Indietail – Tape Recovery Simulator 96K

Today we’re taking a look at Tape Recovery Simulator 96K, a game about recovering data from tapes – the most reliable saving medium that ever existed. Rediscover the art of hating yourself for doing this and immerse yourself in the sound of data being loaded! Deal with pesky bosses and wacky technology and risk getting very much into old technology and making questionable purchases with a very low wife acceptance factor. TRS96K is in essence a homage to old tech that we luckily no longer use!

Developer: CaffeineWithdrawalGames
Publisher: CaffeineWithdrawalGames
Genre: Early Access, Simulation, 2D, Retro, Puzzle
Release Date: Q4 2021/Q1 2022
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC
Copy was provided by the developer.

First things first, the game isn’t out yet but it will launch in Early Access in 2021’s Q4/2022’s Q1. It’s a 2D Simulation-type game that makes you scan, rewind, and recover old tapes to please the higher-ups over at Expert-Expert Systems and earn money! I think! The game is incredibly hard because it’s trying to be as close to the real deal as possible. Since loading times would take ages in the 80s, however, the game also features a loading button that enables you to fast forward a bit. 

As mentioned above, there is money in the game but I have no idea how you earn it (presumably through completing jobs?) or what you need it for… because I actually haven’t the final exam in the tutorial yet. The main reason for me not beating the tutorial is that the game’s pretty tricky. You have to fine-tune the volume that goes into the “microEmulator” using the “UltraFine Tuning” software… All of this can be a bit tedious and even when you load the right sections and scan it properly, there can still be something wrong with it… and I’m at a loss right now as to what it is that is wrong. I think it’s fine for the game to be difficult since it wants to be somewhat tedious and annoying… My main issue is that when something is wrong, there is no way of getting help or a hint or finding out what’s wrong exactly. 

Yes, I failed the tutorial. I mean, the final exam but still…

Still, I love the idea. I love the game. It’s fun in a frustrating way if that makes sense, and I’m gonna sit down again once I don’t have a migraine to tweak this audio until I beat the tutorial… and then I’ll do the same for the main game. I feel like “realistic” games like this or “realistic” simulations are pretty niche overall, so not everyone is gonna love TRS96K. But personally, I like the idea and the fact that it doesn’t have a UI per sé or even any loading screens. Do you see that screenshot up there? That’s a desktop. And that’s not just any desktop but actually MY desktop. The game opens up multiple windows that you can move around and resize but in essence, your boss will communicate through e-mails and you will work using different programs in this game – on your actual desktop. It’s an incredibly cool idea and I just love it. Naturally, this means that you’ll like the background art in the game, haha.

Ignore the time, I couldn’t sleep.

All in all, I’d say that this might be the most unique experience I had in terms of gameplay this year. I love the concept although the tutorial is quite tricky… but it’s tricky in a good way, I think, and while I still gotta beat the tutorial, I’m looking forward to completing this final task, essentially. Feel free to wishlist Tape Recovery Simulator 96K on Steam if you want to! You may wanna check this out once it releases if you’re willing to go on a trip down memory lane… or if you’re (like me) too young to have experienced data storage via tapes and if you’re curious about how it works. It’s really enjoyable though a tad frustrating!


This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken. If you like what you see here and want to see more, you can check me out on Twitch and YouTube as well. If you find this post on a website other than, please write an e-mail to me. Thank you!

2 thoughts on “Indietail – Tape Recovery Simulator 96K

Add yours

  1. Truly amazing article!

    Just clarifying a couple of points :

    Throughout its EA phase, TRS96K will try new concepts that can be voted ( voting system should be become available just after the EA release). The hint system is one of them. It’s not fully implemented for the EA release.

    TRS96K uses gameplay mechanics of reward and punishment that all games use: You do good, you get the next piece of content, and your brain should release a tiny drop of the happy chemical that keeps gamers in the game. You do bad, you get to retry and there’s no chemical for you. The content is only revealed to you if you’re worthy and you need to struggle for it. The bigger the challenge, the greater the reward. That’s gaming 101.

    Liked by 1 person

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