Have You Played… Technobabylon?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

I played sci-fi point and click adventure Technobabylon [official site] toward the tail end of last year, having saved it for a rainy day. My memories of it already seem decades old and that’s due to the quality of the world-building. I feel as if I grew up reading short stories about Trance, the Mindjacker and bone-bombs. That’s partly because Technobabylon knows how to borrow elements of cyberpunk and effectively rework them, but, more simply, it’s down to the quality of the writing.

There’s a tendency to talk about good writing relative to the genre or medium. If I say, “this survival horror shooter has good writing”, you’re probably going to add “for a survival horror shooter” at the end of my statement. It’s implied.

None of that is specific to games. Different standards and expectations apply to comics, films, soap operas, pro wrestling shows and whatever else has been scripted for your pleasure. With all of that in mind, when I say that Technobabyon is well-written, I mean it’s a well-written sci-fi adventure game. But the dialogue and world-building are strong enough to fool my brain into thinking of it as a thing half-novel and half-game, and certainly strong enough to convince me to check out whatever Technocrat Games make next.

From this site

16 Comments

  1. kalirion says:

    I really need to get around to, since I just recently purchased it on a 50% off sale. Will be sad if it shows up on a deeper discount or worse in a bundle before I play it…

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    gritz says:

    I tend to favor Wadjet Eye’s in-house stuff by Gilbert himself over their other games*, but Technobabylon is easily the peer of even the best Blackwell games.

    (* Still haven’t played Shardlight yet, though)

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      gritz says:

      My only disappointment was that the swapping memories/personalities/functions of the robots wasn’t fully fleshed out for each possible combination.

  3. Hyena Grin says:

    Technobabylon was easily one of my favorite adventure games. It’s just flawlessly produced, nostalgic without being exploitative, the voice acting is good (maybe not always great), it feels a lot bigger than it is, and it just generally blew me away.

    I seriously hope there’s more in that series coming.

  4. santouryuu says:

    technobablyon was somewhat special to me.i played the free prototype that was made by the dev a few years back,and it was really one of the games that made me love point-n-click(and also made me realise the depth and variety of games).
    i played the game some month back,and while i liked it,it also felt somewhat disappointing.it surely had some good parts,but overall i feel it is somewhat lacking as a whole.
    the world building and comedy were certainly good,but i felt that the story and the characters really left a lot to be desired.frankly,i think it would have been better for the game to have to have more of a satirical sense,rather than trying to be serious and some parts seeming forced drama
    not saying it’s bad,but i guess i just had higher expectations(not to mention my perspective having changed a lot since the time i first played it)

  5. nht says:

    I loved Technobabylon, and my thoughts mostly echo the sentiments already expressed here: interesting writing, good atmosphere, puzzles that never (or rarely) felt either absurd or punishingly difficult, and attractive art.

    I’d also like to note that a lot of the music in the game good enough that I went and bought the soundtrack, which is available on Bandcamp.

  6. Epicedion says:

    The world of Technobabylon was in a way far more interesting than the actual game. Sort of like Dishonored. The ending was an almost absurd series of twists, which I didn’t hate, but in retrospect I’d have a hard time describing it without it sounding silly. The only real complaint I have is that it put you in control of three characters but didn’t really explore two of them.

  7. Vorig says:

    RPS is spying on me. I’ve been playing this for the last month.

  8. NihlusGreen says:

    Game sounds great, I listened to a play through by Marshall Dyer while I was grinding away on Torchlight 2 last week, he has a great commentary voice link to youtube.com

  9. Otterley says:

    “[…]pro wrestling shows and whatever else has been scripted […]”? Don’t let Hulk Hogan gawk at that.

  10. SableKeech says:

    I bought it on a whim and loved it. However, reminded me how much my brain doesn’t work in the way it needs to for the puzzles in these games.

  11. COWCAT says:

    I have yet to play TechnoBabylon but it looks great and I loved the Blackwell series :) Sci-fi works very well for adventure games.

    Any chance RPS might cover my recently-released cynical adventure game “Demetrios”?

  12. Carra says:

    Played it 3 months ago and it’s an excellent adventure game. Well worth playing!

  13. Tinkerbell says:

    I’ve played it through a couple of times to experience the outcomes of different options. It’s really entertaining and quite compulsive. Looking forward to the sequel.

  14. BiggerJ says:

    RPS’s original Technobabylon review says that the ending was buggy and disappointing. Apparently at least some of the bugs/problems were fixed, but I don’t know which or how many. What’s the ending like now?

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      gritz says:

      Didn’t seem buggy when I played it earlier this year. I think I know what part they mean, and it seemed very fiddly at first and could see how it might have been broken before a patch, but worked fine for me.