Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

New video game allows players to experience the vicarious thrill of shaking another person's hand

19th century boxers shake hands, illustrating a video game interaction they’ll never live to experience themselves.
19th century boxers shake hands, illustrating a video game interaction they’ll never live to experience themselves.
Illustration: Hulton Archive (Getty Images)

Of the many mundane activities we’ve stopped participating in over the last year, the handshake is... well, probably among the least important of them. And yet, after so many months of going without the once-routine motions of reaching out our fleshy little digits so they can be enclosed within another’s, a virtual facsimile of the action has become novel.

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Torfi Ásgeirsson’s A Firm Handshake is now the second game we know of that looks to the humble handshake as a foundational design feature. It starts with a single man—neatly parted brown hair, wearing a brown suit with a brown tie—walking into a featureless orange space. Another, identical man approaches. The two meet in the middle, shake hands with gusto, then set off through the void to shuffle past potted plants, meet other clones of themselves, shake their hands, too, and assemble a giant conga line of business guys. There are a few twists thrown in as A Firm Handshake goes on, but the goal always remains consistent: Find some hands to shake.

Aside from the larger impression created through its simple design and the haunting sight of all those robotic businessmen walking in a line together like a great big row of suit-wearing ants, we should also point out that the handshaking action in the game is pretty exceptional. There’s a nice slapping sound as palm meets palm. The businessmen’s arms pump up and down enthusiastically when they meet. Ásgeirsson has animated some very fine handshaking that reminds us of what we didn’t know we were missing.

A Firm Handshake is available to download for free through Itch.io and runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

[via Boing Boing]

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Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.