Airplane Mode, a Purposefully Dull Air Travel Simulator, Gets In-Game Podcast About Itself

I recently got an ad about discounts on air travel and found myself a bit wistful about flying, an experience I’ve never really enjoyed, per se. I guess the stay-put nature of the pandemic has finally gotten to me in this way; but hey, if I really want the my plane passenger experience (half asleep, podcast on) I can just go load up Airplane Mode.

Yes, I suppose you could combine just about any podcast with Hosni Auji’s intentionally banal air travel simulator before, but now it has two exclusive episodes from a show I actually listen to. Eggplant: The Secret Lives of Games is a real show hosted by designers Zach Gage, Nick Suttner, Andy Nealen, and Douglas Wilson, but now it’s also part of Airplane Mode’s (mostly public domain) media library.

Publisher AMC Games commissioned two episodes of the Eggplant podcast for Airplane Mode, and they’re available in the game as part of a free update now. AMC Games’ Simon Ferrari confirms on Twitter that one of the episodes is about Airplane Mode itself, so you can almost think of it as some added designer commentary. I’m fairly certain that I actually have listened to the Eggplant hosts discuss Spelunky on an actual flight, so for me (and perhaps me alone) this would be both a very meta experience and a pretty authentic simulation for me.

You will need to finish at least one flight before you get access to both podcast episodes, though. If a six-hour trip to Reykjavik is too inconvenient, remember you can pick a flight to Halifax instead. Also, you can speedrun long flights with the use of sleeping pills—no, really, that’s in the game.

I was intrigued by Airplane Mode when I first saw it and now, having talked with Auji about its design and seeing it out in the world, I’m happy it’s getting expanded with these weird free updates. Recently, thanks to the AMC connection, it also received a Walking Dead-branded virtual pet app (starring a zombie, of course) for the in-game phone. All it needs now to make the simulation perfect for me is a handheld console with a game like Into the Breach on it. A complimentary cookie would be nice too.

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