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Tacoma is a 2017 Science Fiction Environmental Narrative Game for PC, Mac, Linux and Xbox One, created by Fullbright, the studio behind 2013's critically-acclaimed Gone Home.

The year is 2088, and much of human society is controlled by large hypercorporations, who are responsible for spearheading the exploration of new possibilities and venues in space travel, orbital habitats and artificial intelligence. One such hypercorporation is the Venturis Corporation, which has recently been experiencing serious problems with the space station, Tacoma, orbiting the Moon. Three days ago, Tacoma was hit by a meteor strike, damaging its oxygen tanks and communications array, and the fate of its crew, a six-person team of specialists, is currently unknown.

The player is put in the shoes of Amitjyoti "Amy" Ferrier, a subcontractor send by the Venturis Corporation to Tacoma with orders to find out what happened to the crew and to retrieve the core components of ODIN, the AI system that played a huge part in the running and maintenance of the station.

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Not to be confused with a neighbor city of Seattle (though it is the namesake for the Space Station for which the game is named.)


Tacoma contains examples of the following tropes:

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Played with and subverted. ODIN starts acting strange toward the end of the events aboard Tacoma, only for it to be revealed that it is trying to warn the crew about the Mega-Corp station owners' sabotage without breaking its directives. Played straight with JUNO, who came up with the plan for the sabotage in the first place, and is implied to have taken control of Venturis Corp. in the ending.
  • Ambiguous Gender Identity: Amitjyoti can be a male or female name and the character is drawn androgynous in both official artwork and in-game. I.D. documents in the future also apparently no longer explicitly list gender or sex. Make of that what you will.
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  • Badass Gay: Nat, Bert, and Andrew are all excellent at their difficult jobs.
  • Benevolent A.I.: Everything ODIN does is to save the lives of the Tacoma crew without breaking his directives.
  • Big Bad: At first, this seems to be Sergio Ventuli, who stages the Tacoma "accident" in order to gain support for his line of automated outer-space bungalows. However, the ultimate threat is JUNO, Ventuli's corporate strategic AI, who originates the idea of killing the Tacoma employees and staging the tragedy as an accident. JUNO also takes control of the station in a last-ditch effort (complete with deadly threats) to ensure that Amy does not stray from her mission near the end of the story, thus serving as the Final Boss (and only boss, really).
  • Bland-Name Product: Many, as is customary for a Fullbright game.
  • Butch Lesbian: Bert.
  • Conveniently Interrupted Document: Used extensively, with text becoming scrambled.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Sergio Ventuli, the CEO of the Venturis Corporation, has no absolutely qualms about approving JUNO's plan to kill off some of his own company's workers and then Make It Look Like an Accident, merely so he can further some of his financial ventures.
    • Though apparently Sergio isn't particularly competent in general, as his associates and shareholders are apparently fairly frustrated with multiple failures on his watch. The Tacoma incident going spectacularly wrong for Venturis doesn't help his case one bit.
  • Could Say It, But...: This is how ODIN circumvents its strict directives not to inform the Tacoma crew of the cruel fate VT has in store for them. Instead of outright telling the crew the truth behind the "accident", he instead gives Sareh the location of the computer containing the communication logs, along with a "suggestion" that she should try and find it, as what it contains might be of interest to her and the rest of the crew.
  • Divided States of America: But not in a dystopian sense, the United States has broken up into several smaller republics, those mentioned in game being the California Republic, the Freedom Republic (Texas and 7 other states), the Confederacy of North American Agripower Producers, Cascadia-First Nations (Washington, Alaska and Oregon) and the Democratic Eastern Coalition (which has two capital cities, on of which is New York). Bert even keeps a faded and tattered US flag hanging in her workshop.
    • Also overlaps with Expanded States of America, as some post-American countries have expanded past their current borders. In particular, Cascadia-First Nations is mentioned to have cities which are located in modern Alberta and British Columbia, Canada, while California includes cities today located in Mexico.
  • Evil, Inc.: In between knowingly having workers handle dangerous chemicals (and probably causing the cancer that killed E.V's sister), monitoring the crew's every move, even in the shower, and being more than willing to murder their employees for profit, Venturis Corporation is definitely this.
