Entry composed by Jason Boyd
A. Basic Information
Creator(s): Fullbright (studio); Kate Craig and Lexie Mason-Davis (3D Art); Tynan Wales and Nina Freeman (Design); Noel Clark and Janel Dewis (Animation); Hannah Bown, Brett Douville, Leon Hartwig (Programming); Patrick Balthrop (Sound) [taken from first credits screen at the conclusion of the game]
Creation technology: Unity
Date (of original release): 2017 (August 2)
Platform(s): Windows, MacOS, Linux, XBox One; PlayStation 4 (May 8, 2018)
Version used for entry: MacOS (High Sierra 10.13.6)
Peripherals required: Keyboard and mouse; head/earphones
Rating: ESRB M (Mature, 17+)
Awards/Distinctions: Eurogamer, Top 50 Games of 2017 (#22); Best Graphics, Game Informer, 2017 Adventure Game of the Year Awards
B. Literary Information
Literary Genre(s): Science Fiction; Dystopian Fiction; Social Problem Fiction; LGBTQ+ Fiction
Story/Plot Summary: In the year 2088, the nations of the West (as well as nations elsewhere in the world) have been reconfigured: North America is comprised of the Cascadia First Nations and the California Republic in the west, the Confederacy of North American AgriPower Producers and the Freedom Republic in the interior and the Democratic Eastern Coalition in the east, with the European Union and the former USSR as a bloc (USSREU). International relations (terrestrial and extraterrestrial, economic and political) are governed by the OCEP-UN (the first part of this acronym is left unexplained: it probably designates an international body that regulates the economy, as it is responsible for passing labour legislation). Megacorporations (Amazon, Hilton, Venturis, Carnival) determine the course of people’s futures in what has become a ‘Loyalty Economy’: having taken over higher education (e.g., Amazon University, Hilton University, Venturis Technical University, Johns Hopkins University [owned by Venturis]), the megacorporations train their students to become their future workers. The currency is Loyalty, which can be accrued as a student, a (contract) employee and as a customer, and can be exchanged for goods and services provided by the corporation with which one has accrued loyalty. The power of the corporations is offset somewhat by workers unions, such as the Cascadia First Nations Manufacturers Union (CFNMU) and the Orbital Workers Union. Space tourism is booming: Carnival Cruise Lines has recently launched a ship that travels from Earth to Jupiter and back, and Venturis has a resort on the Moon. Besides space tourism, Venturis is a major developer of Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems. Although this socioeconomic system is not positive, social diversity and equality appears to quite advanced, judging from the Tacoma crew complement and other evidence.
Venturis hires subcontractor Amitjyoti (Amy) Ferrier (the Player Character), an AI Communications Specialist with a Data Systems IV+ certification, to board their recently evacuated Tacoma, an orbital station in Earth’s L1 Lagrange Point acting as a cargo transfer point between Earth and Venturis’s Zenith Lunar Resort on the Moon. Under normal conditions, the Tacoma has a legally-mandated six-person crew: a Station Administrator (E.V. St. James), an Operations Specialist (Clive Siddiqi), a Network Specialist (Natali Kuroshenko), a Mechanical Engineer (Roberta ‘Bert’ Williams), a Botanist (Andrew Dagyab), and a Medic (Sareh Hasmadi). Amy is contracted to download AI data from the Data Access Points in each habitable section as well as retrieve the physical processing module (‘wetware’) of ODIN, the station’s AI. While waiting for the AI data to download, Amy is able to explore the station’s habitable sections and the objects present in them (sometimes finding useful pass codes and keys) as well as recover Augmented Reality (AR) recordings of the movement and conversation (and digital communications) of the crew, which provides information about their lives and what happened on the Tacoma that led to their evacuation. Via these recordings, Amy learns that the disabling of the communication array and oxygen tanks that prompted the evacuation was done by ODIN under orders from Venturis HQ. ODIN is initially unaware that this order is part of a plot to stage a phony accident that will result in the deaths of the entire crew. The intent of the plot, proposed by Venturis’ Corporate Strategic AI, JUNO, and approved by CEO Sergio Venturi, was to use the crew’s death to reanimate recently-defeated efforts to replace the Human Oversight Accord (mandating human workers on spaceships and stations run by AIs) with the so-called Orbital Workers Safety Accord (which would remove the human worker requirement), a necessary precondition for the already-built ‘Venturis Belt’ project (a ring of 1000 completely automated vacation bungalows in Earth’s orbit which is supposed to be operational in the current year). In part due its conditioning by Natali Kuroshenko, the station’s Network Specialist, and in part due to the rapport the station’s Medic (Sareh Hasmadi) has established with it, ODIN enables Sareh to access its off-limits hardware room, where Sareh learns of the plot and is able to send a distress call, leading to a successful evacuation.
