Time Bandit

Entrant 2021


Time Bandit is a dark life sim where everything you do takes time. Place down a robot to push a box for you, for example, and it will take an actual half an hour to finish. By saving the game and coming back periodically to make progress, you are invited to explore your habits, rituals, and experience of time in general, particularly as it relates to work and exploitation.

The real-time gameplay is paired with a slowly unfolding melodrama of political intrigue, told through lowpoly cutscenes and contextualized radio conversations inspired by the codec calls in Metal Gear Solid. Eventually you are tasked with pulling off high-stakes heists to steal back from the corporation that is trying to take control of time in order to make you work for them forever. Time Bandit is an explicitly anticapitalist game that deals directly with themes such as technological automation, economic crisis, environmental devastation, colonialism and imperialism, and the social structures behind mental health issues.