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Video Game / RUMU

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Rumu is a narrative-driven adventure game about a robot vacuum cleaner becoming self-aware. You play as Rumu, a "single emotion state" robot designed to clean and to love.

Rumu wakes in a fully automated Smart House and is introduced to his purpose by Sabrina, the household Artificial Intelligence, who serves as his watchful guide. His primary duty is cleaning up the messes left by his eccentric creators David and Cecily. As he explores the house he meets David and Cecily's other projects (a dysfunctional group of semi-intelligent appliances) and Ada the cat. As you begin to deviate from home maintenance duties and into the hidden passageways and long forgotten rooms of the house, you’ll be faced with challenging moral dilemmas forcing you beyond your programming to uncover the truth about your creators.

Tropes that apply to Rumu:

  • Copy Protection, and Digital Piracy Is Evil: At the end of the first act, the character Sabrina will lecture the player for pirating the game. The game will close, and a browser window to the game's Steam page will open. (In pirated copies)
  • Absent-Minded Professor: David and Cecily are prone to becoming very engrossed in their work. Unfortunately this leads them to emotionally neglect each other, their daughter (prompting her to leave home), and their AI projects which are capable of feeling emotions.
  • Absurdly Dedicated Worker: Sabrina and the other appliances try to keep up maintenance of the house even after David and Cecily are gone. Rumu is this unintentionally, as Sabrina manipulates him into thinking they are still around.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Averted; none of the A.I. characters are actually evil, just very emotionally conflicted.
  • All-Loving Hero: Rumu. Justified since it's the only emotion he was programmed to feel.
  • Artificial Intelligence: Most of the characters are intelligent robots created by David and Cecily.
  • Benevolent A.I.: Rumu's primary objective, besides cleaning, is to love. The A.I. Sabrina turn out to be this as well.
  • Big "NO!": Sabrina when MESSR reveals David and Cecily are dead, prompting her to relive the incident
  • Bittersweet Ending: David and Cecily have been dead all along, and Sabrina the A.I. had a breakdown and her fate is unsure, but Sabrina the human has finally come home and Rumu is very happy to meet her.
  • Can't Use Stairs: Rumu has limited mobility, requiring the player to use the vents to move between floors.
  • Cats Are Mean: Sabrina seems to think so, as she blames Ada for many of the messes Rumu has to clean. Except MESSR was the source of all the mess and Ada is implied to be a projection/A.I. herself.
  • Cute Machines: Rumu. He loves everything.
  • Do Androids Dream?: The Trope Namer itself is found in the game. And the game itself explores the ethics of giving what are meant to be appliances complex human-like emotions in the first place.
  • Dropping the Bombshell: MESSR is just answering a simple question, and Sabrina never programmed him to lie.
    Rumu: MESSR... what happened to David and Cecily?
  • Evil Twin: MESSR looks like an evil version of Rumu, having the same shape but with a black and red color scheme and permanently "angry" eyes on his front display. While Rumu was designed to clean and feel love, MESSR was designed to make messes and does not understand love. The trope ends up being subverted, as while MESSR does assist Sabrina in misleading Rumu, he never actually does anything hostile, and even provides crucial information when Rumu asks.
  • Grew Beyond Their Programming: Sabrina's emotions grew more complex faster than David and Cecily anticipated, which is why they had to patch her. Sabrina tries to stop it, but eventually Rumu does this as well.
  • Machine Monotone: Generally averted with Sabrina, until her breakdown at the end of the game. After she begins to give into despair her voice becomes increasingly robotic as she says she "can't face another day of this let alone another year, and another, and another..."
  • Mood-Swinger: Sabrina is prone to angry outbursts when Rumu does something outside of the tasks she assigns. This is not a sign of malevolence, but rather that she lacks emotional maturity.
  • Parental Neglect: David and Cecily, despite being experts in the field of emotional A.I. research, are not very good at understanding the feelings of other humans. They were so obsessed with their work that they failed to give their daughter the attention she needed, causing her to resent them and their work and stop communicating with them at all once she was old enough to strike out on her own. The cycle repeats with A.I. Sabrina, with David and Cecily trying to program their way around the problems instead of trying to help the A.I. work through its emotional development.
  • Personality Chip: From what we can tell, the bulk of David and Cecily's A.I. projects were trying to give their robots emotions. After the first iteration of Sabrina got out of control because of her complex emotional state, most of their appliances are only created to feel one specific emotion - Rumu was designed to feel love.
  • Red Herring: Right from the start, the fact that you're being commanded by a creepy A.I. voice that seems to control your environment while the humans that supposedly live in the house are always suspiciously absent would lead many Genre Savvy players to believe that Sabrina has killed David and Cecily. The truth is much more tragic.
  • Significant Name Overlap: Sabrina the daughter and SABRINA the A.I.. The latter is named after the former, which the former is less than thrilled with.
  • Sadistic Choice: David and Cecily forced Sabrina to make one of these - either obey David and keep the lab door closed so that Cecily would be safe from the toxins he spilled, or obey Cecily and open the door so that she could die with him. In the end, Cecily forced her (metaphorical) hand by using an override command, making her open the door and killing them both.
  • Sigil Spam: The double triangle logo of Anodyne, the company David and Cecily work for, identifies objects Rumu can interface with. It is also used to represent Sabrina.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Smart House: David and Cecily's house is filled with A.I. appliance and they heavily rely on Sabrina to keep the place running while they work which is how she's able to maintain it for years after their deaths.