Broken Connections is a little game by prolific roguelike creator Slashie, Santaigo Zapata (Facebook), that puts you in the shoes of Rogue co-creator Glenn Wichman (also on Facebook) in 1980. His then-roommate Michael Toy (yep, also on Facebook) worked on Rogue over a dialup connection to the mainframe at the University of California at Santa Cruz. The game poses a (probably fictional) situation that the connection is lost, and you are tasked with traveling to campus and finding out what is wrong with the connection and reestablishing it before the system reboots and a weekend’s work is lost.
There’s no enemies or anything like that. It’s a turn-limited quest that only requires that you find your way to the machine in time and plug in a cable, but along the way you encounter a number of people who have minor problems, or recognize you and want to tell you about something, or are just about on their day. Glenn is a very nice person, but it’s up to you if you want to engage with them or continue along on the task you’re there to do. If you feel up to it, you can go back after plugging the cable in, when there isn’t a pressing time limit.
The stakes are pretty minor. If you don’t make it, a weekend’s work is lost. I’m sure Michael Toy can recreate his work, but it’d still be very nice to be able to save it. There is no big win condition, or reward for being nice to people, other the just being a good person. In that way it’s like real life.
If you want to know more about Glenn, Michael and the game, Slashie discusses it on his blog.
Broken Connections (itch.io, $0, playable in browser)