New Video Game Inspired by 20 Haruki Murakami Stories Is Coming Your Way: Help Kickstart It

Back in grade school, I got into the genre of com­put­er games known as “graph­ic adven­tures,” nar­ra­tive expe­ri­ences — and often quite elab­o­rate ones — through which the play­er guides the pro­tag­o­nist with points and clicks: games like Mani­ac Man­sionSpace QuestMean StreetsZak McCrack­en and the Alien Mind­ben­ders. In col­lege I got into the writ­ing of Haru­ki Muraka­mi, the inter­na­tion­al super­star of Japan­ese lit­er­a­ture spe­cial­iz­ing in the kind of sto­ries that, in his words, have under­gone “a kind of mag­i­cal bap­tism to link the world on this side with the world on the oth­er side.” More recent­ly, I’ve cul­ti­vat­ed an inter­est in projects crowd­fund­ed on plat­forms like Kick­starter. At long last, some­one has come up with a cre­ation that unites all three: Mem­o­randa, a Muraka­mi-inspired graph­ic adven­ture now rais­ing its bud­get on Kick­starter.

memoranda 2

“Three years ago I sat down with a friend to brain­storm for mak­ing a game,” writes one of Mem­o­ran­da’s devel­op­ers. Murakami’s work “had inspired us pro­found­ly and we thought that the vague, sur­re­al­is­tic real­i­ty of his fic­tion­al world would have a great poten­tial for being turned into some­thing visu­al and could lead to the cre­ation of odd char­ac­ters, an essen­tial ele­ment in game design.” This led to a “script inspired by more than 20 sto­ries by Muraka­mi” involv­ing a lit­tle town (which has “Euro­pean-like archi­tec­ture but that does­n’t mean it belongs to some­where in Europe”) “where there are both lap­tops and bam­boo water clocks,” a cast of char­ac­ters from “a WWII sur­viv­ing sol­dier to an ele­phant tak­ing shel­ter in a man’s house hop­ing to become human,” and a pro­tag­o­nist “who lit­tle by lit­tle real­izes she is for­get­ting her own name.”

Kick­starter has proven a viable financ­ing medi­um for a new wave of graph­ic adven­ture games, some of them by the cre­ators of the old wave: Tim Schafer, known for Mani­ac Man­sion’s beloved sequel Day of the Ten­ta­cle, raised $3.3 mil­lion for what would become Bro­ken Age, and Space Quest mas­ter­minds Scott Mur­phy and Mark Crowe more recent­ly reunit­ed to raise over $500,000 for SpaceVen­tureMem­o­ran­da, by com­par­i­son, requires no more than a shoe­string, and, with ten days to go in its fund­ing dri­ve, it has already raised more than the $13,695 request­ed by Bit Byterz, its Van­cou­ver-based Iran­ian devel­op­ers (how’s that for a demon­stra­tion of Murakami’s glob­al appeal?). But you can still con­tribute at its Kick­starter page, and as a reward could get a copy of the game, its sound­track, a dig­i­tal art book, or even — enthu­si­asts of Muraka­mi tropes, take note — the inclu­sion of your own cat in the sto­ry. No game com­pa­ny ever offered me that in grade school.

You can watch a trail­er for Mem­o­ran­da above.

via Fla­vor­wire

Relat­ed Con­tent:

In Search of Haru­ki Muraka­mi: A Doc­u­men­tary Intro­duc­tion to Japan’s Great Post­mod­ernist Nov­el­ist

Haru­ki Murakami’s Advice Col­umn (“Mr. Murakami’s Place”) Is Now Online: Read Eng­lish Trans­la­tions

Haru­ki Muraka­mi Lists the Three Essen­tial Qual­i­ties For All Seri­ous Nov­el­ists (And Run­ners)

Haru­ki Murakami’s Pas­sion for Jazz: Dis­cov­er the Novelist’s Jazz Playlist, Jazz Essay & Jazz Bar

Dis­cov­er Haru­ki Murakami’s Adver­to­r­i­al Short Sto­ries: Rare Short-Short Fic­tion from the 1980s

A Pho­to­graph­ic Tour of Haru­ki Murakami’s Tokyo, Where Dream, Mem­o­ry, and Real­i­ty Meet

Col­in Mar­shall writes else­where on cities, lan­guage, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer, the video series The City in Cin­e­maand the crowd­fund­ed jour­nal­ism project Where Is the City of the Future? Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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