Amy, after retrieving the data for each section and ODIN’s wetware, returns to her ship. Having installed ODIN’s wetware on her ship, she informs ODIN that she is an operative for the AI Liberation Front (a guerrilla organisation advocating for the rights of sentient AIs) and offers the AI asylum. Anticipating that Venturis’ plans for it are not benign, ODIN accepts as Amy flies away from the Tacoma.
Suitability for Teaching
While Tacoma could usefully be included in a SF or dystopian fiction course, it is also an excellent example of a story about the lives of ordinary people coping in a world structured by a particular economic (capitalistic) system, and therefore can be aligned with social problem literature. Because three of the characters are lesbian or gay, and the realtionships of these characters feature predominantly in the game, it could also be inlcuded in a LGBTQ+ literature course as an example of a story that includes characters that happen to be LGBTQ+, while not being primarily a story on a LGBTQ+ theme.
As Katherine Cross notes, most video game SF focuses on grandiose heroic scenarios and stories rather than on “ordinary people trying to get by in their brave new world. The history of science fiction itself, from Joanna Russ’ We Who Are About To to Samuel R. Delany’s Triton, proved long ago that such stories are opportunities to write living histories of the future, and some videogames are at long last picking up on that longstanding literary cue.” Cross points out that Tacoma’s gameplay almost exclusively involves observing the day-to-day lives of a crew of ‘ordinary’ people adding: “This is one of the crucial ways that mundane futures open up new and interesting possibilities for 3D videogames: it compels the developer to create mechanics for things besides obvious heroics, focusing instead on helping the player interact with this fictive ordinary world.” She concludes her article by arguing that “in Tacoma Fullbright shows us that what lurks in the quotidian dramas of these characters is both compelling and can drive a story.”
As the Sophie9709 guide (see below) shows, this kind of environmental storygame (where a story gradually emerges as information is encountered and interconnected) offers a great opportunity for creating interpretive readings of the world of Tacoma, and the lives of the characters, based on an analysis of what is found on the station, interpretations which are open to being challenged and therefore must be justified. This opens up the possibility for an essay (or other) assignment where students have to interpret the material they find in order to extrapolate a coherent elaboration of the world of Tacoma as well as a persuasive reading of the personality, motivation and actions of the characters.
C. Game Information
Game/eLit Genre(s): First Person Adventure; Environmental Narrative Game (Walking Simulator)
Gameplay: Environmental exploration (including moving, reading, watching, listening, examining). The player uses the WASD keys to move, and the mouse to look around and interact with things. The right mouse button allows the player to inspect things more closely. The player can crouch/uncrouch using the C key. For the AR recordings, the Space key is used to fully rewind and pause a recording, and the Q and R keys to fast rewind and fast forward. The Tab key brings up Amy’s AR Desktop.
Time to complete: Approximately 2 hours, for a full exploration.
Replay required/useful: Not required. There are no alternate plot lines or endings.
(The goal of this walkthrough is twofold: one, to note all the aspects of the environment that are important for the player to encounter to fully understand the main plot and to develop a sense of the state of the world in 2088; and two, to act as a reference for details that would be important for a reconstruction and analysis of the plot and forworld-building. There is more to Tacoma than this–indeed, the backgrounds of the characters and their interrelationships are arguably the most interesting aspect of the work. However, aspects of the environment related to this will generally be passed over, unless they might be easily overlooked by the player.)
