Surveillance games --- Dystopian themes that make you think

FYI man, alright. You could sit at home, and do like absolutely nothing, and your name goes through like 17 computers a day. 1984? Yeah right, man. That’s a typo. Orwell is here now. He’s livin’ large. We have no names, man. No names. We are nameless!

I’ve been on a surveillance game bender this past while and thought it might be fun to discuss the games and the themes that they touch on.

Most of y’all will know that I’m a sucker for a hacker game, and surveillance games scratch many of the same itches.

At their core, they all tend to be games about uncovering secret/hidden information and connecting the clues to reveal the game’s ultimate mystery.

A free game that we played in a recent GameClub that does this brilliantly is Digital: A Love Story, one of Christine Love’s earlier games.

Games that are neither hacker, nor surveillance games that hit all the same dopamine receptors in my brain [citation needed] are titles like Papers, Please, Her Story, Oxenfree, and To The Moon. Even horror games like Stasis and F.E.A.R have a mystery element to them that not only adds to the horror, but is catnip for a mystery freak like me.

Anyway… back to surveillance games.

I recently finished Orwell: Keeping an Eye on You, and before that Do Not Feed the Monkeys.

The themes are fairly obvious: surveillance state == bad, but what I like about Orwell is that it also offers a more nuanced perspective. If you do your job right, you can prevent tragedy.

I guess I have two questions:

  1. Any recommendations of games in a similar vein?

  2. What do in our hyper-connected world? Is there a middle-ground to be had between freedom, privacy, surveillance, and safety?

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Take a look at this game, I think it represents the surveillance genre really well.

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