A downloadable interactive novel for Windows and macOS

Buy Now$5.00 USD or more

ESC IS...

an interactive novel about identity, roleplay, and dreams

Enter the memories of Raine as she explores the text-based world of VerdaMUCK, a simulation of the old network within the vast cerebrally-interconnected network of the near future. Meanwhile, a mysterious individual known only as The Navigator exposes the truths of the Cerenet as a conspiracy-in-the-making begins to unfold.

FEATURES

  • An interactive reading experience split between two character perspectives
  • Between 4-6 hours of play, depending on reading ability
  • Full soundtrack written by Lena Raine
  • Additional music by Christa Lee
  • Original art by Dataerase
  • Immersive sound design by 2 Mello

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

  • Computer running Windows or MacOS
  • Keyboard

CREDITS

Lena Raine
Writing, Design, Programming, Music

Maddison Morgenstern (Dataerase)
Art

2 Mello
Sound Design

Nick Suttner
Editing

Christa Lee
Additional Music

Lotte May
Additional Programming

Natalie Weizenbaum
Additional Editing

j hayley
macOS Port

KNOWN ISSUES

v1.0.0

  • Game runs at 2x speed on 120hz monitors. This is a bug with the engine & will be fixed as soon as GameMaker Studio 2 updates to fix it.
  • Switching between Fullscreen & Windowed can cause shaders to apply incorrectly. 
    • Fix: Restart game with intended screen mode for shaders to apply correctly.
  • Some laptops may run at a slower-than-intended speed.
  • Resolutions lower than 1920x1080 may scale oddly at full screen. 
    • Fix: Try running windowed & manually scaling until it improves.

Purchase

Buy Now$5.00 USD or more

In order to download this interactive novel you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $5 USD. You will get access to the following files:

ESC - Windows x86 73 MB
Version 1
ESC - OSX 78 MB
Version 1
ESCISM (ESC Original Soundtrack) Lena Raine.zip 64 MB
if you pay $10 USD or more

Development log

Comments

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(+1)

As someone who grew up in a very real way with online roleplaying, this hit home in a lot of ways. Suspect I'll be haunted by this for a while. 

This was a fantastic game! I enjoyed playing it and made sure to recommend it to others who like visual novels. :)

I think I remember you posting something on twitter about being able to download the soundtrack if you paid $10+. If that's accurate, where would we go about downloading it? I didn't see it in the local files, library, or reciept. 

(+1)

Thanks so much!! You should be able to download a zip file of the mp3s from the files if you're on the website version of the game page.

how long is this game and does it have alternative endings?

4-6 hours, and there's only one ending.

Maybe it's a basic thing, but I didn't think of it for a good 10 or so minutes while I was trying to figure out what was up- if anyone else is having issues with how the text is displaying (it was super hard to read for me  on my 2015 MacBook Pro; just upgraded to High Sierra today to run the game because the dmg wouldn't open till I did that fwiw), switch to the bold font and it'll be ok.

(+2)

I really loved ESC.  Each character is very well rendered, the mysteries have satisfying answers that leave enough not spelled out that you have something fun to ponder, and I did a small cry at the final scene and epilogue. 

(+1)

This was so fucking amazing and I'm glad I got to experience this. My favorite part was definitely the representation so nicely and subtly worked in that's really important as well as really wonderful to me. I'd say who my favorite character was but I don't really want to spoil her for anybody that happens to be reading down here. I hope this makes it to plenty of people and I'll do my best to spread this to anyone who would enjoy an introspective story that ties into how people express themselves and the validity of that, no matter who you are or how your brain works. 

I guess I could at least say that a certain character reminds me of a certain character from Xenogears and that was interesting to see. 

Thanks so much! Trying my best to get the word out for sure ^^

Hello! Any chance you'll release a Linux/Ubuntu version? Pretty sure there are a few of us who would be excited to play. Reeeeaaal into the soundtrack, btw.

--Ben

Hey Ben. Unfortunately I do not have the resources to do a Linux port & so there's no plans at this time.

Ah, okay. Thanks!

(+1)

(I just noticed the words on ratings only show up to the creator, so I'm copying my review here)

This has been one of the most fun and engaging experiences I've had in a long while!

The big highlight here is the story and characters. They're incredibly well written, likeable and the pacing is spot on. You literally cannot drop it once you start. If you are, like me, into cyberpunk-ish thematic, MMOs and MUDs, philosophical grokking peppered with sarcastic humour, this will scratch all your itches.

Audio is about 50% in this game: the music score is delicious, intense and works directly with the story; the sound effects and mixing give the story a sense rythym and pacing and makes the whole thing a lot more immersive. I am glad I held out from listening to the OST before finishing the game, because every time a new song comes a long is a delight.

The art and visual effects are gorgeous, and provide the sort of mental backdrop for a text-based game like this that, while not exactly necessary, elevates the whole thing to another level.

The only criticism I have are the controls: random-typing gets tiresome quickly, there isn't a single tappable key that lets you signal the game you want to continue (sometimes the game expects any key, sometimes expects Enter), holding any key takes too long to start, and the Ctrl-skip key is good, but sometimes skips too fast on a large chunk of text, specially when there's a scene with only one paragraph in it. I had to go back a few times on a chapter because I've accidentally skipped an entire scene.

All in all, the game feels like a very well thought out experience, and is a steal for the suggested price of 10 USD. There's replay value here; the first play will leave you with more questions than answers.

Now excuse me while I try to get all my friends to play this so we can discuss theories :)

Question: Does the game include flashing/flickering? If so, how much/how often? Asking due to accessibility issues. Considering buying it but I want to make sure I'll be able to play it without troubles. Thanks!

Hi! There's no rapid flashing/flickering such as it would cause any adverse reactions. The only intense transition that comes as a surprise is in the chapter The Laughing Sun & smash cuts to red with a gradual fade.

Otherwise, there's a number of accessibility options such as disabling scanlines & alternate fonts.

(+1)

That's great news, thanks a lot! :) I wish more developers added such accessibility options. <3

(+1)

Finished reading in two sessions, but could have easily done it in one if I had the choice. The presentation was unique, the contemplation was uncomfortable in a good way, the soundtrack was very effective, and the story kept me hooked for the entire duration.  Hope to see more from everyone who worked on this!

(+1)

This was a great story, told through fantastic writing, strong characterization, and an immersive and innovative visual and audio presentation.

(+3)

the description says 4-6 hours of play, but it fails to include the time i'll need to process what i've read and play it again to understand it more deeply

(+1)

Thank you for this amazing experience.

(+1)

Thank you for playing!! 🙏