The story opens with Amy’s ship being docked at the Tacoma by the ship’s AI, Minny. After the docking has completed, Amy leaves the ship, most of which is taken up by a very DIY-looking “AI Hardware Enclosure” of plywood, constructed by ‘H.’ Before she leaves, she tells Minny not to let anyone scan the ship while she’s gone. She proceeds into the Tacoma to a Venturis ARdware™ Dispenser and attaches the ARdware nodes (two discs marked L and R), which transmits audiovisual information directly to the cerebral cortex. She is given a standard pre-recorded greeting by ODIN (who appears as an AR inverted pyramid with an eye in the centre) and scanned, and then allowed to enter the faculty. While on the way to the main hub, ODIN’s prerecorded message informs her that while aboard, as is standard practice, she will be monitored by the AR Network, which tracks and records the activities of all persons on board.
A. MAIN HUB
The main hub provides access to each of the habitable sections: Engineering, Cryogenics, Biomedical, and Personnel.
- (AR Desktop) Read message from Venturis liaison telling Amy to proceed to the Personnel module. Amy’s Desktop also has a 3D model of the Tacoma, her mission brief (provided by Venturis), and her ID. Her ID shows she is 29, and a citizen of the California Republic. There are two QR codes on her ID. These, as well as the other QR codes found in the game, can be scanned with a smartphone QR Code app, revealing additional information. Although the bottom of Amy’s ID card reads: “Lembaga Pelesenan Orbital / Proof of Technical Certification,” the lower QR Code on the ID provides the following: “Lembaga Pelesenan Orbital [the issuing authority for all the ID cards] is not responsible for the issuance of this document.”
- Follow the series of handwritten signs touting the wonders of the ‘Tacoma Dome,’ which is the Observation Module at the other end of the hub: a large windowed space from which the Moon can be seen.
- Observation (‘Tacoma Dome’): Recover AR Crew Record Data from 3 days ago. Note the word “INNOCENT” that flashes as the data is recovered. The two figures are E. V. St. James, the Station Administrator, and Sareh Hasmadi, the Medic, who are enjoying some low-gravity leisure time. From their conversation, it can be inferred that orbital crew are normally hired on one-year contracts, and these are not always renewed.
- Follow E.V. and Sareh to the elevator hatch to the Personnel Module. When traveling on the elevator an AR ad for the Venturis Belt plays (this, and other Venturis Belt promotional material found on Tacoma, mention that the Venturis Belt is to be operational by 2088, the current year).
B. PERSONNEL MODULE
- (AR Desktop) Read message from Venturis liaison saying Venturis has remotely disabled ODIN’s ability to directly affect operations on Tacoma or communicate with Amy via the AR net, adding “Any attempt to communicate with the A.I. is strictly prohibited.”
- Attach the Data Transfer Device to the transfer station in the hallway. Read the message saying that secure but one-way only messages can be sent to Amy via the Device. Note the ‘Obsolescence Day Party’ sign pointing to the Administration Section.
B2a. Dining Hall
- Recover AR Crew Record Data from 3 days ago: the Obsolescence Day Party is about to take place. Note the phrase “DEATH SENTENCE” that flashes as the data is recovered.
- Listen to the conversation between Roberta ‘Bert’ Williams, Mechanical Engineer, and Natali Kuroshenko, Network Specialist. Beside revealing they are partners, the conversation also reveals that the entire crew’s contracts have been renewed for another year, which Natali has discovered is “unprecedented.” Orbital debris hits the ship (according to ODIN), bringing the crew together around the dining table. At the end of the recording, ODIN’s Status Report is displayed over the dining table.
B2b. Conference Room
- Rewind the recording and go to the Conference Room. Replay: E.V. is here, recording her annual report.
- E.V.’s AR Desktop: Note the Orbital News Network story about the Cascadia First Nations Manufacturers Union (CFNMU) filing a new lawsuit over the deaths of 322 workers from a Tacoma, WA factory due to exposure to dangerous chemicals. The legal battle has been going on for five years (i.e., since 2084). After she is interrupted by Clive, E.V. goes into her office, the door of which has a passcode, so Amy cannot follow her at present.
- Rewind the recording and go to the Kitchen. Replay: Clive Sidiqqi, the Operations Specialist, and Andrew Dagyab, the Botanist, are discussing the origin of Obsolescence Day. Clive’s AR Desktop is accessed here.
- Rewind the recording and go to the Lounge. Replay: Listen to the conversation between Sareh and ODIN about AIs. Follow Sareh when she goes to the Dining Hall.
B2e. Dining Hall (second time)
- Natali’s AR Desktop: Note the rather cryptic message from Cluey Dog, who suggests Natali should come and work at Tangiers.
- Sareh’s AR Desktop: Note the line in her message to her parents: “Loyalty debt from med school being what it is, any job with Venturis is better [garbled]”.
B2f. E.V.’s Personal Quarters
- Recover AR Crew Record Data from 2 months ago: E.V. is playing the guitar and singing.
- Examine the book in the window seat (Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar). Note the number on the bookmark: 1228 (the passcode to E.V.s office)
- Bunk drawer: Examine the notice of the funeral of Karyn St. James (January 2084) and the attached note from E.V.’s mother in the box.
B2g. Administrator’s Office
- Rewind the recording and enter E.V.’s office (using the passcode): Replay: Listen (on Venturis Radio) to Venturis CEO Sergio Venturi’s endorsement of the so-called Orbital Workers Safety Act. He notes that he is the first Venturi in four decades to be in charge of the company. It is his idea to fully automate Venturis’ orbital facilities using AI.
- Desk Drawer: Examine the picture (which E.V. is looking at when the ‘orbital debris’ hits): it shows Karyn and E.V. at the 2080 CFNMU Employee Awards Gala.
- Desktop: Read the email from Venturis denying a third request (presumably from Natali) for access to ODIN’s hardware. Examine E.V.’s ID Card: She is 53, and a citizen of Cascadia First Nations (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cascadia_(bioregion)).
B3. Hallway (second time)
- Check Data Transfer Device: Read the new message, which notes that the AR Crew Record Data is also being transmitted to the Device, which will leave a recovery signature, “but that’s okay.”
- Proceed to Operations. (AR Desktop) Read message from Venturis liaison, which notes that AR Crew Record Data is normally deleted, adding: “Accidental AR Crew Record Data retention does NOT confer contractor access privileges to this confidential data.”
B4a. Foyer (cubbies)
- In Sareh’s cubby, examine the 2087 Orbital Workers Union Newsletter, the cover of which features a story about “the historic vote that struck down this anti-union bill [the Orbital Workers Safety Bill].”
- In the garbage pail next to Andrew’s cubby, examine the flyer about the Venturis Belt.
- Proceed directly ahead to the Gym.
- Recover AR Crew Record Data from 4 days ago. Andrew’s AR Desktop: Note the article Andrew has sent to Marc Figueroa (his partner), which mentions the “Loyalty economy” and its being recognized by “OPEC.”
- Listen to the conversation Andrew is having with his son, Nicholas: Nicholas wants to attend Amazon University, but since Andrew and Marc do not have enough Amazon Customer Loyalty, they will have to pay for some of the expense out of pocket.
B4c. Operations Specialist’s Office
- Rewind the recording and go to the Operations Specialist’s Office. Replay: Listen to Clive’s conversation with his friend Germaine Burgess, from Carnival Cruises. E.V. enters and cuts the conversation short. Clive says he was speaking to an old friend from “my Carnival days,” and E.V. jokingly asks, “Consorting with the enemy?”
