Ghost In The Machine

Rather unhelpfully my laptop was playing up at the weekend, though luckily it wasn’t anything that needed more than a graphics card driver update. Relatively simply games with only 2D graphics were running in slow motion, which was frustrating. My PC is no gaming powerhouse but it has always been adequate for my needs.

One of the games that I’ve now been able to go back to is ‘Analogue : A Hate Story.’ By no means a new release, it’s one of those games I downloaded in a Steam sale and hadn’t got round to spending much time with. Harking back to old ZX Spectrum/BBC Micro adventure games, the interface is largely text based with some pointing and clicking. Your character is investigating the circumstances surrounding the fate of an abandoned spaceship. You use the restricted interface to gradually piece together the events that led up to the ship being in the state you find it. The only ‘person’ onboard is the ship’s AI (artificial intelligence) who takes the form of a young girl.

I’m about halfway through the game and things have just taken a very interesting twist. When you only have one person to speak to, you take their opinions as fact – after all, there is nothing to compare them with that could contradict their statements. As I have been digging through the archives and logs on this ghost ship, I’ve now found a second witness to what took place and what happened to the passengers.

This new character has a very different take on the people and events described in the letters and documents I’ve been reading up until now. Having this second opinion has made me question and challenge what I had previously assumed to be true. Soon I will have to make a decision as to who I will side with.

Overal, the game may be low on action but it slowly drip-feeds you a fascinating story. The limitations of the user interface really helps with the pacing here. In addition, the ambient electronic soundtrack also gives it a great atmosphere, as you float through space onboard an empty ship. There are shades of ‘2001 A Space Odyssey’ in this game and I might have just spent the last few hours talking to HAL’s daughter.

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