The Kickstarter-funded adventure game Read Only Memories released yesterday and is getting attention as both a quality adventure game with excellent writing, and as a game that is helping usher diverse characters and themes onto the average player’s radar.
The thing about Read Only Memories is that it’s not a gay game, it’s a game that happens to have gay characters. You know, kind of like real life. Games featuring gay themes is not a brand new concept, but as is often the case when a norm-breaking idea is first introduced, many of these games have dwelled on their gayness and made it the focus of the experience, at least when being promoted. There’s nothing wrong with that (classic, I know), but it’s a sign of true integration when a game like ROM comes along and I can play 45 minutes into the game with only an inkling of anything LGBT-slanted even appearing. It’s there, but no one is waiving their arms in front of it. And though it’s true that I just spent the last paragraph explaining the nuances of such idea-integration, that’s because we’re not all the way there yet. Give it another 10 years and you’re going to see homo characters kicking ass through AAA titles and no one will be batting an eye. This is a stepping stone.
Getting back to the core of the game, ROM is an adventure game of the “talk/look/use” variety. You take on a static first-person viewpoint and must examine the objects around you for clues as to how to proceed. The game takes place in the near-future of 2065, a time when robots and humans live together in society. But the automatons have not been brought to the level of human self-determination yet. Or so everyone thinks.
Now check out our playthrough of the first bit of Read Only Memories here: