Need a break from the world? Chill out on a virtual island

Don’t you ever wish you could escape to a remote island just to get away from it all, even for five or 10 minutes? If so, check out ROM, a “short experimental experience” created by HTW Berlin students Paul Schnepf, Rainer Windolph, and Friedemann Allmenröder.

Created as part of the Game Design BA curriculum, ROM allows you to explore a desolate island and take control of its environment. Revive its ancient machines to alter the weather and bring the island back to life. Activating one machine causes snow to cover the land; another brings on a sudden driving rainstorm accompanied by flashes of lightning.

bring the island back to life

Giving no clear directions, ROM leaves it up to the player, who takes the form of a beam of glittering light, to uncover how and in what order to awaken the machines.


If, like me, you need a time out from the news, this game’s shifting weather, soothing music, and beautifully rendered graphics amount to the perfect little escape from our stressful reality. Driven wholly by atmosphere, without much in the way of traditional gameplay, this game can be your new happy place … even if just for the few minutes that it takes to play.

Explore ROM’s uninhabited wilderness here.