A downloadable game for Windows, macOS, and Linux

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The Trolley is a first-person point and click narrative game about the sudden closure of a public transportation system in a fictional Rustbelt American city. 

Set in the late 1950s, The Trolley invites players complete tasks in order to dismantle an incline railroad of a recently discontinued trolley line. As the player boards up the gatehouse, disposes of paperwork, and performs other closure duties, they are given a series of inner monolog choices that reflect on urban infrastructure, labor, and technological progress.

The stories, environments, architecture, and scenery are all pulled from extensive research Nicholas O’Brien has conducted over the past two years. The often untold narratives of the trolley closures from LA to Atlanta, Cincinnati to Pittsburgh interweave throughout this game. Using conventions from experimental filmmaking, essayistic moving image work, and contemporary story-driven indie games, The Trolley ask players to contemplate the ways in which the absence of the trolley has reshaped American civic space.

PlatformsWindows, macOS, Linux
Rated 3.6 out of 5 stars
(26 total ratings)
AuthorEssay Games
Tagsessay, Experimental, history, Narrative


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Click download now to get access to the following files:

The Trolley (v1.11) — Mac (OSX 10.10+) 203 MB
The Trolley (v1.11) — Windows 250 MB
The Trolley (v1.11) — Linux 203 MB

Development log

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DOES work on Steam Deck

I'm intrigued by the concept, but I'm not sure I can play it as I can't find a way to change the resolution. I have a 16:9 ultra wide monitor and the text runs off the bottom of the screen. If you could implement a fix that would be wonderful. Thanks!

This is a tight, relevant, modern story, and I really dug the stylized visuals. I also found (Mac version, anyway) that the cursor wasn't confined to the game window (I went fullscreen).

How many endings are there? I got distracted and timed out the last choice, and it just went on to the conclusion. I was thinking I might want to replay the last chapter, but I guess it resets itself after you finish.

So, my final question: Where is the (Mac) save game file located?

Thank you for creating this thoughtful game!

First time on my way to work I somehow missed a trigger zone and walked off the far end of the street. Restarting I went exploring a bit and managed to find a gap between the buildings wide enough to fit through.

Second day, had trouble locating the lost and found lockers, as the location was called (nearly) the same thing, but was in a different place, than where the telephone lines were and due to how you approach the workstation, it isn't immediately obvious that its there. I also feel like I missed a narrative bit by wandering around the trolley car as it went up the incline (I got one prompt and just about every where else they came in 3s).

Third day the protagonist notes that the workstation is "just ahead" but its actually outside the building you spawn into (i.e. behind a wall).

Hey Draco! Thanks for all the bug reports, I appreciate your thoroughness! When I get a second to reopen the project files, I'll try to address these. 

The prompts on the incline are based on the choices you choose when you walk home the first day, so it might've been you didn't choose any of the texts options that generated more narrative prompts.

Others have reported the issue about the workstation "just ahead" issue since the character isn't facing that direction, so I understand if that's confusing.

Thanks again for the feedback!

Having walked around the edge of the map, yeah, that might've done it :D

Nice game, love the look of it (especially the distant buildings when riding the incline), and enjoyed the narrative you've written.

Just to let you know, I ran into a few things during my playthrough:

  • When playing in windowed mode, the mouse isn't confined to the game window
  • I got a bit lost trying to find the workboard the first time (I walked past the trolley to the station, didn't look left) - it might be worth making it stand out more or tweak the text directions perhaps.
  • Also, in the third area, when I got off the trolley, I ended up being rotated left 90 degrees? Nothing major, just the text says the workboard is just in front of you when you get off.

But these are all pretty minor :)

Thanks for being depressing. But I really enjoyed the narative in the game.


Lovely game, calm and relaxing (the music very much helped with that), yet thought provoking in a fairly straightforward, simple way.

The look of the game, music and 'story' were fantastic, and I enjoyed every second playing it.


I had a good time playing this game! It was calm but thought-provoking, and it had a good message. The aesthetic was also pretty.


Thanks Matt!


Ah, finally, finished work on the trolley... I'm not emotional, I just got something in my eye... 


Awesome play through! Thanks so much for posting :)