Based in Sydney, Australia

Release date:
6 Jul, 2016

PC, Mac, Linux
Game Jam Version


Regular Price:



Browse social media at the speed of light. Watch your friends grow old in the blink of an eye. Realise there's nothing you can do about it. Tell your friends you love them one last time. You never know what the last thing you say to someone will be. On a transport ship leaving earth, a passenger kills time by scrolling through the messages of their social media feed. As the ship leaves and moves further and further away from home, the delay between sending messages and their arrival lengthens. What feels like minutes on the ship is hours, days, weeks, even years back on Earth. Each refresh of the timeline is a tiny window into the past. What will you do in those precious few moments as the lives of everyone you know pass by? A critically acclaimed work of interactive fiction, Killing Time at Lightspeed allows players to experience life aboard a spaceship hurtling through lightspeed. Just how much can you affect other people's lives with your fleeting interactions through social media? And will it be for the better?


Created for the 2014 Antholojam. A text-based game structured like a social media timeline, where the story plays out faster than you can act. An attempt at exploring the connections we all have to people online who we may be powerless to help except with our words. In Late 2015, Gritfish collaborated with Matt Hamm and Marigold Bartlett to bring an enhanced edition of Killing Time at Lightspeed to Steam with a fully realised story, soundtrack and art.


  • Browse social media at the speed of light.
  • Watch your friends grow old and die in the blink of an eye.
  • Realise there's nothing you can do about it
  • Tell your friends you love them one last time.


Enhanced Edition Release Trailer YouTube

Enhanced Edition Announcement Trailer YouTube


download all screenshots & photos as .zip (1012KB)


Awards & Recognition

  • "Nominee - IndieCade Festival 2016" Killing Time at Lightspeed: Enhanced Edition
  • "Selection - IndieCade Europe Festival 2016" Killing Time at Lightspeed: Enhanced Edition
  • ""Across the Ditch" nominee (Best Game from Australia) - Play By Play Awards 2015" Killing Time at Lightspeed
  • "Arcade Selection - Different Games Festival 2015" Killing Time at Lightspeed

Selected Articles

  • "It simultaneously tackles the extremely personal and the tremendously impersonal nature of online communication: you can see the full range of emotions your friends experience, but you can’t attend their weddings, meet their children, offer them anything but words on a screen."
    - James O'Connor, ZAM
  • "It’s clever for all sorts of reasons, but the most smart aspect is its recognition of your passivity in the role of a visual novel player, and making that the most crucial part of the story is telling."
    - John Walker, RockPaperShotgun
  • "...a fascinating commentary on the pervasiveness of social media and technology in our everyday lives, smartly told through a simulated social media interface that pulls you into a unique text adventure experience."
    - Matt Litten, VGBlogger
  • "I felt a sense of growing despair each time I hit the “refresh” button... Killing Time at Lightspeed is, more than anything else, a timely game about technology and the role of social media not just in the future that developer Gritfish has created but in our present reality as well. "
    - Javy Gwaltney, Paste Magazine
  • "Discomfort with social change transforms into empathy and a new, more inclusive definition of normal...It's a fascinating look at how culture can evolve around contentious issues"
    - Laura Hudson, Boing Boing
  • "I told a lot of folks about the game and they all were like woah"
    - Zoe Quinn, The Tingler

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Further explanation
Social media connects all of us, and is tremendously important to the indie games scene. Dealing with events (both wonderful and traumatic) unfolding in real time with no agency is something that most of us haven't really developed the skills for. Engaging with that experience in a fictional setting gives us permission to examine how we deal with it in our day to day lives. .

About Gritfish

Gritfish is game designer and programmer John Kane, and a changing roster of musicians and artists along for the ride.

More information
More information on Gritfish, our logo & relevant media are available here.

Killing Time at Lightspeed Credits

John Kane
Design, Code

Matt Hamm

Marigold Bartlett

presskit() by Rami Ismail (Vlambeer) - also thanks to these fine folks