At the beginning of the 20th century,
streetcars were the dominant form of public transportation in America.

By the late 1950s,
only a few functional systems remained.

This is a story about the final days of the trolley.


The Trolley is an essay game artwork by Nicholas O'Brien based on research conducted over the past several years. Much like an essay film, The Trolley attempts to use the closure of American trolley systems across the country to discuss the current state of infrastructure, public space, and labor.

Within the game you will play as a conductor and an engineer for a fictional Midwestern trolley company at the point of its discontinuation. The company decides to immediately cease operation without telling the local community it has been forced to shutter. The two separate characters take this news in unique ways, reflecting on what the closure of the trolley will mean for their city, for their neighbors, and for themselves.

Across America, trolleys closed for a variety of reasons, though many of them were forced into closure due to the private interests of the Motor Industry lobbying on Capital Hill. Corporate interests and meddling with public infrastructure become heated topics of personal grief for both the conductor and engineer. However, each character deals with these struggles in different ways. For players, finding a common ground in order to understand the impact of the trolley closing on American civic space becomes the primary goal.


Slated for release in early 2016, this site will serve as a development blog for future news and playable demos. More information coming soon and for further details please contact Nicholas O'Brien.

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