2064: Read Only Memories
Platforms: Xbox One, PC, PS4
This review was completed for the Xbox One
Review by Stephanie Gerk
Let me start off by saying that I have not played many point and click games. It’s not that I have never wanted to, it’s just that that the opportunity slipped by me as a child. When my family eventually got a working computer in the late 90s, we never really used it for games (except the ones that came with Windows). Besides, we already had the various Nintendo consoles and even the Atari to keep us occupied for our video game needs. Trying to figure out CDs and installations on the one barely functioning family computer was just too much compared to the easy access of a video game console. By the time we got a computer that could run games, I had already moved on to my obsession with first-person shooters and action heavy games. It wasn’t till years later I finally got the patience enough to gravitate towards more story focused games. This past year especially I have moved away from the big-name titles and have started to expand my horizons to indie games.
That is where 2064 Read Only Memories comes in.
I’ll be honest: this game was was not an easy introduction to point and click. I wanted to try the console version (Xbox One) of 2064 as my laptop is barely functioning (see a pattern here?) and I prefer a controller to a mouse and keyboard. As you can imagine I initially struggled using my Xbox controller stick to slowly move my cursor over the screen. It took me far too long to realize I could use the D-pad to access on screen items much smoother and quicker thanks to a lack of game instructions; this is a nice reminiscent feature of the time when video games gave you neither a tutorial nor game control instructions. Clearly, I have gotten spoiled over the years with all the hand holding. But once I had adjusted to the controls of a point and click game I was immediately sucked into the world of 2064, succeeding where so many next generation games have not.
There’s a reason why games like 2064 capture your attention. It’s not just the nostalgic point and click gameplay or the quaint pixelated graphics. It is the story and characters. In a game that does not rely on jump scares or shoot-outs the developers chose to focus on the most basic feature of gameplay: interaction. From your interaction with items (make sure to pet the plants) to characters, I was constantly enamored by the world. Turing, your sidekick ROM for this adventure, was one of those more memorable characters. Straight up adorable, seeing Turing slowly evolve and learn as you interact with them over the course of the game is what kept me glued to my seat. He wasn’t alone but the true highlights of 2064 are the player interactions with Turing.
The point and click gameplay of 2064 made it feel more so like one of those choose your own adventure story books, interjected with various but simple mini-games. That is not meant to be a critique but one of the game’s strengths. I could see that my dialogue choices were starting to affect how Turing reacted to things as it started to “learn” about who I was. In my true gaming style I went for the nice and polite Canadian approach when possible to avoid being seen as the rude protagonist. With all the various action/adventure games available on the consoles it was refreshing to play a story focused game filled with talented voice acting and an engaging mystery. As players, it is important to remember that games don’t always need to be about the next big fight sequence or massive seemingly-endless maps. This is a lesson I am ever so slowly learning as I get outside my gaming comfort zone and try genres I may have never otherwise attempted. Sometimes you can find that next gem of a video game in a simple pixel story.
Play It! Though I did struggle using console controls, especially during the mini-games (hint use the D-Pad as much as possible), the various fascinating characters and intriguing world of Neo San Francisco did a far better job of creating a believable world than various other game I’ve played over the past few years. If you’re looking for a good story, get some snacks and prepare for some laughs as you navigate the streets in the year 2064.
Now if you’ll excuse me I’m off to see if I can make Turing go evil in my next playthrough.
Check out our full review of 2064