Influences Behind Haruki Murakami Inspired Game, Memoranda

I got the chance to talk to Memoranda lead game designer, Sahand Saedi back in 2015 when they originally launched the successful project on Kickstarter. The game is inspired by the surreal stories of international best-selling author Haruki Murakami. Memoranda tells the story of a young woman who cannot remember her name, and according to the developers, deals with memory, forgetting, and being forgotten.

Billy: Murakami and his work is what brought me to the game. Right off the bat, I have to ask: What are your favorite Murakami novels?

Sahand: I really enjoyed reading Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World! And I wish I could turn it into a video game but it's nearly impossible for me because of its complexity. Most of Murakami's short stories are among my favorites.

B: To continue with the topic of Murakami, I wanted to ask: Memoranda features similarities such as an Elephant trying to become human or fantastical elements within the environment. Can you speak about the inspirations outside of Murakami that influenced the game's design, as well as the art? (I loved the duck-looking fellow in the suit!)

duck guy.png

S: Memoranda was a very short game at the beginning and it was inspired by one story. I added puzzles and characters to that and it became bigger and I had to add stories for each of them. Lots of other things inspired me when making the game bigger, for example, my love for science, music, literature, or even my friends! For example, one of Memoranda's characters who is a musician is my friend in the real world.

B: Could the game have been any other type of game besides a point-and-click adventure?

S: I don't think so! It's better to say I wasn't able to do that because I played point-and-click [adventure games] most of my life!

B: Right! You mentioned before that some of your favorites are Grim Fandango and Machinarium. How excited were you when they announced the remastered Grim Fandango on PlayStation 4?

Cover of Haruki Murakami's The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

Cover of Haruki Murakami's The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

S: I was following the news when they first announced they were going to publish a remastered version. It was the last Lucas Arts title I played, and [it has] the best ending! I was very happy that they made it possible for a younger generation to play one of the best adventures of all time.

B: You added cats as a reward for backing the Kickstarter! A classic nod to Murakami stories. With that being said, will there be sheepmen, or wind-up birds in the game?

S: We didn't expect people to pay for our rewards that soon, and I heard people were worried if there were no cats in our game! I didn't want to show how many cats we had in Memoranda so I added those rewards. Unfortunately there are no sheepmen or wind-up birds in the game. I used short stories and was a little afraid to go for the novels!

Memoranda officially reached their Kickstarter goal in October of 2015. The team looked into releasing the adventure game in 2016, but took extra time for refinement, and to add extra features such as voice acting.

The game is officially out now on Windows, Mac, and Linux via Steam.

Billy Saefong

Co-founder of Biya Byte and longtime partner-in-crime to Stephen, Billy's primary focus in life is to find the perfect slice of cheesecake (WHERE'S THE WHIPPED CREAM?!) while also doing his best to keep the site and all of its productions alive. He's a self-proclaimed Beatles historian, technology enthusiast and mislabeled Xbox fanboy (he doesn't mind). Most recently, Billy has become the all-around gadget-guy for Biya Byte as his magic backpack carries everything from his trusty Sony a6000, three microphones, and 60'' tripod, to a red Moleskin notebook that holds only what may be described as pure magic.