Don't wait to play the demo for While Waiting, a game that gives you lots of stuff to do while you're waiting

A person waiting for an elevator
(Image credit: Optillusion)

According to a fact on a website I've never heard of, the average person spends about five years of their life waiting in lines. Five whole years! Other sites I've never visited before say it's more like 3 years, or six months, or two weeks. The point is, never try to confirm a fact because it takes forever and there are no reliable answers anywhere, ever. 

The real point is: we all spend an unverifiable amount of time just waiting for stuff. We wait in line at the store or for a ride at the bus stop. We drum our fingers impatiently when the doctor's office puts us on hold and we fidget with rage while the person in front of us takes way too long at the ATM. We even wait for games to download, the most agonizing wait of all. I don't know it adds up to five years out of a lifetime, but you can bet it's a lot.

While Waiting is a game about doing stuff to entertain yourself while waiting for other stuff, and it's a pretty good game to play to entertain yourself while, y'know, waiting for other stuff.

I jumped in the other day while I was waiting for a meeting to end (sorry, PC Gamer coworkers). In the first scene, my character was waiting for a bus. I wasn't alone: there was a guy handing out flyers, there were other passengers waiting, a little dog was sitting on a bench, and there was a bulletin board with a few things tacked to it. While Waiting gave me some clues about how to pass the time, it didn't come right out and tell me: there are badges you earn by doing stuff, like "Be the richest guy on the bus" or "It is my bulletin board now" but you have to experiment to figure out exactly what to do.

I wandered around a bit. I pet the dog. I took a flyer, threw it away, and took several more. I picked things up and put them down. I pet the dog again. I eventually noticed some coins on the ground, and followed them offscreen to find a huge sack of money, so when the bus finally arrived I was indeed the richest person on it. The rest of the badges went unearned, but those will be my goals for next time I play.

In the next scene I was waiting for the rain to stop while I hung around in a cafe, which had even more vague goals to achieve, and in another level I was stuck in the backseat of a car that itself was stuck in traffic. How should I pass the time? Well, I could see some ducks on the median outside my window. Maybe that'll lead to a time-killing activity? Hey, I can open the car door…

There are even game-related time-fillers in this game about filling time. In one level I have to find some distractions while I'm waiting for my character's action points to replenish in a mobile game, so I'm literally playing a game about playing a game. (You can even turn off the in-game game and wipe smudges off the screen with your finger, a great way to kill even more time.)

While Waiting"

There's another level where I'm waiting for three large files to download. You can pause two and let one go at three times the speed, as I do all the time in real life while waiting for things to download… does that really help the total amount of time it takes or am I fooling myself? I'm still not sure.

And while playing While Waiting, you can always choose to do nothing. Yes, there's even a badge you can earn for simply waiting there for the bus to come or the rain to stop or the file to download. Doing nothing is still doing something, right?

You can download the demo for While Waiting right now on Steam. Hopefully, the wait won't be too long.

Christopher Livingston
Senior Editor

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.