“Subjectivism maintains that there are no objective moral truths.” – David Edmonds
Trolley Problem, Inc. is a dark comedy narrative game based on real-world philosophical papers, in which people are asked to make a series of seemingly impossible choices. Players will wrestle with their morality, decide the fate of millions and can even compare their choices with the rest of the world!
Developer: Read Graves
Released: 21st April 2022
Trolley Problem, Inc. can be played single-player or split-screen co-op and sees players work their way through a series of hard-hitting, philosophical and moral questions posed by a mysterious narrator. After each question, the player is shown how their answer compares to other players and their level of overall agreement with the developer Samuel Read-Graves. There is typically between thirty seconds and a minute to answer each conundrum and this cannot be sped up meaning there can be quite a bit of waiting if the player decides quickly.
While each question is on-screen there will be a pop up with an author’s name and year to indicate either the inspiration for the question or where it was directly taken from. At the end of the game, a comprehensive reading list is provided which is a nice addition for anyone wishing to do some further research. There are also a number of items to collect throughout the game, these seem to be awarded when players make the right choice or series of choices.
Narrative and Styling
At the start of Trolley Problem, Inc. the player is beginning a job at the titular company and through training will be judged on responsibility, integrity and respect. They are then promoted to a position at Trolley Health Corporation (THC) and must focus on justice, courage, temperance and wisdom. The game consists of a series of promotions and job roles and progresses over a period of 10 weeks or four acts.
All of the narration and questions are voice acted which reduces the need to read lots of text and is a welcome addition especially as there is no music in the game. However, the narrator consistently tried to send the player on a guilt trip and it seems likely the player will be berated regardless of the choice they make.
The game’s default visual settings include CRT and ‘wiggle’ effects that are not exactly easy on the eyes, however, once these are turned off, the overall aesthetic is clean and crisp with vibrant colours and clear text on a white background, cartoon line art illustrations and some photographs.
Trolley Problem, Inc. will take around two hours to play and while this is a good length for the style of game, the price tag is perhaps a bit steep for the short duration. That being said, it is a unique, enjoyable and thought-provoking experience that poses life and death questions that will push the player’s moral compass to its limit! It is unlike anything I have played before and I am happy to recommend it.
Trolley Prpblem, Inc. is being exhibited throughout LudoNarraCon 2022 (5th – 9th May). For more LudoNarraCon coverage take a look at the following articles: