Some games are technological achievements: Crysis is the one that comes to mind, as a technological marvel and benchmark of the past decade. Other games are gameplay groundbreakers: the original Legend of Zelda shocked everyone with its open world. Yet others convey a story so unique, so needed, that in the end it cannot help but connect in a very direct, very personal way to those who are reached by it. That’s the case of 2064: Read Only Memories.
Sadly, not everything is great. 2064 was announced by MidBoss a few years ago for the PlayStation Vita, but it got delayed, pushed and then forgotten. A few months ago, MidBoss told Vita fans that, regretfully, they couldn’t get the game to run on the handheld. I was personally very saddened by this, not only because I was looking forward to playing it (which I really was), but also because I knew the relevance of a game like this.
Then, all of a sudden, the game almost stealth-dropped right before Christmas. I was shocked! I got in touch with MidBoss, who kindly provided us with a code for review. We have an exclusive interview with them to talk about what it took to bring the game to Vita, and what state the industry is currently in in terms of diversity, equality and representation.
In the meantime, let’s talk about the game, as there’s much, much to love here.
The art direction will be divisive for some, but I love the retro graphics. I always have, and I don’t consider them to be an “easy way out”. Good retro graphics are just as hard to make as good anything else. The environments look rich, the characters unique. Even the typefaces chosen are on point: easy to read, 8-bit inspired but with a modern take.
What won’t be divisive at all is the top-notch voice-acting. Melissa Hutchison, who voiced the lovable Clementine in The Walking Dead series by Telltale, is in charge of voicing Turing, the little robot who accompanies you throughout the story and serves as a guide in the world. All other actors involved are equally as good, though, and the very fact that the game is voice-acted makes the whole experience that much more enjoyable. It helps to “connect” with the characters.
The music is no slouch, either, with some killer tracks here and there that tie everything together quite nicely. Overall, if you are not put off by retro-inspired aesthetics, 2064 is a gorgeous game from whichever angle you look at it.
However, 2064 is a game driven by plot. It’s almost a visual novel, but not quite. I say this because the element of interactivity present in the game is outstanding. It’s not really a point-and-click adventure, as the vantage point is not that which is associated with that genre. But that’s the closest approximation.
Through interaction with your surroundings, and puzzle-solving, you (a freelance writer waiting for their big break) will help Turing in finding her kidnapped creator, Hayden. Turing, as mentioned before, is a state-of-the-art ROM (Relationship and Organizational Manager) made by Hayden while he worked at Parallax, a leading company in the tech field. In the adventure, you’ll encounter many characters who’ll, in the end, help you figure out the whereabouts of poor Hayden.
The game puts heavy emphases in certain themes, more specifically equal rights, individuality, diversity and rights in general. This is the main reason I wanted to play the game, and it did not disappoint. There are analogies aplenty to be found here, representing different eras in the struggle for equality and human rights, including, but not limited to, people from racial minorities, those who identify themselves as different from the norm, the LGBTQ community, and more.
This is what touched me the most about the game, and why I think the game is extremely important. Yes, the presentation is fantastic, and yes, the story is memorable. But we need games like this to remind people of the uniqueness of each human individual. We need to use video games as an artform to question and analyze society and the societal norms that dictate our every day lives.
Not every game needs to do this, of course. There’s just as much merit in Call of Duty as there is in 2064. But there have been many Call of Duty games released. I am glad that there’s at least one 2064 out, too.
I could go on and on about this game, but I won’t. If you want to experience 2064: Read Only Memories, it’s currently on sale for 40% off, for both PS4 and Vita (it’s a cross-buy title). Do yourself a favor: try it out.
At a glance:
- Title: 2064: Read Only Memories
- Publisher: Midboss
- Format: PSN Download
- Memory Card Space Required: 827Mb
- Cross Buy: Yes
- Cross Save: TBC
- PlayStation TV Compatible: TBC