Planning My Human Vacation at EGX 2019

Every year EGX has a wonderful and odd section called the Leftfield collection where games that don’t resemble traditional games come together to make you question and learn what video games can be. This year at EGX rezzed there was a different selection as well, brought to us by the fine folks at Rock Paper Shotgun. I walked past the Rock Paper Shotgun collection, immediately caught by how buzzing and colourful the room was and it was at the end of this room that I sat down with Clancy, Rachel Clancy to be exact and start planning my human vacation.

The Human Vacation Bureau is a game like no other I’ve ever experienced it mimics the booking experience of a travel agency, giving you the option of a custom package or, alternatively, a preselected all-in-one package. But instead of booking a holiday you’re booking your entire existence. You’re not just choosing whether you’ll go first class or coach, or the hotels you’re staying in but you’re choosing how to be born how you’ll die, who you’ll love and what the rest of your life might entail.

Do you want to join a cult? or have sex with the Eiffel tower? all of these options and many many more were presented to me and all of them were talked through by Rachel who played the role of the bureau’s head travel agent, talking you through all of your options, some of the implications of them and of course getting you through the “legal obligations” of choosing options such as “joining a cult” or others.

I sat down and interviewed Rachel for our podcast Games Up, and the first thing I had to ask her was, where did this idea come from?

“It came from my girlfriend she and I made another one of the games that here and she was joking with me once that we’re very lucky that we booked a human vacation at the same time so that we both met each other“.

A classmate of mine is deaf and originally this was going to be about choosing the body so this is why I say up at the front that the vacation bureau doesn’t take care of your body. We take care of events so that no matter what body you were born into you can have the life that you wanted. Which isn’t necessarily the way we live now but that’s the kind of utopia with my game

I had played the game already at this point and this made me love it even more. Games that make you consider your existence and your place in the world are, I think, one of the most important things this medium can put forward. A game that’s designed a to make you reflect accept and love the time you’ll spend on your current human vacation is both a simple and an incredibly delicate concept as well as being intensely beautiful.

The story, behind the scenes, of the creation of the game, is just as interesting and wholesome.

It’s made in HTML, I made it in Dreamweaver, my skills aren’t amazing as a programmer, so I used this basic tool that I knew how to work with” “what it involves was a lot of writing and a little bit of CSS. And people really like the fact that there’s this button that actually prints you a ticket which is powered by Arduino. So it’s all self I made everything [including] the cabinet.

To put it simply the human vacation bureau is a way for Rachel to learn to make games, to learn what she’s doing well and wrong and improve for the future.

For me this game is an experiment and I’ve learnt a lot from doing it and I just want to get it working robustly and working well and get the button working and then after that, I’m going to make more games“.

So you should play The Human Vacation Bureau because you’ll be helping a brilliant developer get even better at making games. Because we all need more truly wholesome video games in our life. Or maybe just because you deserve a break, we all need to take some time out, everyone deserves a nice Human Vacation.

This article is taken from a longer interview with Rachel, stay tuned all of this week for interviews with other creators from EGX rezzed and come back afterwards for their longer interviews next week when Games Up Podcast returns for a special episode!

Cameron McCulloch-Keeble

Cam fan of all things gaming, film and geekery. here on WGN Cam will focus on Overwatch and some other professional gaming leagues.