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Video Game / The Pedestrian (2020)
aka: The Pedestrian

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"I can see the signs in my sleep now, always guiding me closer. Will this really work? Have we almost achieved the impossible?"
— Blurb from the game's Steam store page

The Pedestrian is a Puzzle Platform Video Game by Skookum Arts.

The game has you playing as an image of a person that can either be a male or female (you can choose between the two images at the start of the game). The game is about said image navigating a series of pictures to reach an exit door. One of the hooks is that the images can be moved around and connected to each other with black lines. This is required in order to be able to solve the puzzles throughout the images.

The game was funded on Kickstarter on February 13th, 2017. It was released on Steam for the PC on January 29th, 2020. A PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 version came out in January 2021. The developers have also confirmed that a Nintendo Switch version is in development, although without a firm release date targeted.

The Pedestrian contains examples of:

  • Book Ends: The office in the first area features a picture of a boat at a dock facing the sun. The game ends with the sign designer having teleported to that same area to take a well-deserved break from their work.
  • Broken Bridge: Some levels will require you to retrieve an item from the next or previous level in order to proceed with the game overall. There are a few levels that consist solely of several of them: you can do some stuff individually once you get the necessary items, but to actually proceed you have to get everything.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Dying simply resets the puzzle you were in except for any objects on signs covered in yellow paint in one late-game area.
  • Featureless Protagonist: The Player Character is a monochrome image of a human being. The trope also applies to the protagonist of the first-person segments—their only notable feature is the hand with which they hold the Multi-Space Connector.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: For most of the game, the camera is more or less fixed on the current puzzle and only moves to keep up with the player character. Come the final section, the game shows you how to move the camera manually with the right stick/mouse, something that up until now only moved the cursor in sign repositioning mode. This neatly sets up the Unexpected Gameplay Change mentioned below.
  • Lock and Key Puzzle: Sometimes, the Player Character needs to bring a key to a locked door to progress.
  • No Plot? No Problem!: There doesn't really seem to be anything to The Pedestrian besides navigating drawings. That said, the names and descriptions of the Steam achievements among other details in the game suggest something deeper at play...
  • Painting the Medium: The pause screen is always displayed on a TV screen in the vicinity of the current puzzle. Even in the first-person segments.
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: Your choice of protagonist gender does not affect the gameplay in any way.
  • Save Scumming: Later in the game, you are introduced to a device that applies yellow paint to signs connected to it, saving the state of the layout within. Puzzles with them require you to keep switches flipped or buttons pressed while the Player Character and everything else in the level is reset.
  • Saw Blades of Death: Some levels feature buzzsaws that can kill the human image in one shot.
  • Shapes and Symbols Tropes: In line with the use of information signs as the basis for levels, all the objects in them are depicted with simplistic pictograms and iconography.
  • Shout-Out: One of the Steam achievements is called “They lied about the cake.
  • Springs, Springs Everywhere: Not springs per se, but the game has black boxes with a thick line on top. They propel the Player Character upward when they're landed on.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: The sign designer has a working teleporter at their home studio which they use to warp to a vacation spot for their day off.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: The female picture wears a dress.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: Unlike the rest of the game, the last couple of puzzles feature first-person puzzle platforming in addition to the normal third-person gameplay. This signifies the coordination of actions between the human image and their designer and how they both affect the latter's reality through the Multi-Space Connector.

Alternative Title(s): The Pedestrian