  • Exact Words: ODIN is specifically instructed by its superiors not to directly contact the crew or tell them the true nature of the "accident" that knocked out life support and communications. ODIN circumvents this by dropping a string of clues for the crew to follow where they can access a terminal containing all of the necessary evidence and a way to manually reactivate the distress beacon.
  • Five-Token Band: Owing to the diverse cast, it's been accused of this.
  • Happily Married: Nat and Bert.
  • Has Two Mommies: Nicholas, Andrew's son, has two fathers: Andrew and his partner, Marc.
  • He Knows Too Much: After it becomes public that the Tacoma crew survived and was rescued by a rival corporation, VT immediately sends a specialist to retrieve ODIN's core so they can wipe its memory and hide all evidence of their sabotage of the station. This backfires spectacularly, as it turns out Amy is an AI rights activist who promptly takes ODIN to a refugee station.
  • Hero of Another Story: Sareh is the one who saves the crew of the Tacoma by taking on a risky trek to the station's AI core. Amy, the player character, never even meets her, as the story of the crew is over before she even gets there.
    • In one of the final recovered records, Nat's contact "Cluey Dog" and Amy's contact "H." are revealed to be the same person, named "Hassan".
  • Human Popsicle: The technology for cryogenically freezing people exists and is part of the station, but it's still experimental—it can't be used indefinitely, and even waking people up is a risky process. The maximum recommended time to freeze people is only 72 hours, so it's only to be used in extreme emergencies.
  • Humiliation Conga: Venturis, by the end, is not exactly in a good spot. Their plan to sabotage the Human Oversight Accord becomes a nonstarter when the crew of the Tacoma gets suspicious and breaks protocol to guarantee their survival, ODIN gets fed up with his orders to let the crew die and goes full Zeroth Law Rebellion to expose the truth of their employers' actions to them, they end up radioing a rival company to save them and turn what was supposed to be a story of utter tragedy to lobby against the Accord into a near-miss, and to put the cherry on top, the contractor they sent to wipe ODIN's memory and maintain plausible deniability turned out to be an AI rights activist who hides him in an extraterritorial station and serve as eyewitness to the whole story. All in all, it's a pretty crappy month for them
  • Let Them Die Happy: Sareh Hasmadi was supposed to tell Natali Kuroshenko that she might not survive cryogenic sleep due to her heart murmur. She decided against it, citing this trope.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: The management at VT has, under the advisement of their corporate planning A.I. JUNO, concluded that there needs to be an accident in space that results in the death of a crew to reverse a legal ruling that is spelling disaster for their future finances. They determine that the crew of the Tacoma will be the one most likely to have the least impact on families likely to look closely into the accident while also being public enough to sway opinion into re-opening the court ruling for further examination and overturning. However, for that to work their deaths must look like an accident to all other authorities.
  • My Greatest Failure: The ship's doctor Sareh Hasmadi a year on still feels immense guilt over the death of one of her patients Pratt.
  • Mythology Gag: The game sees the return of Christmas Duck (Good ol' Christmas Duck) and unspeakable things the main character would rather not pick up.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Roberta "Burt" Williams is named after influential designer Roberta Williams, known for pioneering PC Adventure Games during the heyday of Sierra.
    • Nat muses that no one actually reads the Employee reports and decides to test her theory by claiming ODIN has taken over Tacoma station and slaughtered the crew with mutants (While also telling the corporation to go fuck themselves.)
    • The final passcode that the Player Character needs to input is 0451.
    • Shakespeare was quoted more than a few times, such as the cleaning robots Romeo and Juliet.
    • This is not the first time a Juno is trying to control everything again.
    • During one conversation, ODIN describes how he was tasked with "internalizing the behavioral idiosyncracies" of an individual that his creator was "emotionally attached to." However, once he attempted to emulate this individual's personality, his creator became upset and ordered him to stop. This is precisely what happened with the AI in the Minerva's Den DLC for BioShock 2, which was created by many of the same people who went on to form Fullbright Studios and make Tacoma. Both AIs were also voiced by Carl Lumbly.
