Gadget: Invention, Travel & Adventure

aka: Gadget: El pasado es el futuro, Gadget: Past as Future
Moby ID: 3741
Macintosh Specs

Description official descriptions

Gadget puts you in a strange surreal world were a comet appears to be heading for the earth. Most people dismiss this situation since apparently it won't collide with us, however a group of scientists scramble to develop a way to stop this comet. Whether they want to destroy it, divert it, or whatever is unknown however, and you are charged with the task to find out what really is going on.

The game is viewed from a first person perspective and progresses as an adventure game, where the emphasis is to explore and discover rather than solve puzzles (this seems to be the Japanese concept of an adventure game) so ultimately it is not so much of a game as it is more an interactive "tour de force".

Groups +



Credits (Macintosh version)

20 People (19 developers, 1 thanks)

Directed by
Story Developed by
Music Composed by
Graphics Assistance
Computer Programming
Chief Designer
Special Thanks to
English Translation
  • David
Project Management
Product Manager
Manufacturing Manager
Packaging Conception
Created and Distributed by
  • SYNERGY Inc.
Adapted in English and Published by
  • Cyro Interactive Entertainment



Average score: 61% (based on 14 ratings)


Average score: 3.1 out of 5 (based on 18 ratings with 3 reviews)


The Good
Understanding Gadget is pretty much an impossible task, just as previous games from Haruhiko Shono like Alice Interactive Museum or L-Zone, which garnered some modicum of notoriety when initially released for Macs (more of a testament of the lack of quality games for Mac than anything else really), the game is really not a game but instead an outlet for Mr. Shono's artistic visions. This is probably the clearest example of videogames as art, not in the "oh it means something so deep" sense of art (which is actually more allegory than anything else) but in the sense of art as an abstract representation of subconcious ideas through a medium, in this case an interactive story of a meteor on it's way to earth.

"Digital Artistry" has become a much too prostituted terms these days, with just about anyone doing some meaningless shit on the net being called a "Digital Artist", but Shono was one of the original pionners that dared not only to investigate the artistic posibilities behind 3D modeling and interactive storytelling, and he managed to release commercial products and not just relegate his creations to underground art houses. Granted, the timing couldn't have been better for Mr. Shono, at the time when he released his "games" the "multimedia revolution" was in full swing, and publishers everywhere were more than happy to publish anything with lots of videos, images and that took up a lot of cds...

Anyhow, provided you understand what you are getting into then you'll be rewarded with a pretty interesting... uh... "experience" when you load Gadget up. You'll essentially engage in a dream-like trip into the Gadget world with the excuse being for you to find a group of scientists that have some connection with the approaching meteor. The world of Gadget is a victorian empire that is really a bizarre collection of impressionist, victorian-like, sepia colored locations that seem to borrow elements from noir mistery films, in fact if there's someplace that reminds me of the Gadget world is the city from Metropolis and the one in Dark City, except the penchant for towering skyscrappers is replaced with a penchant for trains and mechanical machinery.

The characters in the game serve all sort of symbolic purposes that would surely turn the game into a field trip for any psychologist that tries this game out. There's a dissapearing mute kid that comes and goes for no apparent reason, a shady government officer called Theodore Slowslop (??) that comes and pushes you around the assignment, and I'll be damned if the scientist themselves don't represent a fragment of a collective psyche. Similarly, there are a lot of actions in the game that obviously have a deeper meaning, such as getting off a train in the middle of nowhere to follow a glinting light, or chasing after that elusive kid, etc... If you've seen movies like Fellini's Amarcord then you know the deal, lots of seemingly meaningless characters, doing seemingly meaningless things that collectively are representative of a bigger meaning for the creators. Just what meaning is that is pointless to try and figure out, being an intellectual game fit for those with just too much time on their hands. The fun part is really figuring out what they mean to you and what emotions they trigger, it sure helps to be in sync with the creator, but otherwise it's a free-for-all experience.

