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Californium is an exploration game co-developed by Darjeeling and Nova Productions, and released in February 2016 for Microsoft Windows and OS X. Californium was developed as a tribute to science-fiction author Philip K. Dick on the 30th anniversary of his death. The player controls Elvin Green, a struggling writer dealing with family matters, as he discovers the means to manipulate reality, and explores several surreal landscapes.
As an exploration game, the player can move Green around the current level, but has no direct means to interact with it. Several non-playable characters can be approached to initiate a one-side dialog with them. Through each level are several cathode-ray tube monitors that once discovered will present a Roman numeral value to the player. This represents the number of reality-warping points that must be found in the nearby area. These points are marked with a glowing Θ (Theta) glyph, but may require the player to look upon the point from a specific vantage point, to turn to look at the point from a specific direction, or to look near the point to eliminate objects in front of it to make it appear. When the glyph is hidden, objects nearby will flicker in and out of reality, allowing the player to recognize the glyph is nearby. Once the glyph is found, the player interacts with their controllers to activate it. This causes a spherical bubble of a new reality to replace what had previously been there. Once all the glyphs for a section are found, the player is given some narrative for the game, and other sections of the level may be made available. Once all sections are completed in the same manner, the player must then find the right vantage point on the level to active a final large glyph that spans across many difference surfaces.
Elvin Green is a struggling writer living in Berkeley, California in 1967. Following the death of his daughter Alice, and the departure of his wife Thea Trauberg, Green is struggling writer's block, unable to come up with new material for a book; his publisher threatens to drop him, he's in danger of being evicted from his apartment, and his drug addiction is escalating, manifesting in short seizures. Green suddenly hears a voice in his head coming from the static on his television, telling him to seek out images of the Theta. In finding these, Green is able to alter his reality and slip into a new one.
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Californium System Requirements
- Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8 / 10
- Processor: 2.0 GHz
- RAM: 4 GB
- Video Card: 512 MB
- Hard disk space: 2 GB