Read Only Memories is a cyberpunk adventure in which you’re bidden to talk-look-use your way through Neo San Francisco in search of a kidnapped friend by a robot who may be sentient or may only be self-improving. As someone who may be neither, I can tell you that the Kickstarted game now has a demo, a new trailer and a release date, and all are worth venturing below to learn more about.
I had a play and the demo begins with you in your apartment and needing to write a review of a pair of headphones. The game won’t let you file copy before testing the headphones thoroughly. In the game, that means using the sci-fi tech to ‘listen’ to inanimate objects. From experience, I can tell you that in real life it would mainly involve listening to LCD Soundsystem on repeat and going, “Shit, it sounds fine, how do I make this hit the word count?”.
What follows is a point-and-click adventure in the ’80s-sense, with lots of conversation trees, environmental descriptions, and a static artstyle that’s like something you’d have played on a TurboGrafx-16. That last part is probably because the game is inspired by Hideo Kojima’s Snatcher, both in its pixellated character designs and in its cyberpunk setting. I found the setting and narrative set-up compelling enough that I’m bound to continue playing.
I’ve also spent the last ten minutes writing this post while listening to the in-game music through my current headphones, and each piece I’ve heard during the demo has been great.
Here’s the description from the game’s site:
Read Only Memories is a new cyberpunk adventure that takes place in Neo-SF, 2064. Based on 90’s point & click adventure games like Gabriel Knight and Snatcher, Read Only Memories is all about exploration and puzzle solving. The deeper you dive into the mystery of your missing friend and this new unknown ROM, the further you get entangled into the deepest scandal to ever hit Neo San Francisco. In a city packed with danger, and filled with Hybrids, Humans, ROMs and Brain Controlled Androids, the question is: Can you survive in Neo-SF?
It can hardly be worse than trying to survive current-SF. ROM is due for release in March 2015 and you can download the demo for Windows, Mac and Linux.