The free demo of Technolust has been causing something of an online frenzy in recent weeks. Blair Renault’s kickstarter project has more than doubled it’s modest $30,000 target and it is set to be a smash-hit after being green lit on Steam after just 36 hours of being submitted.
And it’s easy to see why…
Fire up the demo and you’re teleported to a retro-futuristic cyberpunk dystopia. Starting in a dimly lit room covered in screens and pop culture ephemera. You can look out the window at the giant video billboard and watch the advertisements cycle. Dust motes float in the air. There is an entire hidden movie to watch and enjoy if you have the time.
The world is filled with pop culture references from horror and science fiction films, and it’s fun to try to discover them all. That’s the bifurcated dog from Return of the Living Dead! That’s Marty’s hover board shoved under a piece of furniture!
The goal is to make an environment that you can explore and interact with, complete with constant references to pop culture both obvious and niche. Some of these Easter eggs won’t be implemented until the Rift has positional tracking; you may be able to bend down and find an item taped to the underside of a table, for instance.
One of the references includes an e-mail you receive in-game which includes a video from the now legendary Max Headroom signal intrusion video. In 1987 someone figured out a way to take over a television signal and for a short time were able to broadcast a disturbing video of someone in a Max Headroom mask.
The footage is slightly NSFW, and the reference is fairly obscure, but that’s the point. If you follow hacking culture to the extent that you recognize the small bit of footage, you’re the target audience for the game.
Having surpassed it’s kickstarter goal by a nice margin, all additional gains are being poured back into the game via stretch goals. An original musical score from Graham Miller Music Design came top of this list of addons, as well as Sixense Stem support, photo scanned NPCs and additional levels titled “Wastelands area” and “Mars Colony area”. Binaural was originally planned as a stretch goal but has been dropped for the time being but will be added as soon as possible, irrespective of funding.
Update 29-May-2014: New Arcade environment test trailer released: