stops I could make. I stepped back for a moment after feeling overwhelmed by the choices, only to realize too late that time kept passing while I was away (and not paused via the game menu or an event). I had also wasted time by clicking the “sleep” button when I didn’t know what to do with my first day in London, only to realize that I ended up in the next day. Looking again at the global routes available to me, I didn’t quite know if I needed to prioritize cost or time. I started by going to cities that sounded Nice (pun intended, I did indeed go to Nice). At this point, I still didn’t register that my name was Passpartout!
Well, with that many mishaps early on, I was determined to put on my responsible cap and try to strategize for the best routes possible.
I quickly cemented a general plan:
- Get to a location furthest east. If you have the funds, push to try to get there faster.
- Keep a wary eye on Fogg’s happiness/comfort meter. He can afford to take a dip so you don’t have to keep him happy all the time, but you don’t want an unhappy travelling partner, in this game or otherwise.
- Stop by the market when you arrive as soon as you can, and purchase valuable items based on where you wish to head/let the items guide you somewhat. It also doesn’t hurt to buy one of each travel-clothing set, to lessen the impact of most modes of transportation.
- Explore at least once if you can. Always aim to get more information from the locals when you can.
- When traveling to the next place, always try to make conversation with whoever is taking you. Information is key!
- You probably don’t need the bank at all, if you manage your buying/selling right.
It was particularly interesting to see the world from Passpartout’s point of view. It was good to see that responses to events had different views embedded in them, such that you could really embody the character of Passpartout. In one encounter, I was surprised to come upon a group of drunk civillians complaining about the presence of Jews in their city, to which I could respond by trying to speak out or walk away. Moments like this grounded the game in reality, which made the steampunk world much more relatable. In truth, it took me a while to notice the steampunk aspects of the story; I was so absorbed in planning that I hadn’t realized how unique the art was for each mode of transportation. It was only until my private car was snatched by a pirate airship crew did I notice the steampunk aspects of the story. After that, I was fully immersed in reading the details of each event and response. I had only just scratched the surface of the Artificers’ Guild and their sociopolitical influence, and I was left wanting more. As an interactive fiction game, I felt that it wove in the world in numerous subtle ways, allowing players to enjoy the details when they noticed them, but otherwise still prioritizing whatever travelling objectives the player has.
I was getting into a steady rhythm with my travels, but then the story brilliantly drops more strange and dramatic encounters that really push the worldbuilding and characters. In one exploration, I thought I had run into a friendly nun, only to be knocked out by her and suddenly awakened to find out that she was a part of the Sisters of Didacus, a religous order that opposed the Pope (of the Roman Catholic Church) and believed that automatons could have souls. This and other tidbits regarding automations tugged at my curiosity, and I wanted to delay my travels to find out more. The story was giving strong hints at some deep moral questions (for example, regarding automations and how “human” they might be), and it felt relevant to me as a player.
I was thoroughly surprised about the highs and lows towards the end of my 80 Days, and how they got me to acknowledge the complexity of the people from different cities and backgrounds, including seeing Fogg beyond being just an employer. A quick summary of my tumultuous adventures:
- I encountered a mutiny on airship over the Indian Ocean, and was at the brink of death with Fogg as the airship was sinking, only to be miraculously saved
- I then made my way to Manila only to narrowly escape the cholera outbreak
- Then I was tracked down by Fix in Hong Kong and told some disrupting information, then drugged by him in the opium dens
- I lost Fogg and went on an airship alone to Yokohama, only to reunite with him there, then we set sail to San Francisco
- …Only for terrible weather conditions to deter our path, resulting in docking at Honolulu. Though Fogg was not having it, and I organized a failed mutiny by his request.
I ended my 80 days by arriving in Honolulu. Honestly, it was not the worst note to end on. Even if I hadn’t made it across the globe in 80 days, I reflected on the wild journey Phileas (as he had revealed his first name to me upon almost dying) Fogg and I had, and recalled the many exciting, surprising, and touching encounters I had. With memories of the beautiful view of the globe in the sunset, and the unique sound and art of the cities, I felt like my 80 Days were somewhat worth it. While I was sad with not having enough real-life time to make it back to London, I do wish to play 80 Days again to uncover more of the world.
Hi Annie! Thank you for your thoughtful blog post. Since I only played the game once around the world, it was interesting to see an in-depth post about someone else’s route. From the cholera outbreak to the drugging, it seems like there were many differences in our experiences, which adds on so much depth to the game. I liked how you came in with a strategy before playing, despite some of the conflicts. Overall, you made it in 80 days, which is impressive considering all the hurdles within the game!
I didn’t finish the whole game, but I think that your point in about the world building is incredibly apparent. I’m surprised how much content they were able to fit into the game – yet at the same time, I thought that certain parts felt too short. It made me also think about how you strategized to play – I wonder what types of emergent strategies this game reinforces!