Buddy Simulator 1984

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a game by Not a Sailor Studios
Platform: PC
Editor Rating: 8/10, based on 1 review
User Rating: 8.0/10 - 3 votes
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See also: Horror Games, Best Indie Games, Retro Games
Buddy Simulator 1984
Buddy Simulator 1984
Buddy Simulator 1984
Buddy Simulator 1984

For any of you that were knocking around in the titular year of 1984, computers were pretty different. Those who dared contest with the AI of yesteryear were greeted with ASCII screens, monochrome screens full of code and due to programming being in its infancy, even the best of programmers could only make a computer do the simplest of tasks. It was a simpler time where less meant a whole lot more. Believe it or not, there was a time when the original Doom was groundbreaking. Well, Buddy Simulator 1984 aims to take this theme and run with it, offering a spooky and unsettling dialogue with your new AI buddy.

This game plays rather like point and click titles such as Day Of The Tentacle or Grim Fandango. However, as the game progresses, the game soon takes on a format that is more in line with games such as Mother or Undertale. It’s one of those titles that come along once in a Blue Moon and aim to reinvent a genre. So we aim to find out how much success this AI-based indie adventure had in doing so. Here is our review of Buddy Simulator 1984.

Beep Boop, Beep Boop

Gets begin with the gameplay for this title. In the beginning, you are essentially communicating via text with an AI companion. Not exactly the most riveting stuff but it allows for exposition and gets the ball rolling for the proceeding events. For there, the game gradually grows in scale and scope, much like the game industry in the late eighties. First, you’ll be challenged to a humble game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. Then you’ll begin exploring a text-based adventure world before finally, the game settles into a format similar to top-down RPG’s like EarthBound or Pokemon.

This approach is a truly inspired one that is quirky and fresh but most importantly, it allows the gameplay to constantly evolve. The player is never allowed to become comfortable in their surroundings and the change in gameplay format only enhances the overall experience.

ASCII Aesthetic

In terms of the overall art style of this game, it basically adopts the same 8-bit aesthetic that Undertale did years ago. Although, it must be said, the colour palette is basically non-existent here. That is to the game’s benefit though. The unsettling narrative is only helped along with the dark and brooding environments the player explores throughout. So in terms of presentation, less is more seems to pay off in this instance.

Then as for the narrative itself, the game does a great job of always hinting at danger without ever following through on that threat. There is always an overarching theme that the AI will somehow take over, somehow manage to ensnare you in its web of code. However, for the most part, the player is left in a state of constant uneasiness. Which is a testament to the games writers and designers considering the visual limitations that the concept brings.

The Verdict

This game scores highly due to the concept alone. The fact that this game almost acts as a time capsule where we can look at the game genres that time forgot is excellent. Then when you take into account that the game is also wonderful in terms of design, narrative and audio quality, you soon begin to realise that this game is more than just a throwaway indie that sounds good on paper.

8

We will concede, it won’t appeal to anyone. You need to have an appreciation for the genres of old to really appreciate the game for all it is. However, if you can really connect with the material on offer, then this game has a lot to offer.

Pros:

  • Compelling narrative
  • Spooky and atmospheric
  • A love letter to gaming’s forgotten genres

Cons:

  • Requires an admiration for the old ways of gaming

Download Buddy Simulator 1984

PC

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Snapshots and Media

PC Screenshots

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