A Ghost in the Static doesn’t tell you anything. All you know is that you’re a figurine constructed out of some sort of wire and are left to explore a dark, mysterious room. Then you encounter another character in the room with you, and that’s when something unique happens.
Much of A Ghost in the Static focuses on narrative development through dialogue. What’s interesting about it is that you control both sides of the conversation—kinda like you do in Kentucky Route Zero. This allows for a number of different paths in each conversation. Some exchanges might be about the planet that’s visible within the dark room, while another conversation hinged on the same exchange could have the character talking about love.
There are dialogue paths that make far more sense than others, and it’s easy to craft a completely incoherent conversation. For example, multiple interactions could easily begin with the word “hello” as a response to a question. It doesn’t seem to matter much whether or not these conversations make sense as they all ultimately lead to a mysterious ending. However, it is possible to unlock different dialogue options. As you talk to yourself, a transcript of that dialogue appears on screen, which is saved at the end of each interaction to help you avoid repetition.
A Ghost in the Static began as a university project, and it was created by Maggese, a pair of students interested in creating meaningful narrative experiences. They said of A Ghost in the Static: “Its aesthetics are inspired by contemporary architecture and stage design, the theme of the dialogues are inspired by Stanislaw Lem’s Solaris.”
True to its inspirations, the game’s characters have a certain architectural look to them, and the lighting in the dark room is indeed reminiscent of a theatrical stage. Knowing that Solaris also has influence helps to bring the game’s cyclical, conversational form into focus, given that the novel explores human memory and the trouble with humans communicating with non-human species.
Many games by Maggese are offered online as free downloads, and A Ghost in the Static is available through itch.io at a price of your choosing. A Ghost in the Static is also currently on Steam Greenlight in the interest of reaching a larger audience.