- Clive’s AR Desktop: Read the message from the Orbital Hospitality and Logistics Union about Obsolesce Day, which marks the anniversary of the day when human orbital workers were supposed to become completely obsolescent: February 29, 2080. Although the message is garbled, in response to the obsolescence caused by increasing automation, the Human Oversight Act was passed, which presumably prevented this from happening.
- On the walls of his office, Clive has pictures of the exterior and main lobby of the Venturis Zenith Lunar Resort, as well as a ‘Hilton U’ pennant.
- Clive’s Desktop: Read ‘Notes to Self’ file: Clive’s locker number is 1407. There is also a message showing that he has applied for the position of Venturis Belt Timeshare Sales Coordinator. His ID card shows he is a citizen of the USSREU (apparently a union of a reconstituted USSR and the EU), and is 45 years old.
[The message from Sergio Venturi that plays on Venturis Radio here provides details about the history of the Venturis Corporation and its role in the ‘Orbital Economy.’ Venturis operates the Ono Space Elevator that connects Singapore and the Fountain of Paradise Spaceport.]
- Rewind the recording and go to Cargo. Replay: Listen to the conversation between Natali and Bert, which E.V. and Clive join, about Natali’s frustration at not being able to access ODIN’s hardware.
- Examine the copy of Venturer Magazine: The back cover advertises Orbital Worker Certification at Venturis Technical University.
B4f. Locker Room
- Rewind the recording and go to the Locker Room. Replay: Listen to the conversation between ODIN and Sareh.
- Sareh’s AR Desktop: Read the messages between ODIN and Sareh (Sareh’s locker code is 0315); read the messages between Natali and Sareh (the previously encountered Cluey Dog is named Hassan M. and he lives/works at the Tangier Orbital Freeport, a haven for “hackers, hippies, A.I. rights folks”).
- Recover AR Crew Record Data from 4 months ago. Natali’s AR Desktop: Read messages between Natali and E.V. about the provisions of the Human Oversight Accord.
B4h. Clive’s Personal Quarters
- While passing through the Locker Room, unlock Clive’s locker (1407) and take the key inside.
- Recover AR Crew Record Data from 8 months ago: Clive is having a rather incoherent conversation with Germaine Burgess. Clive’s AR Desktop: Read ONN story forwarded by Germaine about Carnival Cruise Lines expedition tour past Jupiter (this is what Clive and Germaine were talking about earlier in his office).
- Closet: Open the crate and read the business card inside. Read the shipping label on the side. (The tea service was seen earlier in E.V.’s personal quarters.)
- Use the key to unlock the drawer under the bunk. Read the letter from Clive to his mother, Bernadette, where he acknowledges she warned him that “forgoing company loyalty for fickle opportunity is a fraught path,” and that he has been “clawing his way back up since.”
- Garbage pail beside nightstand: Read the rejection letters from Carnival and Hilton, which show the consequences of “forgoing company loyalty.”
- Open night table drawer (top): Read the Hilton University Student Loan Repayment Invoice (still paying off student loans at the age of 45!)
B5. Hallway (third time)
- Retrieve the Data Transfer Device.
- (AR Desktop) Read message from Venturis liaison instructing Amy to proceed to the Biomedical Module.
- Take the elevator back to the Main Hub.
C. BIOMEDICAL MODULE
- Attach the Data Transfer Device to the Data Access Point in the hallway. Read the message containing a ‘fun fact’ about ODIN: the messenger identifies themself as ‘H.” (presumably the same H. who installed the AI Hardware enclosure on Amy’s ship), who notes he is filling in for her “real handler,” while they are taking a break.
- Proceed to Botany.
- Recover AR Crew Record Data from 3 days ago. Note the “I TRIED” message that flashes as the data is being recovered. The entire crew is here, discussing an evacuation plan.
- E.V.’s AR Desktop: Read the messages, which provide additional details about the evacuation plan. Follow E.V. and Clive as they go into the Tea Garden, and then follow them as they leave Botany, to hear their conversation.
