Tape Recovery Simulator 96K Is An Upcoming Game About Data Recovery

Tape Recovery Simulator 96K Is An Upcoming Game About Data Recovery

There was once a time when “simulator” games were exclusively the domain of dedicated enthusiasts who relished these titles’ complexity. Even uttering the “word” game in the same breath as these simulation titles were enough to garner hostile stares, if not lengthy admonishments from fans. Those days are long gone, though, and seeing the word “Simulator” in a game’s title more often than not means it’s aimed at screaming YouTubers. In fact, unless it has the words “Microsoft” and “Flight” in the title, we tend to regard any so-called “Simulator” with a healthy dose of skepticism.

Needless to say, the arrival of a press release announcing Tape Recovery Simulator 96K raised a few eyebrows. It is the work of Caffeine Withdrawal Game and promises to focus on the act of recovering data off of reluctant old tapes. Those who grew up during the ’80s and early ’90s will be very familiar with this storage medium. Tapes could hold a whopping 600 kb of data, stored as actual sound, but reliability wasn’t exactly their strong suit. Typically, you could kiss your data goodbye if you left a tape anywhere near a strong magnetic or electrified field for too long. This might not sound too unreasonable until you discover that everything from televisions and cathode monitors to speakers could wreck your tapes.

Tape Recovery Simulator 96K is built around the premise that even after decades of mistreatment, some of the data on a tape can still be recovered. According to Caffeine Withdrawal Game, their philosophy is “games you haven’t played before,” and from the sound of it, TRS 96K lives up to this. The game will allow players to interact with a simulated tape player with all the properties of the original hardware and a few new ones. They will then have to use it to recover data from audiotapes with multiple degrees of corruption. Doing so will involve everything from tweaking the sound to using old data recovery tricks such as header swapping, audio channel, swapping, leader shortcircuiting, and more. The descrambling, decryption, decoding, searching, and piecing together of data will also be featured in the game.

TRS 96K will wrap up all the tape recovery simulation elements of the game in the framework of being an ESS employee with an absurd boss dishing out (semi-)impossible tasks. Players will even be able to discover and assemble stories, fake art, real art, and conspiracy theories over the course of their tape recovery careers. In addition, the game promises 8bit applications and minigames (BASIC / machine code) that are waiting to be recovered, repaired, executed, re-executed, and re-re-executed. Even better, it will all be displayed with an 8bit look and feel devoid of any cutscenes.

There is a trailer for TRS 96K, so check it out below to get a better idea of what the game will be all about. Caffeine Withdrawal Game can also be found on Twitter, so head on over to give them a follow or hop on their discord to discuss the game.


  1. Aiteksimo June 16, 2021

    papers please meets u-he satin?

    • claudiu@caffeinewithdrawalgames June 17, 2021

      Yes, I guess you could say that.
      Some thoughts here:

      There will be no time pressure as gameplay mechanics, the way Papers Please has.
      Even if the in-game management (http://caffeinewithdrawalgames.com/TRS/details.html#boss) will breath down your neck, a quality data extraction will be favored. Sharp reflexes are nice-to-have rather than mandatory.

      The core of the gameplay mechanics will focus on converting the analogue sound to data (demodulation) and further shaping of the data to a manageable form.

      Audio (music) tapes will be featured, but that’s just to provide a soundtrack for the game; they won’t be part of the gameplay

      • Aiteksimo June 17, 2021

        I was being a bit flippant, but thanks for the clarification. Is there any word on a release date and platform yet?

        • claudiu@caffeinewithdrawalgames June 17, 2021

          Early access release is scheduled for this fall (approximate figure, it might take a few more quarters).
          Initially it will only be available for PC. Mac and *nix are good possibilities depending on the user demand.

  2. Return2Monk June 16, 2021

    Screaming youtubers? I’m sure I heard at least one member of the gameramble team scream in the Killing Floor 2 videos on youtube 😉

  3. claudiu@caffeinewithdrawalgames June 17, 2021

    I might be a little biased here, but the article is just amazing!

    Many thanks GAMERamble!

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