Narrowly escaping death, piecing together the clues, and cracking the case. When I was a kid, one of the many things I wanted to be when I grew up was a detective. In playing MidBoss’s newest point-and-click cyberpunk game, I was able to satisfy that dream. Read Only Memories takes the player through a winding and intriguing adventure. With mysteries to solve and leads to follow, my inner child was happy and smiling at last.
Read Only Memories puts you in the year 2064 in the city of Neo-San Francisco, a place that is being consumed by technology at an increasingly fast rate. Things like cybernetic enhancements and genetic modifications to the human body are a part of daily life in Neo-SF. As a result, a controversial debate has broken out; an organization calling themselves the Human Revolution advocate for the termination of hybridization, cybernetics, and the progress of technology in general. They claim that the human species should remain untouched by technology. They stand for peaceful protest, but can they truly be trusted?
The player takes on the role of a journalist who writes reviews. You hate it, but it pays the rent for your crappy apartment. This quiet low-key lifestyle is disrupted, however, when an eager and expressive robot named Turing makes your acquaintance. This little bot happens to be your old friend Hayden’s personal ROM, a Relationship and Organizational Manager, and a prototype that Hayden was working on for the first sapient robot. Turing tells you that Hayden was kidnapped and asks you to help find and rescue him. Promoting yourself from journalist to hardboiled detective, you and your new partner set off in search of your missing friend.
During the quest to find Hayden, you’ll encounter many other individuals throughout the game with varying appearances, ethnicities, genders, and sexualities. You can choose how your character interacts with them and well as other objects on the screen. Depending on what you ask, do, or say to certain people or things will give you answers you need and also more exposition to the story and setting. I really appreciate this concept in a game, being able to choose your own dialogue really makes your character that much more relatable. This is something that I’ve been seeing more of in gaming lately and I love it.
Something else that I highly appreciated in Read Only Memories was that you can name your character anything you’d like and choose your preferred pronoun (they/them, she/her, he/him). Your character is also faceless, making it so that anyone could identify with them.
With an interesting story, a colourful cast of intriguing and loveable characters, and a cool 80’s-90’s video games aesthetic to it, I recommend you give Read Only Memories a shot. After giving this game a playthrough, I certainly hope MidBoss continues to develop more interesting and enjoyable content. You can get Read Only Memories on Steam for Windows, Mac, or Linux, or you can wait until this game becomes available on the PlayStation 4, Vita, or Xbox One. So go on, become your own hero and sleuth out the bad eggs of Neo-SF in your own cyberpunk story.