Tacoma’s space station corridors, seemingly cold and barren, are alive with story. You can explore them to your heart’s content, piecing together a tale about the station’s crew—and much more. Or you can just stand around and do nothing, if you want.
Your character, Amy Ferrier, is a corporate contractor responding to a distress call from the station. Part of her job involves initiating a series of AI data transfers, but they take a while. If you’re playing the game the normal way, you’ll use that time to explore and examine the game’s hologram ghost story from a variety of angles. As you do so, the data transfer meters will fill more quickly.
Maybe, though, you’re irrationally dedicated to the fictional space job you’ve had for all of five minutes, and you want to do it by the book, damn it. That works too, as it turns out! Tacoma writer and designer Steve Gaynor says the data transfers eventually complete on their own, and you can finish the game by just keeping your eye on the metaphorical ball. Specifically, he explained on Twitter, data transfers take about three hours each if you just wait for them to finish, adding up to a total of around nine hours of pulse-pounding, high-octane nothing. “And yes,” added Gaynor, “you can complete the game this way.”
Asked if the game awards players an achievement for doing this, Gaynor said it did at one point, but the dev team ultimately thought better of the idea because “we realized it was a major dick move to make people idle their game for 9 hours for a cheevo.”