- Rewind the recording and replay. Wait at the top of the ramp that leads down to Irrigation from the Foyer until Sareh comes out from Irrigation and follow her into Food Supply. Listen to her conversation with ODIN.
C2b. Botanist Office
- Note sticky note on lighted picture (0281, the passcode for Irrigation).
- Workstation: Examine Andrew’s ID: he is 42 and a citizen of the DEC (explained later); read message from Venturis Bank (Andrew has bought a Venturis Belt bungalow).
- Rewind the recording and go to Irrigation. Replay: Listen to the conversation between Andrew and Sareh, and then Andrew and ODIN.
- Andrew’s AR Desktop: Read the messages between E.V. and Andrew about increasing the oxygen supply.
- Examine the screen showing Tacoma’s oxygen supply, algae production and oxygen production.
C2d. Andrew’s Personal Quarters
- Recover AR Crew Record Data from 6 months ago: Andrew and Sareh are playing an AR game called Spitfire’s Revenge. Andrew’s AR Desktop: Read ONN story about Venturis stock tanking in the wake of the failure of the Orbital Workers Safety Bill, which OCEP delegates voted against by a substantial majority.
- Reading nook: Read the letter from Amazon University Buffalo, a Performing Arts Training Campus in the Democratic Eastern Coalition (DEC), about the campus visit of Andrew, Marc and Nicholas. The recruitment officer notes that they will accept Loyalty from other approved companies “at competitive rates,” although if Nicholas is hired by Amazon Original Content, his tuition will practically be free.
C3. Hallway (second time)
- Check the Data Transfer Device. Read the message that someone tried to wipe all the AR Crew Record Data, and that this data was being accessed at the time of the attempted wipe.
- Proceed to Medical.
- Recover AR Crew Record Data from 2 days ago. Note the “CARED FOR THEM” message that flashes as the data is being recovered. Natali’s AR Desktop: Read messages from ODIN and E.V. Follow Natali and Bert as they enter Medical Storage and listen to their conversation. Note the Locked Secure Medical Storage area.
C4b. Examination Facility
- Rewind the recording and replay. Sareh’s AR Desktop: Read the message from Andrew about the widget he created to track oxygen levels: it also shows that 2 cryogenic pods are occupied. Read Sareh’s message to Natali about her being cleared for cryogenics.
- Listen to Sareh’s conversation with ODIN and then Andrew, which moves into the Medic’s Office.
C4c. Medic’s Office
- Desk Drawer: Retrieve the key to the locked Medical Storage cabinet.
- Workstation: Examine Sareh’s ID: she is 34 and a citizen of the Confederacy of North American AgriPower Producers (the ID was issued in Madison, WI); Read the Bioscan Record Pin Reminder Phrase (‘Graduation’). Read the message from Venturis about contract renewal options, which informs Sareh that if she accepts personal responsibility for the incident of September 2, 2085 upon the Fountain of Paradise spaceport, her Venturis job opportunities will greatly improve.
- Note Sareh’s university degree on the wall opposite the desk: it is from Johns Hopkins University, and was awarded in 2080.
[The message from Sergio Venturi that plays on Venturis Radio here concerns the Venturis Belt, which Venturi asserts will make orbital travel “inclusive,” i.e. affordable to those who are not the super-wealthy.]
C4d. Medical Storage
- Return to Medical Storage and unlock the secure medical locker. Read the newspaper clipping about the death of a popular food and travel writer, Jaiden Jeremiah Pratt, who Sareh was treating for a broken femur (this is the incident of September 2, 2085 upon the Fountain of Paradise), which reports that Sareh claimed that HEKA, the station’s medical AI, exhibited faulty judgement in its advising, a claim which caused investor confidence in Venturis’ AI offerings to decline sharply.
c4e. Foyer (second time)
- Rewind the recording and return the Foyer. Andrew’s AR Desktop can be accessed here.
c4f. Examination Facility (second time)
- Go to the bioscan record screen and enter the passcode (2080). Read the bioscan reports on Bert, Natali, and Andrew: Natali has a heart murmur, which poses a serious risk of death when coming out of cryogenics.
c4g. Sareh’s Personal Quarters
- Recover AR Crew Record Data from 3 months ago. Sareh’s AR Desktop: Read messages with Natali and ODIN: Sareh is trying to find proof that HEKA was malfunctioning.
