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.
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.
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.