The technical aspect for the uh... "product" is truly top-notch, with stellar pre-rendered graphics (done by Shono himself) that illustrate the Gadget world with lush detail and a great sense of style. The game is really after all a Myst-like slideshow, so graphic detail is a given. As for the movies themselves they are lovingly animated but fall prey to the shitty compression techniques of the time using very early Quicktime videos. The haunting music composed by Koji Ueno deserves special praise however as it uses a collection of imaginative arrangements and experimental sounds that perfectly suit the game and create a surreal atmosphere for the game itself. It sounds like the more imaginative scores by Oscar/Golden Globe winning composer Ryuichi Sakamoto and it truly deserves to be listened to on its own.

The Bad
Unfortunately if you are going into this thinking above all of getting a good gameplay experience, or even worse: to at least enjoy an interactive movie-like story, then the joke's on you. Even if Gadget is Shono's most game-like product it's still a far cry from what one would consider to be an actual game, think of it as Myst meets a hentai game, only you don't even get the actions menu, or any sort of coherent story at all (and certainly no sex...).

The Bottom Line
Know what's what before dipping into Gadget, a must for collectors and fans of the bizarre, but remember: It's art, not a game, and never before has this distinction become so important.

Windows · by Zovni (10504) · 2004


The Good
Gadget is less a game than an interactive movie and as such it left a lot of players confused: There are no real challenges, few choices to make, and the game can easily be finished in one sitting. What then is the appeal? First, and obvious from the get-go, are the graphics. Every image in this game is a work of art. Second, the story which is told in a style very intrinsic to modern Japanese story telling. (The game is from Japan.) To a western player the surreal events and odd characters may be a bit hard to follow, but a fan of the writing of Haruki Murakami or the films of Kyoshi Kurosawa will be right at home. The story told in such a way that the player can continue to piece it together even after the game is over.

The Bad
Despite what I just said, it would have been nice to encounter at least some adversity. You can walk around and look at what you like, but when its time to move on the game yanks you ahead, always in the right (and only) direction.

The Bottom Line
I would recommend Gadget to anyone wanting to experience something a little different. There are no puzzles, no chance of dying, and no need for a walkthrough. You'll even be prompted when its time to use your inventory.

If you want to continue the Gadget experience, I suggest you try "The Third Force" by Marc Laidlaw. Its a novel set in the Gadget world that tells a story based on the game but clearly moving in its own direction. How the novel relates in canon to the game is unclear but you can read the book first or play the game first: either one will leave you wondering about the outcome of the other.

Macintosh · by Jordan Owen (13) · 2006

But the box looked so cool in the store...

The Good
You wake up in a hotel room. You aren't too certain about anything. You look through your case, look across the hall, there's a strange gadget over there. A machine, a mystery. The basic story has been used before, but this time you have to help save the world. Character names often evoke an espionage - (Horselover, Slowslop)- type environment that is not usually associated with scientists. The story unfolds slowly feeding you just enough information to keep you interested.

The Bad
I really hated the way the game guides you through everything. You can't really make any mistakes and contrary to the claims on the the box, there is precious little to explore. The engine leaves much to be desired and the game is by far too easy. My husband who can barely type a letter in Word completed it in 3 days. It is too boring and simplistic for true gamers and not "fun" enough for kids.

The Bottom Line
This is your basic let's make a game that looks sort of cool and has an interesting soundtrack. Now who do we know that might be able to write a little code? I would avoid the game unless you are dying of boredom and want something to speed the process up. It is purported to be a mystery/RPG type game unfortunately, it is too controlled in your choices and actions. You have to meet certain people, find certain things and assemble the machine in time to save the world. The interface is cludgy and restricting. The story is nothing new and I found it has no replay value. I advise you to do something more interesting than play this game, like watching potted plants drink water.

Windows · by zeta thompson (50) · 2002


Subject By Date
correction submitted years ago...No DOS Version! eXo (346) Jul 28, 2014


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Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 3741
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Zovni.

PlayStation, FM Towns added by Infernos. Pippin added by Kabushi. Macintosh added by Ace of Sevens. Windows 3.x added by Jeanne.

Additional contributors: Jeanne, Sciere.

Game added April 11, 2001. Last modified January 23, 2024.