For the week that's in it, and this week has huge gaming digi-vent PAX-X-EGX in it, Gamedec has a free demo for you to try. Which I have, in several times. Gamedec is, y'see, a) a detective game that is b) a text heavy RPG without combat and c) offers multiple routes to solutions. As a Venn diagram of my interests, it's almost a perfect circle (although it does have a futuristic Blade Runner-y cyberpunk setting. I can't have everything).
In Gamedec's world, people spend most of their time inside very advanced video games called virtualiums, in expensive chairs and suits that give you all over haptic feedback and suck all your wee out so you can stay in for days. The ideal! Except obviously, other aspects of life have moved online as well, including crime. That's where you, a gamedec, come in. You're a game detective. You solve cybercrime. And in this case cybercrime. Eyebrows eyebrows.
You start as Trenchcoat Genericman, who's just called Gamedec in this demo, but you continually shape what he's like by your choices and responses. Do you like the view out of your window? Are you jaded about how much time people spend in the virtual world? That kind of thing. But also: how are you going to solve this case?
You can choose from several builds that affect what clues you're able to pick up, and how. I played through a couple of times to test this and it really did make a difference. The Infotainer, for example, is basically an influencer. You know loads about brands and are more charming. But you could also be a Scalpel, who's got more medical knowledge. My favourite was as a Glazier, a cool hacker type who was better at working with machines and computers. Which, you know, seemed a sensible life skill for a gamedec.
In the demo, you're contacted by Geoffrey Haggis (lol) because his son Freddo (Freddo Haggis, lol) has been stuck in a game for four days. He went in with his friend Timmy. Timmy came out. Freddo did not. I recorded one version of the interrogation I conducted with Timmy, who revealed that to celebrate Freddo's birthday they went into, shhhh, a naughty game for over 16s! The pervy little scamps. Personally, I can't imagine thinking "You know what I want to do for my birthday? Do some interactive VR porn with my best mate!" but I guess the cyberpunk future is a different country.
Timmy has an emotional state, and you can choose to be either good cop or bad cop. Being friendly will unlock different secrets to being cold and pushing him to be scared instead of relaxed. It's a cool system, and one that actually requires you to pay attention. You can also see the different options you might have had if you'd chosen a different character build.
My approach in the video above is just one option. You'll also have different things to ask about if you investigate the office a bit first. And, if you don't get enough info out of Timmy, there's a woman that they brought into the game with them who's stuck as well. You might be able to bring her back to reality, or ask her questions in virtual reality.
I really recommend you have a mosey on over to Steam and have a go of the free demo yourself. I'm really intrigued by Gamedec, so I'm excited to play more and, possibly, interview even more nervous teenagers while their mate is in the next room, strapped to a gaming chair and sporting a four day old priapism.
This is part of PAX X EGX, a coming together of your favourite physical gaming events to create a nine day digital event. Starting on Saturday the 12th and running through to Sunday the 20th, PAX Online and EGX Digital are putting on loads of livestreams, panels, let's plays, and a big digital show floor for you to explore. Check out the official PAX X EGX site for more, and follow along with Rock Paper Shotgun's coverage with our dedicated PAX-EGX tag.