A screenshot from action/adventure game Tokyo Bus Guide.
I'm not sure what first attracted me to Tokyo Bus Guide. It was probably the idea of speeding around Tokyo with the lives of 30 fragile Japanese children in my greasy, impractically small gamer-hands. It was probably the idea of observing beautifully rendered cityscapes littered with 35 million little people all going about their day, completely oblivious that there was every chance I would drive up behind them and run them over (to the chorus of 30 screaming children). What really made me try this out though, I'm ashamed to say (I'm not ashamed to say) was that it was like 100mb to download and I was on a well big Dreamcast piracy binge at the time.
You will need to know Japanese to be able to play Tokyo Bus Guide. Unless you have a guide or have a fantastic knowledge of the intricate manoeuvres involved in bus operation, you'll struggle. You'll be lucky to get 10 seconds into the game before you fail. You don't even know if the text says "fail" or not, it'll just start again. It was something like 3 weeks before i managed to figure out how to get the bus accelerating along the road for more than 2 seconds (make sure you shut the doors, then indicate left). It's a great feeling. Of course, it doesn't last for long and you'll soon end up starting again.
I repeated this for a while. Trial and error. Repeating my actions over and over again, trying different buttons, different combinations. I'd be lying if I said every time I got a little further, that would be bollocks, because sometimes I'd accidentally get further than other times and I'd spend forever trying to figure exactly out what I'd done to get at least some of these people to their required destinations on time. What I realised though was that I wasn't thinking about running over Japanese families or torturing school children any more (mostly), it was about getting a little bit further every time. To someone fluent in Japanese, the game is probably shit, it's probably really short and mundane. But to me it was far more entertaining. These people who got on my bus every time were stuck in a perpetual cycle. Forever getting on a bus that is almost doomed to fail from the start. Yet they keep doing it because this isn't a groundhog day situation here. The bus made it every now and then.