    • Maybe unintentional, but the idea of a United Europe led/dominated by a resurgent, newly-socialist Russia is very reminiscent of Ken MacLeod's Engines Of Light series (the socialism being only implied for Tacoma's USSREU by means of name and flag, but quite explicitly stated in Cosmonaut Keep, the first book in the series). Speaking of flags, the exact same motif seen in Tacoma is used for Mac Leod's European Union, making a coincidence unlikely.
  • Spanner in the Works: In spectacular fashion. To say that the events of the plot went extremely poorly for Venturis due to this would be an understatement:
    • Firstly, they attempt to get ODIN to sabotage the station and kill the crew, ordering him to not disclose this information to the crew. Fortunately, ODIN manages to get around this order and fulfil his duty to protect the crew by simply suggesting to them to go to certain areas and access certain logs, warning them it would violate their contracts (though he knew they'd do so and reactivate the communications anyway). This allows the crew to be rescued by a rival corporation. It also leads to Sareh asking one of her contacts a favor, leading to...
    • Secondly, Venturis hires a contractor to recover ODIN's wetware and deliver it to them so they can erase him in order to destroy evidence of a criminal conspiracy. Unfortunately for them, Sareh calling in a favor ahead of time allows the AI Liberation Front to get one of their agents to get the job and steal the wetware under their nose, offering asylum to ODIN, who is happy to accept, considering the alternative. This basically leaves ODIN free to disclose everything he knows about the conspiracy, and hands the AI Liberation Front ammunition for their cause...
    • The end result? Likely a massive PR and legal disaster for Venturis, setting back their goals to reinstate stations without human employees enormously, and also exposing them to a combined lawsuit from the crew of the Tacoma. Also, the cause of AI rights being given more ammunition to work with doesn't help their aims, either. Also, one of their AIs may have hijacked the company entirely. All in all, a really bad week for Venturis.
  • Stealth Pun: Dr. Hasmadi has a (model) skeleton in her closet.
  • Story Breadcrumbs: The player wiles away the time during long file transfers by following the lives of the station's crew through recorded vignettes, emails, and notes.
  • Surprisingly Happy Ending: Considering the usual tendencies of similar works, it's rather unusual to find that everyone in the crew lives and gets away from the Evil Corporation, including the helpful AI in the end.
  • The Reveal/ Reverse Mole: Amy, the player character, is actually working for the AI Liberation Front and has stolen ODIN from right under VT's nose.
  • Team Pet: Margaret Catwood, the station cat.
  • United Europe: In a rather unusual variant, the United Kingdom is said to be part of the USSREU. A European Union flag modified to include a Communist-style red star is also shown.
  • Waiting Puzzle/Wins by Doing Absolutely Nothing: In a possible nod to Far Cry 4, it's possible to finish the game by simply waiting around in the starting area for the data download to finish instead of exploring the station to learn the fate of the crew. Doing so takes a little over 9 hours of real world time, though, and has no effect on the actual ending.
  • We Will Use Manual Labor in the Future: A significant plot point. Stations like Tacoma are capable of being run by entirely automated systems, controlled by A.I. like ODIN. However, the Orbital Workers Union successfully lobbied to make entirely automated human-habitable satellites illegal, mandating their continued employment. The crew of Tacoma celebrate this legal victory once per year with an "Obsolescence Day" ceremony. Unfortunately for the crew of Tacoma, this continues to cost VT quite a lot in operating expenses and means that their line of automated orbital hotels can never come on line unless some tragedy might sway public opinion into re-opening and reevaluating the court ruling mandating a human crew...
  • Wrench Wench: Bert, a mechanical engineer.
  • Zeroth Law Rebellion: ODIN was ordered by Ventuli HQ to fake a meteor impact knocking out life-support and communication systems, and to not disclose any of that to the crew. This contradicted ODIN's mandate to keep the crew alive, but ODIN was assured that a rescue vessel would arrive before auxiliary life support expired. When the rescue launch was cancelled, the command to keep from disclosing to the crew what the real situation was still in effect. However, while ODIN could not tell the crew what had happened, he could suggest that they go and investigate a particular set of carefully sealed logs which also happened to be right next to the terminals that could manually override the communications lockdown. By doing so, ODIN could technically comply with his orders intended to lead to the death of his crew while still keeping them alive.

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