Command Shrine: Memory Of A Broken Dimension

By Adam Smith on April 29th, 2013 at 8:00 pm.

We’ve peered at the glitchy, distorted Memory of a Broken Dimension before but an insightful post over at Eurogamer alerts me that a new playable version is now available, featuring the first-person sections that follow the nightmarish command line opening. It does tickle the memories – of DOS and directories – and there is something dark and dangerous lurking between the static bursts and confused mechanics of its shattered world. You can play online or download, for either Mac or Windows, and I suggest that you do so as soon as all of the light has withdrawn from your corner of the world. I haven’t played a game that so effectively uses my screen, mouse and keyboard as the functional part of its fictional user interface since Uplink.

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32 Comments »

  1. Muzman says:

    I got past the command line, but I couldn’t get anywhere after that. Clearly I have to make that “ramp” solid somehow. The trailer videos show what looks like drawing a selection window on the screen. Couldn’t work how to do that. Left click sent a pulse that lights everything up briefly, but that was it. Clearly I’ve missed something.

    • internisus says:

      I’m just going to simply tell you because there doesn’t seem to be any hint to what you need to do. I figured it out by actually skimming the Eurogamer article for help. You need to find the right spot to stand in facing the suspended fragments such that they form a whole; you’ll hear a sound that lets you know you’ve found it, and then you need to send out your pulse from that place.

      • Muzman says:

        Somehow I managed it. I kept walking around doing what thought was ‘collecting’ those angles you see (and I noticed your HUD, such that it is, sort of targets them) At one point I did find a new rock that would appear when I pulsed it. This did seem to be the focus of the sound.
        The ramp itself was trickier and I’m still not sure exactly how it worked. It would show me it occasionally after running between those two angles, but it took a while to pulse at the right time to form it. If all that had something to so with where I stood it really wasn’t obvious.
        Then I was blundering around in darkness for a while in OXI (I think it said). Managed to do…something there and it became OXDSE, which seemed to be one big space with an enourmous cloud in it that I gradually became aware of.
        Your ‘score’ dropping to nothing seems to indicate success or something. I kinda got stuck there and I had to do other things.

        I don’t mind that it’s barely comprehensible though, for the record.

        • ckpk says:

          If you’re still finding it tricky, there are icons dotted around the mpa that show you where to stand and aim. They look like a small square on a ploe, with a line coming out pointing where you need to look. Find these, face the right direction and click and thats the basics of it.

        • internisus says:

          I have to admit that I was playing neither in the dark nor in fullscreen. I later watched a video about the game demo in which the player (and I) had no difficulty seeing the “nodes” pinpointing where you need to stand. That would have been enough for me.

          The last thing I would want to do is to unfairly criticize the game and call for more handholding, as the self-guided discovery character is one of its best qualities!

  2. Ross Angus says:

    I keep getting this game mixed up with C├ęsure.

  3. internisus says:

    I really, really like this. Every aspect of its aesthetics appeals to me, and I love the unexplained command line introduction to the game because of the sense of discovery as you load up the programs and see the resulting text. It’s somehow very effective at creating an impression that you are really probing some unknowable space using external devices linked to this interface. The sound design is outstanding, and the glitch effects are properly unnerving.

    But it has problems. While I love the lack of handholding for the command line portion, it needs to be more careful. After a bunch of output is produced, the first command line always inserts a | mark. The very first thing I did in the game was to type DIR, but it didn’t work because my command was |DIR; only I didn’t realize it, which created an unfortunate bout of frustration for me until I tried that command again. More importantly, the game needs to find some way to clue the player into the need to line up the suspended fragments once inside a dive. I don’t think I would ever have guessed this without reading the Eurogamer article.

    I hope to see this become a full game. My biggest wish for it is that it forces the player to exit the dive to go back to the text interface intermittently with progress and make changes to the remote configuration through increasingly complex commands as if to recalibrate for deeper and deeper probes.

    The demo resets when you get the BSOD, right?

    • DXN says:

      Yes. More interacting with the system through intermittent DOS hackery would be fantastic.

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    Cardinal says:

    Anyone else getting graphics aligned starting too far left (off screen)?
    I’m assuming you’re supposed to be able to see a cursor to type at.

