I'm the guy who turns up for flights with hours to spare. Not because I'm scared I'll miss the plane, but because I love hanging out in airports. It's like taking a break from life. An abstract space stretched between two realities. Nothing to do but eat, drink, relax, buy shit you don't need, watch the world go by, and maybe catch up on some podcasts. So when I heard about Interminal, a game about wandering aimlessly around an airport, I had to play it.
Interminal (opens in new tab) was developed by Ivan Notaroš and Ferran Bertomeu for PROCJAM, "a laid back and relaxed jam about making things that make things." In it you explore an endless airport terminal filled with procedurally generated duty free stands. The randomised brands—with names like Practicaralle, Fousol, Fasciosphere, and Natumisme—are absurd, but could easily be real high-end perfumes. And they never end. This forever terminal is infinite, and the neatly arranged stands of dainty toiletries with silly names never stop coming.
One way of reading Interminal is that it's a comment on the crass consumerism of airport terminals, which exist to suck as much money out of you as possible before you board the plane. That's true, and the game's procedural capitalist hellscape does a good job of evoking the psychic damage these spaces can inflict on a weary traveller. But whether the developers meant it to or not, for me it also captures some of the magic of these shiny-floored liminal spaces.
Interminal is an extremely mellow game, and beautiful to look at. The lights reflecting on the polished floors, the sun dipping behind the mountains, the planes silently moving back and forth on the runways.... It's a dream of an airport. As you walk you hear the echo of your footsteps, accompanied by a chill ambient soundtrack. I've always found being in a quiet airport late at night incredibly atmospheric, and Interminal captures that feeling brilliantly.
I also found myself getting quite emotional playing it. I used to travel a lot, and not being able to go anywhere for the past year has put a serious dampener on my mental health. Wandering around this strange, dreamlike procedural airport, I started thinking about all the adventures I've missed out on because of this prick of a virus. I've been stuck in this apartment for far too long.
Anyway, you can play Interminal right now (opens in new tab), and it's free. All you do is walk through an endlessly looping airport, so don't expect anything more elaborate than that. But if you want to escape somewhere atmospheric for 30 minutes, or just reminisce about airports, it's worth a download.