Plug & Play Review


  • Reviewed by: Mark Goninon
  • Developer: Mario von Rickenbach and Michael Frei
  • Publisher: Etter Studio
  • Release Date: 6 March 2015
  • Time played: 15 minutes

Plug & Play is one of those weird games where you either get it or you don't, you either appreciate the game on its artistic merit or you just consider it a complete waste of time. Despite the game being released in 2015, the actual short film, which the game is based on, was released a couple years earlier in 2012. It was shown at over a 100 film festivals and has won quite a few awards so there's obviously some appreciation of what Plug & Play is all about, but what exactly is it all about? And does it work well as a game?

What I like:


Definitely one of the stronger points of the game is its animation and how fluid it is. Michael Frei (the film's creator) has done a fantastic job of animating the film and, in turn, this game. What is even more amazing is he managed to create the whole film using only a single finger on a laptop touchpad.

Beautiful music

There isn't too much music in the game but there's some positively angelic music performed by the Saint Eliyah Church Children Choir, which juxtaposes with the crude imagery and mishaps you'll get to observe during the game (it actually reminds me of the introduction to Mr. Bean).

What I dislike:


The game only took me 15 minutes to complete. So it's a bit longer than the actual film (which is 6 minutes long) but it's very short for an actual game.

Limited gameplay

You'll spend most of your time flipping switches, clicking on people or dragging power cables into sockets - and that's it. It's not really much of a game if you're rating it purely based on interactivity, but it's a pretty good interactive film I guess.

WTF is going on?

You're either going to get it or not; at the very least you'll get some sort of emotional response to it: I felt disgust and confusion. If you like to find meaning out of phallic objects going erect or people shoving their heads into each others' arseholes, then this might be the game for you. I think Michael Rogeau @ Animal New York sums it up best in his title for the interview with Michael Frei:

...Plug & Play, a game that's pretty much about dicks

Okay, I confess that there was one part of the game I did like and that was when it was trying to simulate conversations between lovers/potential lovers; to me it showed the one-sidedness of such conversations at times, on how sometimes people already have their minds made up and are inflexible to change - where decisions can only ever be binary, yes/no, black and white. Which fits in quite nicely with the dichotomies shown in Plug & Play so to me, that was pretty choice.

Score – 4/10 (Mediocre)

In terms of an actual game that is fun to play, Plug & Play fails on that account. So if we were to judge it as a piece of art, well that's obviously going to bring a lot of subjectivity into play. If you can find profound revelations out of fingers going erect when being turned on and flaccid when turned off, or people shoving their heads up the rear ends of others, this game could be fantastic. I sadly didn't though and consequently can't recommend it (except for the part with the binary nature of conversations, that was pretty cool).

However, in terms of Plug & Play being a well animated short film, it succeeds in that regard and if you're curious about what all the fuss is about but don't want to pay $3 USD, you can check out the short film for free here.

Is the game worth $2.99 USD?: No. Would you pay $4 AUD for a 15 minute short film? Only if it blows your mind I guess but in my case it isn't worth the price of admission.

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[ LINK: Official Plug & Play Website ]