Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Orwell Review

Orwell is an indie game from last year that I picked up on the latest Steam sale.  It got a little bit of buzz for end of the year lists so I wanted to check it out.

Orwell is about information.  And privacy.  And freedom of speech.  All three of these things havve always been super interesting topics for me so that was a plus in it's favor right away.  But not only was it dealing with issues I care about, it also has unique gameplay.

Basically, you're a member of the new Orwell program that has been given access to everyone's digital information.  Once someone has been declared a person of interest you can dig into anything you want about them.  Often this means you need to figure out who they are first.  Sometimes you only have a username to start with, or an alias, or almost nothing.  But you slowly piece together a picture of who these people are by using the data that you find.

It's a look at what could be with such an interconnected informationally driven society.  There are analogs to chat messenger programs, social media, government databases.

This is a game that had a big impact on me and I immediately wanted to discuss it with others, but no one I know has played it.  You know that feeling you get after you finish an amazing book and just need to talk about it right away but you can't because no one else has read it yet?  That's how I felt wrapping up Orwell.

Orwell is one of the most fascinating games I've played in years.  If I had played it in 2016 it would have made my end of the year list for sure.

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