Surveillance games: 6 indie titles to awaken the NSA agent in you
15 Oct, 2019
“I always feel like somebody’s watching me”, if you ask Rockwell. Check out our round-up of games about scary reach of surveillance.
Like it or not, you’re probably being watched by someone or the other, and you don’t even know it. But what if the tables were turned, and you were the one doing the watching? What would you do with the knowledge, who would you support, how would you determine the truth, and how do you address the morality of your surveillance?
These indies we’ve rounded up below will ask these questions of you, and more. Or, well, you can just spy on strangers, if that’s really more your thing.
Orwell: Keeping an Eye on You
After a series of terrorist attacks rocks “The Nation”, it’s up to you, an agent of the surveillance agency Orwell to spy on ordinary people and drive into their private conversations to uncover who’s responsible. Of course, over the course of the game, the information you learn will lead to deeply personal discoveries, and what you choose to tell Orwell will have consequences.
Keeping an Eye On You is the first season of Orwell, and you can find out more about it here.
Telling Lies gives you control over a laptop that’s brimming with NSA surveillance footage. What will you do with it? Well, watch dubiously-acquired footage of unsuspecting people, of course. Like developer Sam Barlow’s previous game Her Story, you’ll be entering search terms and watching video clips to figure out the truth that links the four surveillance targets together.
For more information on Telling Lies, check out its Steam page.
Beholder takes you to a totalitarian state where you’re a landlord appointed by none other than the government itself. Your job is to spy on your own tenants, eavesdrop on their conversations, search their belongings, and anything else that you can do to figure out what they’re up to. Whether you choose to co-operate with the state or not, you’ll have to deal with the consequences.
For more information on Beholder, check out its official website here.
Need to Know
In Need to Know, you’re working for the Department of Liberty, and your job is to spy on people and determine if they’re dangerous or not. If you’d rather not support the surveillance state, you can also leak data to underground groups, or use the information you’ve gained to your own, personal advantage.
For more information on Need to Know, check out its official website here.
Do Not Feed the Monkeys
One of the stranger entries on this list, in Do Not Feed the Monkeys, you play as a member of the The Primate Observation Club, and you must voyeuristically spy on strangers. You can also choose to intervene in the lives of your subjects (the ‘monkeys’), but doing so may have serious consequences.
For more information on Do Not Feed the Monkeys, check out its official website here.
Orwell: Ignorance is Strength
In a time of fake news and social media, it’s time to once again spy on people. This time, you’re looking at rising civil unrest, and the possibility of a political crisis between the Nation and its neighbouring country. Orwell: Ignorance is Strength takes your surveillance gameplay and amps it up with ‘time of day’ mechanics, and even the ability to manipulate information to your will.
Ignorance is Strength is the second season of Orwell, and you can find out more about it here.
Also have a look at our round-up of the games that are releasing this week. And if you’re still hungry for round-ups, have a look at the one in which we look back on the best games of September 2019.