Like Doc Brown’s time machine from the end of Back to the Future 3, current PT infatuation Pocket Planes was originally a train sim until it sprouted wings. The Nimblebit guys are regular posters over at the Something Awful Forums, where designer David Marsh caused no small amount of swooning by posting some screenshots of Pocket Trains.
Marsh said: “[T]he reason we switched to planes was because having to travel along the rail routes felt really limiting, kind of went against the feeling of open exploration and travel we were going for.” Judging from the screenshots, Nimblebit was pretty far along in development when they made that switch.
I’ve developed a strange relationship with Pocket Planes. It’s absolutely not a game – it’s not even a slot machine. But it’s a lovely thing: the art is gorgeous, the interface is elegant. There’s quite a lot that strategy game makers can learn from the way Pocket Planes presents information to the player. It’s taught me something, too – the less you gnash your teeth about whether or not Pocket Planes is a game, the more you can just sit back and enjoy its simplicity. It’s not a game, it’s a Zen koan.
Two more screenshots of the embryonic Pocket Trains after the jump.
UPDATE: Dave from Nimblebit drops by in the comments to shed some more light – these aren’t screenshots of a development build, but design mockups.