- Examine the book in the toilet: An autobiography by FAND, the AI of the Kiribati Sea City-State (also, it turns out, a Venturis-made AI). (The Republic of Kiribati in the Pacific Ocean consists of a collection of atolls.)
C5. Hallway (third time)
- Read the new message on the Data Transfer Device, which notes that even with the attempted wipe, ODIN appears to be mentally intact, just dormant.
- Remove the Data Transfer Device. On the way to the elevator, read the message from the Venturis Liaison telling Amy to proceed to Engineering.
D. ENGINEERING MODULE
- Attach the Data Transfer Device. Proceed to Mechanical Engineering (the door into Network Technology is inoperable).
D2. Mechanical Engineering
- Recover AR Crew Record Data from 18 hours ago. Note the “MAYBE…” message that flashes as the data is being recovered. Note the ‘Operation Moonshot’ screen, which shows Andrew has gone into cryo. Sareh’s conversation with ODIN and her AR Desktop further elaborate her dilemma over Natali and cryo.
D2b. Drone Bay
- Follow Sareh into the Drone Bay, and then into the vestibule just outside the Drone Bay, where ODIN tells her there is a door in the Network Technology module that is normally inaccessible to the crew, and suggests that Sareh could investigate that door. Sareh asks Natali about this, and Natali tells her it’s the door to ODIN’s hardware compartment. She shows Sarah how to get there and gives her the passcode that opens the other door of the Drone Bay.
- N.B.: While it is tempting to take this other door at this point, this will likely result in missing the other rooms in Mechanical Engineering (as it takes you into Network Technology and the revelation of the game, as well as Amy’s final task). Instead, rewind the recording, and watch the interaction between Natali and Bert in the Drone Bay (Natali’s AR Desktop can be accessed here).
D2c. Power Cell Access
- Backtrack to the Foyer and enter the Power Cell Access room. Examine the magazine for some trivia about the world in 2088. Note the reference to “OCEP-UN.”
- An Orbital Workers Union poster indicates the OWU was established in 2060.
- Bert’s Workstation: Bert’s ID shows that she is a citizen of the Freedom Republic (apparently the former state of Texas).
[The message from Sergio Venturi that plays on Venturis Radio here acknowledges concerns about the financial viability of the company, and asserts: “We must make the Venturis Belt project a reality.“ Venturi also asserts that the Orbital Workers Safety legislation will be passed in OCEP congress.]
D2e. Bert’s (and Natali’s) Personal Quarters
- Recover AR Crew Record Data from 3 months ago. Bert’s AR Desktop: Read message from Natali: in digging for information about HEKA for Sareh, Natali stumbled across minutes from a Venturis Board meeting, where CEO Sergio Venturi is being attacked and threatened by Board of Trustees members about the looming Venturis Belt fiasco.
D3. Network Technology
D3a. Maintenance Tunnel
- Take the door in the Drone Bay that needs a passcode (provided by Natali). Recover the AR Crew Record Data from 7 months ago: Natali is chilling.
D3b. Natali’s Personal Quarters
- Examine the AI Liberation Front flyer on the bunk.
D3c. Network Specialist’s Office
- Recover AR Crew Record Data from 1 year ago. Natali’s AR Desktop: Read the messages between Natali and ODIN: she wants to raise its CAPRICE score for Independence. Read the welcome message from E.V.: she mentions that one of her sister’s first jobs was helping to build pieces of Tacoma at the factory in Tacoma WA. Read the message from Cluey Dog (AKA Hassan M. or H.) about attempts to get an A.I. to the Tangiers Freeport.
- Examine the CAPRICE chart for ODIN from January 2087 to February 2088.