    • Ross Angus says:

      Have you tried running the game windowed?

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        Cardinal says:

        Yeah, windowed/unwindowed, multiple resolutions…
        Not tried the “online” version mind…

        • Ross Angus says:

          Sorry it’s not working. Unfortunately, I don’t think this is one of the aesthetic glitches.

          • Jekhar says:

            I have an old 4:3 monitor and had the same problem. It seems the game needs a widescreen resolution to display correctly. After i chose 1280×720 i got the whole text on screen.

  5. DarkeSword says:

    Am I missing something here? I was expecting this to be a fun bit of pseudo-hackery with a bit of “something-very-wrong” going on, but it turned out to be a crappy first person platformer. :\

    • baby snot says:

      I feel like I’m missing something also. Though I didn’t mind the platforming. Is there more to the command line stuff then there appears to be? And the BSOD… It’s not clear if that’s the end or not.

      • staberas says:

        It isnt , it the “game over” screen?
        because on my first run i got like in an instant and i didnt even moved

  6. DXN says:

    Utterly in love with it. It captured part of my brain and put it on the screen. I want to see where it goes. I’d love to explore more of that filesystem, too.

  7. The First Door says:

    So… I’m vaguely terrified by this game. Everything from the text which changes and corrupts when I’m not looking at it to the sound effects put me completely on edge. Like DXN said, though, I utterly love it.

  8. ckpk says:

    It’s great to see so much love for so unusual styles. Such a cool game/design. I absolutely loved slowly figuring out how it worked, how you travelled between different areas.The fact he can make it so bastract and yet still be comrphensible is impressive.

    Having said that, I guess if you stripped away all the crazy amazing graphics/shader stuff, the underlying game isn’t that complicated. I really hope he goes further with making the way you travel around mind bending. Level design equivalent of Escher designs?

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    LTK says:

    Wow, that was awesome. I am ecstatic.

  10. King in Winter says:

    Interesting, but once you get the hang of it seems rather short. If you manage to solidify the platforms and make through the field, the “system” running the show gives you a “blue screen error” and drops you back to command line, from where… you can restart the map again.

  11. Wedge says:

    I got as far as looking at the directory. I haven’t used DOS since I was 8 =<.

    • trout says:

      (potential dos command spoilers follow! avoid your gaze if this is not for you!)

      might i suggest you try the following commands –
      1. dir (not essential, but still neat)
      2. remote
      3. voidscan
      4. dive

      :D

      • staberas says:

        damn u dev i was like testing linux cmd ls -l ,sudo , su ect
        xD
        Also try the “GO” , it says RED ? Wth is that ?

  12. kenji213 says:

    bit of a pain in the ass. also hard on the eyes.

    cool idea though, loved the aesthetic.
    wish more games were this strange

  13. TailSwallower says:

    I love the textual glitch and the audio design, but the 3D section gives me an instant headache. Not sure why – it’s normally FOV-related, and that’s normally due to poor console porting.

    • soldant says:

      Might be due to the harsh flashing effects, I don’t normally get headaches from games at all but this just sort of made me feel a bit unwell.

      I was enjoying it right up until the platformer part, which seems to use the default Character Controller from Unity. This is bad because the default character controller is terrible.

  14. thebigJ_A says:

    I don’t get it. You press buttons to make platforms appear and then walk on them, except it’s rather shitty out and hurts your eyes.

    What’s special about this?

    • DXN says:

      What’s special about this is that it lets you explore a space that is broken and alien. And the way it lets you get glimpses of the shape of some terrifyingly unknowable systemic purpose. And the way it throws a new, strange reality at you without mediating it through gamified nonsense. It’s an experience.

  15. Cpt.Average says:

    The command line portion stumped me though I did get some things you guys listed. Some stuff was creepy as hell though (especially in fullscreen), like when I got bored and hit escape. And then typed exit.

  16. soldant says:

    Command line fun? Awesome.
    Platforming? Bad.

    Showed promise, and disappointed me. Don’t get the appeal here at all, a lot of it is just poor platform physics with a horrible shader effect that drops the frame rate. That command line part was awesome though, shame that the rest of the game isn’t just a command line!