Memoranda: the game inspired by the writing of Haruki Murakami

We'd like to see more magical realism in our videogames

Magical realism is a genre that portrays magical or unreal elements as a natural part of an otherwise realistic or mundane environment; it’s a quiet acceptance of absolute absurdity (something you probably feel you do quite often). It takes the world we live in and reveals the fantastical as normal, often giving these fantastical elements contemporary social significance. It’s a style of writing that, honestly, would lend itself incredibly well to videogames as an opportunity for a real expressive refresher in terms of setting and stories, pulling us away from high fantasy, sci-fi, and shoot-em-ups to something different. Of course games like this absolutely exist, Papo & Yo, and Kentucky Route Zero being two great examples, but we’d love to see more.

Lucky for us, then, that Memoranda has launched on Kickstarter. Memoranda is a point-and-click adventure inspired by the writings of Haruki Murakami, whose vaguely surrealistic realities it would be a pleasure to see on a more visual platform. In Memoranda, the setting and time period are unclear, featuring laptops and bamboo clocks, European architecture in a not entirely European setting, and anthropomorphised animals. One thing that is clear is that this is a story that revolves around loss.

Each character in the game, including the protagonist, has lost something, and it’s up to you to help them find it. The things they’ve lost aren’t limited to everyday objects, though, it could be anything from a film reel box, to sanity, to animal instinct. The protagonist herself is looking for her name. We can lose everything from physical objects to abstract concepts, and losing either is treated as normal and, most importantly, recoverable, in this world. It’s a really interesting idea that will no doubt provide even more interesting puzzles to solve and characters to meet.

image via kickstarter

One thing’s for sure, the artwork is wonderful. It’s incredibly gorgeous 2D animation that perfectly captures the kind of story it’s trying to tell.

Developers Bit Byterz have launched the game’s Kickstarter and they’re looking to raise $18000 Canadian, which is around £9000. This isn’t a huge ask, so we hope they reach their goal. So far, they’ve raised $5480, or around £2750, with 33 days to go. The game will be launched on PC, Mac, and Linux but developers hope that if they reach their stretch goal of $22000 they’ll be able to develop an iOS version of the game. If they reach their original goal, Bit Byterz say they should have the game on Steam within two to three months as the game is mostly complete, having been in the works for 3 years. If you’re interested in backing the game yourself, donating around £8 will get you a copy at launch.

Main Image via Kickstarter