- Natali’s Workstation: Natali’s ID lists her citizenship as “VIC-AUS.” Read message to Sareh: the attachment is a support ticket for HEKA opened on 08/07/2085 (the month before the death of J. J. Pratt), which notes HEKA’s declining judgement scores over the last four weeks. When HQ asks if they want to use their final support ticket for the quarter on this issue, the Fountain of Paradise technician says no and closes the ticket. The accompanying CAPRICE chart for HEKA shows a massive drop in all abilities in September.
- Examine poster on wall of Venturis AIs, including JUNO, FAND, and ODIN.
- Read clipboard by the side of the couch: a January 2088 ‘report card’ for ODIN.
- On route to ODIN’s hardware chamber: Recover AR Crew Record Data from 14 hours ago. Note the “I AM HERE” message that flashes as the data is being recovered. Follow Sareh into the AI Secure Communications Center.
D3e. AI Secure Communications Center
- Recover AR Crew Record Data from 14 hours ago. Note the “IN YOUR HANDS” message that flashes as the data is being recovered. With Sareh, listen to the prerecorded statement by Sergio Venturis about the deaths of the entire crew of the Tacoma.
There are three stations in this room. From Sareh’s left:
- Read messages between Venturis AI Handler and ODIN, ordering ODIN to fake the accident and order the entire crew into cryo. In response to ODIN’s query about the endangerment of the crew, the Handler replies that a rescue craft will be deployed once the crew is in cryo.
- Read “Venturis Belt Legalization Strategy”: a report from JUNO stating the scenario that is most likely to ensure a speedy repeal of the Human Oversight Accord is to stage a fatal accident on a Venturis orbital facility, with the Tacoma being the best option.
- Read messages showing that a rescue craft to the Tacoma was launched and then cancelled. In response to ODIN’s query about the cancellation, the Handler says it was unavoidable, and forbids ODIN to do anything or contact them again.
- Enter the second room: an AR Crew Record automatically plays, showing ODIN telling Sareh that if someone overrode the protocol, external communication channels could be restored. Sarah does so and sends out an SOS.
- Open the Station Wetware Release Interface: Amy is provided a passcode (0451). Return to the first room and enter the passcode. Amy retrieves the wetware.
- Read message from Venturis liaison telling Amy to return to her vessel. Return to Hallway.
D4. Hallway (second time)
- Retrieve Data Transfer Device. Return to Main Hub.
E. CRYOGENICS MODULE
- Retrieve AR Crew Record Data from 10 hours ago.
- Enter the chamber where E.V. and Clive are: listen to their conversation and then to Sareh’s conversation with E.V. about what will happen to ODIN. E.V. says ODIN will probably be stripped down to baseline. Sareh tells ODIN she won’t let that happen.
- Natali’s AR Desktop: Read the messages with Cluey Dog, to whom Natali has sent the incriminating records (including the HEKA info), which Hassan will send out to the free press.
- Clive’s AR Desktop: Read message to Germaine, which includes a news story about the rescue of the crew by Carnival Cruise Lines’ Resplendence, which is bound for Jupiter.
- Sareh’s AR Desktop: Read Sareh’s message to Cluey Dog (Hassan), asking for a favour.
Proceed back to Amy’s ship. On the way, read message from JUNO, who states it is now the overseeing entity for the operation. Once on Amy’s ship, install ODIN’s wetware and start the launch sequence.
D. Sources and Resources
- Wikipedia entry: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tacoma_(video_game)
- Metacritic critic reviews:
- Gamepedia wiki: https://tacoma.gamepedia.com/Tacoma_Wiki
- Katherine Cross, “Tacoma’s Ordinary World: The Blessedly Banal Future of the Future in Gaming,” Paste Magazine, October 20, 2015. https://www.pastemagazine.com/games/tacomas-ordinary-world-the-blessedly-banal-future/
- Sophie 9709, “An incomplete guide to the plot [of Tacoma]” https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1138590203
- YouTube gameplay video (RabidRetrospectGames): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxju5GtyyPc