Drive Time Radio gridlock
Screenshot by Destructoid

Drive Time Radio captures the horrors of talk radio

First time caller, long time listener

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Telling a narrative in an interactive way is something that’s still being explored and developed today. Video games have long emulated books and movies to tell their tales, both of which directly rip all control out of your hands and force you to sit and watch or, ugh, read. Part of Half-Life’s appeal in 1998 was that it didn’t do that. It let you experience the story without taking it away from you.

And for a lot of games, that was far enough. As long as you could poke at the microwave while someone spoke to you, that was interactive storytelling. Never mind that you could tell it just as easily in film.

Part of the issue is that players have a hard time sitting still when there are things to kill. When you’re a hammer, and there are nails everywhere, it’s hard to be invested in anything else but pounding.

Drive Time Radio has a solution to this: coerce the player into interacting, but trap them with the story. You’re on a long stretch of highway, the radio is playing, but your life is forfeit if you try to stop. It’s not the only way to captivate an audience, but it’s certainly an effective one.

Drive Time Radio Wreck
Screenshot by Destructoid

Distracted driving

Drive Time Radio has you starting off in a traffic jam. You pass out while waiting for people to move, and when you wake up, the highway is empty, and you’re speeding along. The radio plays your typical talk radio setup where two hosts banter about the upcoming Beach-A-Palooza Spring Break Beach Blowout. It’s your chance to win free tickets to this exciting event! And you’d better play, or else the show’s hosts are going to eat you.

You’re on a completely straight highway, but the car continually drifts to one side or another, kind of like in the legendary pain-maker Desert Bus. It requires your constant attention in order to not run into the traffic barriers. Also, one of the hosts is playing dirty and will create obstacles directly in front of you, so you probably should stay awake.

If you want to live to see Beach-A-Palooza, you’re going to have to answer a series of trivia questions. The bar for success is rather low, but you’ll need to think, drive, and answer to get through the end of Drive Time Radio.

Moon Spikes
Screenshot by Destructoid

The moon is an illusion

Even if your trivia chops aren’t up to snuff, Drive Time Radio is going to take up about 20-30 minutes of your time. There are frequent checkpoints for when you screw up, so it’s a rather easygoing experience.

Beyond its novel concept, Drive Time Radio is just some enjoyable writing. Talk radio is a pretty simple concept to write about, but developer Birthday Boy pulls it off with some otherworldly flair. It taps into the insipidness of conversational radio while tying in some eldritch horror. Despite its genre trappings, there’s a lot of amusing comedy overlaying things, and it displays a fondness for language. It’s probably not going to blow anyone away, but it should definitely entertain.

For the price of free and 20 minutes of your time, Drive Time Radio is an excellent, light-hearted experiment in interactive storytelling. It ties in a lot of familiar concepts into a package that hits all of its marks. Gambling your soul in a game of trivia is definitely a better use of your time than actual talk radio.


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Author
Zoey Handley
Staff Writer - Zoey is a gaming gadabout. She got her start blogging with the community in 2018 and hit the front page soon after. Normally found exploring indie experiments and retro libraries, she does her best to remain chronically uncool.