Tape Recovery Simulator?

If there’s one thing I love about life, it’s putting in an honest day’s work at the ole grind-house, clockin’ out, and then coming home and unwinding with some good old fashioned video gaming. Indeed, some games are casual and relaxing, while others are more intense and maybe less conducive to truly relaxing (looking at you, every FPS ever). Then there are other games which are just downright anxiety inducing. Tape Recovery Simulator 96K is in that category. And yes, we’ve written about games that give us anxiety before, but nothing could prepare us for TRS96K.

As our regular reader can attest to, we also write about retro gaming here at ANB. Tape Recovery Simulator 96K isn’t a retro game per se, but it is inherently vintage. It’s so vintage in fact, that playing it felt like being transported back to the mid-aughts (2004 to be exact) where my employer had us managing Exabyte Data8 tape and we did a fair share of real world data recovery. So believe me when I say that when an early access offer for Tape Recovery Simulator 96K appeared in my inbox, something stirred deep inside of me.  We’re talking flashbacks, sweaty palms and PTSD. What exactly is this? Tape-based data recovery? As a video game? I was terrified, but I had to find out what this was about, even as I felt a silent scream rising in my throat.

Extreme Vintage Video Gaming

Video games are for escaping the harsh reality of life. Tape Recovery Simulator 96K does not do that. In fact, nothing made me feel more like it was not the weekend than firing up a game of TRS96K. The game starts off by presenting you with numerous interfaces which include an in-game email client that immediately starts receiving work related emails from the boss and other employees that you will definitely not feel like reading. But read them you must if you are to successfully immerse yourself in TRS96K and feel like you have an IT job where you have to deal with some archaic software/technology.

TRS96K is a unique puzzle game and if it sounds like a day at the office, you would be partially right. Puzzle games are meant to be challenging and this game succeeds in doing that while also blurring the line between what is a game and what is work. And how does one even go about recovering data from tapes anyway? Thankfully TRS96K comes with instructions (and an exam!), even if they don’t make a lot of sense at first. Are you confused? Feeling anxious? Well, there’s an eject button that does not eject you from the game but instead provides you with some clues/training/instructions. Follow them closely and you may just figure out how to extract and recover some precious data off of these tapes.

TRS96K is still in development but it will spur you to ask the hard questions even if the game makes you feel like it’s Monday morning on Sunday. Isn’t life a puzzle after all? Isn’t my actual job a puzzle? Is TRS96K my job now? Am I back in 2004, or earlier? What’s it all about? Must I really recover the data?

Now stop asking questions and get back to work and watch the Tape Recovery Simulator 96K gameplay video.

Year: 2021/2022
Developer: Caffeine Withdrawal Games
Get it on Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1816370
Genre: Adventure, Puzzle, Simulation

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