Fear of a videogame dystopia

Some weeks ago, a piece of news shook my world. It wasn’t the primary election results, nor was it Muhammad “The Greatest” Ali’s passing—even though that one was really, really sad. Nope, it was a parrot. CBS reported on June 10th that Bud, an African grey parrot who kept repeating the phrase ‘don’t fucking shoot’ after his owner was murdered, could become a witness in trial. We all read bizarre stories online every day, but this one instantly reminded me of a Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (2001) case, where a parrot testifies in court—and there’s more to the parallel too,…


Orwell will have you play as the surveillance state for once

You might not be surprised to find out that Osmotic Studios’s narrative exploration game Orwell is firmly linked to George Orwell’s 1984 (1949). Orwell takes place in a dystopian world not unlike that of 1984; Orwell’s world is called The Nation—and security is the highest concern of the government. A series of terrorist attacks sparked a secret (and totally creepy) security program called, well, Orwell. And guess what? You get to control it. You’re Big Brother. The whole game takes place on a desktop—think Her Story (2015) or Cibele (2015). Orwell compiles information from websites, messengers, and public records; it’s up…


What the hell is Broken Reality?

What the hell have I gotten myself into for you people? Is there a virus on my computer? I feel like there should be a virus on my computer. All I wanted to do was write a story about videogames when I found myself on the Tumblr for a game called Broken Reality. Of course, aside from “game” being in the URL, I wouldn’t have known that’s what it was. All I saw before my eyes was a collection of neon kitsch framed within what looked like a desktop running Windows 95. Bewildered, I decided to check the “About” section,…