I came here to write an angry rant about how retarded the article is and how Passage is absolutely the worst kind of attempt at "art" and the worst kind of "game" (in that it's not a game at all - it's a "toy" or an "experience" ; at the Indie Game Jam we always tried to have a rule that we didn't just make "toys" or "experiences" because they're easy and uninteresting).
But then I realized that actually the article and Passage are both actually brilliant on a meta level. The article is by someone who totally doesn't understand games or art, but is trying to seem intelligent and writes a lot of pretentious nonsense. Rohrer is either an idiot or is intentionally spouting bullshit to make Passage and games seem more significant than they really are. The article is aimed at out-of-touch old people who will nod and go "hmm interesting" and then share what they read at some cocktail party and everyone will pretend to agree in order to seem smart. That's art! It's exactly like the traditional art world ! How brilliant, by being retards they have shown that games are art.
(I realized this while walking around the SAM looking at the Calder mobiles and being amazed by how "artists" can create this amazing mass delusion to make critics talk about all the powerful themes in their work that don't really exist).
This article was part of yet another weekly new low for the NYTM. This week the main articles are on Megan Fox and Octomom. It's literally a tabloid now, but even worse than a tabloid because the gossip and tawdry condescenion is cloaked in a language of detached observation and pretentiousness. It's like "oh we're way too smart to actually care about Megan Fox and Octomom so we will write about the phenomenon of other people being interested in them".
Of course that's all people really want. People don't want to actually be intellectually challenged. They just want confirmation of their existing beliefs. They want opinion without facts. They want sex and gossip and soap operas. If they're sophisticated, they like to get their trash cloaked in a veil of higher culture (see, eg. Mad Men, 2666, etc.).
.. also Passage does indeed invoke powerful emotions. It doesn't make you think about mortality or futility unless you're a fucking moron. But it does make you feel frustration, disgust, disbelief, anger, and finally sadness that you wasted your time on this pile of turd and that our cultural critics fall for this nonsense so easily.