One Way Trip is an exploration of the themes of death, mortality and consciousness through a psychedelic sci-fi visual novel about a mass poisoning that leaves many people with six hours to live, during which they will hallucinate while they die. You play as one of a relatively useless pair of brothers who can either embark on a wild search for a possible cure or stay at home and chill for six hours with their other poisoned neighbors. The whole game is conversations with people while you’re tripping and they’re probably tripping too, starring the everyday humans trapped in the edges of the frame of a crazy action movie, just trying to live their lives. The game also includes a game-within-a-game section in which the player manages the daily schedule of a person throughout their last year of college. Sleeping for hours or smoking with your friends can make the days go quicker, but fail to maintain a proper equilibrium and your work, relationships, or mental state can sour quickly. The game-within-the-game is equal in length to the main game and tackles the same set of themes from a different angle.
I made this game in particular because I felt this might be my one chance to make a game that is mine, and I wanted to try to say some things and share some things that are particularly important to me. It has almost accidentally turned into something more relevant than I had thought initially - all the stories I researched are speaking to the identity of America, what it is and what it says it is. There are a lot of stories about workers, and the importance of unions. There are a lot of stories about race in America, and about the immigrant experience, and all these stories are about how the American Dream that we sell fails to live up to the reality as it's experienced by the most marginalized in the country. I knew that I needed to get other people to tell those stories, people who were closer to them, and I also felt it would be really interesting to weave that narrative from so many different voices.
As a backdrop for these stories I drew from my own love of travel, folk culture, and American roots music to create a world that simultaneously celebrates the fantasy of the American road story (Huck Finn, On the Road, Easy Rider) while also attempting to confront the reality of life in America and the fact that that kind of freedom is unobtainable for many people.
Michael Frauenhofer - director/writer/soundtrack/art lead
Christine Frauenhofer - programming lead, painting
Queen Elephantine (band) - additional soundtrack