_transfer is a queer posthumanist narrative adventure game about memory and identity where players take on the role of a randomly chosen agent attached to a network of mysterious strangers with whom they must converse to figure out who they are and the state of their world. The game and its story are told through a DOS-like interface through which players input commands in order to connect with and interact with the others while navigating a text-based virtual space. The game's themes range from absurdist to horrific to erotic and it is meant to convey a sense isolation and foreboding at the end of the world.
Hyacinth Nil -- Design, Development, Audio
Reed Lewis -- Writing
_transfer is a meditation on the interaction between personal identity and social understanding. The player beings with a command-line style interface that enables them to communicate with others in the network that they find themselves in. Without a memory, the player must construct an identity from the fragments of information given to them by others--and eventually discover their role in what happened to lead to their situation.
Hyacinth Nil and Reed Lewis are both nonbinary queer storytellers. _transfer was conceived as a game tackling the experience of having no words to describe yourself. Many nonbinary people go through long periods of having no outside reference for their own identities, instead having to construct one based on the assumptions of others. Science fiction, the genre of the alien and the artificial, seemed a natural lens to deal with these topics.
As the player explores the narrow world of the game, it gradually widens. They may choose from several others within the network to talk to, all of whom will lead them in different directions. However, they may be abruptly displaced while the collective network settles itself after a jarring upload of information. The player is randomly assigned one of four player-characters, and interacts with six non-player-characters. Of the ten total characters, one is an infiltrator, seeking to destroy the network from outside. Some want to hunt the intruder, while others want to help.
While not expressly autobiographical, _transfer takes cues from its creators' personal experiences while abstracting them and wrapping mechanics around a dark, obtuse, and sometimes funny story.