Back in 1984, Nomadic aliens, the Lysergians from CyberdelicV, were exploring space and stumbled upon Earth. They intercepted media transmissions from the planet and were intrigued by human music, so they descended upon the world.
Many humans were afraid when the ship arrived and thought the "War of the Worlds" was coming to life, even though these aliens were just curious, shy, & generally quite friendly. Governments, however, decided to shoot down the alien ship upon arrival to the planet. While most of the aliens survived, the spaceship was incapacitated and crashed on the outskirts of a major metropolis now called Nonfun City. The essential destruction of the ship caused the alien power source, a fuel that causes similar effects to LSD when anyone is exposed to it, to disperse across the planet earth and become permanently mixed into the earth's atmosphere. This has resulted in all sentient life suffering a now decades-long psychedelic experience, which is known simply as "the trip." And, with their power source depleted, the aliens were trapped on earth.
In the years that followed, humans built robots, "automatons", with help from the aliens. Their biotechnology gave the automatons personalities along with their hardwired programming. Their original directive was to assist in creating a cure for the trip. The automatons eventually developed the "Totems of Power" as their first attempt to help end the trip.
The events have set back technological advancement on earth. In many ways, the current world is still stuck in the '80s. The humans, aliens, and automatons live together in cities riddled with tripped-out crime.