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Who watches the Watchmen?

I have entered into the rabbit hole once again with the alternate reality game (ARG) The Black Watchmen.

I along with many others first encountered The Black Watchmen as part of The Secret World MMO launch ARG event, I wear my Black Watchmen hoodie in game at every opportunity.
This ARG was designed by Alice and Smith it was spun off to be independent from TSW and kickstarted into it’s own entity, giving it a more permanent feel and a very expanded world, now with three DLC released and a strong online community the game continues to grow in strength.

Unlike titles like Orwell the game doesn’t confine itself to the software that is being used, it expects you to jump out and navigate to and interact with websites, trawl over the clues and data.

Warning!
I will give you a warning that the game features images, videos and topics that may be mature in nature, such as violence, gore, blood, and other grotesque themes.

The game has 50% off in the Steam sale that runs out tomorrow, so if you fancy giving it a go then act fast.

Shadow of Orwell

The year is 2017 and you have been successfully selected to become an investigator surveying the online presence of the denizens of The Nation, monitoring their electronic communications, files and interactions. Using the latest tool in the government’s arsenal ORWELL, you are thrown into the thick of things after an explosion occurs in the Nation’s Capitol.

orwelllogo

Over the past four weeks I have had the pleasure of consuming the episodic game Orwell by Surprise Attack Games, I have found myself eagerly awaiting the weekly email summoning me into action. Slowly watching the story unfold has made me both excited and anxious, in equal measure, I think having the episodes ready for a weekly release was very nicely timed, it built the suspense but didn’t keep you waiting too long like some other episode driven games.

I really enjoyed playing this game and found that there was a good amount of flavour information that gave you a more detailed understanding of the world in which you inhabit. The characters had good feeling of depth and I found that I could empathise with their feelings and actions. I won’t hide the fact that the game has a linear direction, which isn’t unexpected due to type of game, however the choices that you make along in all episodes the way have ramifications on short and long term events.

Summary

This futuristic game hints that the passing of a government “Safety Bill” has resulted in the lowest levels of violent crime, but it also poses the questions “How much is too much?” and of course “At what cost”. Sadly the themes in the game are now a reality of the real world we inhabit, with the Investigatory Powers Act a looming reality that includes mass surveillance in the UK, of course in the name of safety. Orwell does a very good job at illustrating how such a system can be implemented and utilised to be the point of being intrusive, disruptive or in some cases deadly.

The game also highlights how opinions/messages posted in the public domain (social media) can be misconstrued and used against a person.

Give it a go

If you are interested in I would encourage you to try out the first episode http://orwellgame.com/ for free, be advised that the first episode acts like a tutorial inpart so can feel like you are being handheld.

Maybe the recruitment video will help you decide.

No Man’s Cup of Tea

With No Man’s Sky releasing this last week we enter the marmite period of game launch (some hate it, some love it). Once again many people stumble with the “It’s not the game I ( was looking for/ expected it to be/ was lead to believe i would get)” then appear the demands on game makers to amend/change/fix those elements that someone doesn’t like.

nomansskyIt’s strange as asking for change can vary depending on the complexicities involved. For example returning a meal as it was served cold is within the realms of acceptable demands since you expect a certain level of quality. However shouting that you didn’t like the ending/cast/ art direction of a film isn’t going to achieve anything since it’s pretty much set in stone, maybe the director’s cut maybe extended or have alternative ends, but generally you achieve nothing.

It’s peculiar how games tend to face a very different treatment. That’s not saying devs shouldn’t fix faults or address issues, but demanding more of developers, post release seems unfair, especially when the production time on games can be equal or greater than many large film productions.

Clearing up confusion

It’s clear to see that many people who thought the game was going to be something different, were they misinformed or not paying attention?
This couldn’t have been clearer in the following tweet that was posted during launch week:

There are many questions:

  • Did players make an assumption?
  • Is the single player game a dying breed these days?
  • Was there an element of lost in translation?

I have not been following the games development, as in I knew NOTHING about the game until this week. My perception is that the game launch maybe buggy a little, just like any other title. The gameplay I had watched as been fun and those playing it haven’t complained about much besides those common issues.

I haven’t bought the game myself, but I’m sorely tempted to use my Humble discount to pick up the game for the 10% off and 10% to a charity of my choice but I have so many titles in my Steam backlog it’s becoming harder to justify new titles.


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