One of the coolest perks of being a games journalist in a hip city like New York is seeing a game go from underground student art project to the next big indie hit. One day you’re playing some experimental demo in a college classroom or weird party and the next minute the game is the next Ape Out or Octodad or Untitled Goose Game.
And for me at least, this wonderful proud cycle looks like it’s about to pay off again with Airplane Mode, the ultimate flight simulator.
About a year ago I attended an NYU student games event and played a demo called Flight Simulator. The cheeky joke was that instead of simulating the act of flying a plane, players simulated the act of flying in a plane in first-person. That meant buckling into your cramped seat, opening the window if you’re lucky enough to have one, browsing through in-flight entertainment, reading safety manuals, turning on the overhead light, rummaging through your carry-on bag, not eating the food, seeing just how far you’ve traveled during six actual hours. The works! It’s not even a walking simulator, it’s a sitting simulator. It’s awesome.
So when I saw the very similar pitch for Airplane Mode, I was afraid AMC and IFC had simply ripped off the idea. But don’t worry. Despite the name change, this is in fact the same game coming from the same developer Hosni Auji. The game just now has real publisher backing (and Walking Dead money) behind it to make the in-flight experience even more realistic and entertainingly tedious. This is actually the first project for AMC Games.
Airplane Mode takes off on PC in 2020, so get ready for the grudge match between it and Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020. You can see Airplane Mode in action next week though as part of the Desert Bus For Hope charity stream, extra appropriate because the purposefully dull bus driver sim joke game Desert Bus by Penn and Teller is a pretty obvious inspiration here.