When George Orwell first coined the term Big Brother in his epic novel 1984 he didn’t know how right he was. what he didn’t predict is that the term would also be synonymous with 12 wannabe celebrities living in a house together sharing a brain cell. His dystopian future painted a bleak picture of cameras on every corner, eavesdropping on phone calls and monitoring mail and low and behold here we are we all of the negatives and none of the positives.
Over the past few years gaming has begun to embrace this concept and play on the collective consciousness that is a bit annoyed by the lack of privacy. I wanted to look at five games that touch on the idea that Big Brother is watching you:
Infamous: Second Son
Set in a Seattle, Washington that has been locked down by the government, infamous: Second Son is actually the third outing for the series. The paranoid government are intent on rounding up any conduits (people with super power) under a bio terrorism act. You play a dead beat graffiti artist who discovers his powers after helping another conduit from a bus crash. The world is filled with spot checks barricades and DUP officers roaming the streets keeping the populist on check.
This cross platform open world adventure takes the big brother concept to the extreme. You play Aidan Pearce as he runs around Chicago in a not too distant future. This living, breathing city is controlled by a sophisticated computer system that manages everything from the surveillance cameras to the power grid. After gaining access to this system you are able to hack phones, change traffic lights, cut power and control vehicles all via you mobile phone. You sneak through the city hunted by the government as you attempt to topple its over aching regime.
Mirrors Edge Prequel
The Mirror’s Edge games take place in an dystopian city in which most of the populous live comfortable lives where crime is almost wiped out. The city’s state of peace is the achievement of a domineering and totalitarian regime that monitors all communication, controls the different media channels, has hard nose policies on everything from murder to smoking. When we meet Faith in the original Mirrors edge, she is an established runner (a conveyor of secret communications). However, the prequel will look at her original story that will delve deeper into this totalitarian society, her unusual tattoo’s and her quest to rebel against the oppressive government.
Our introduction to the Deus Ex universe begins in 2052, as we roam around a bleak and dark cyberpunk inspired city that is mainly automated. The people are hybrids between flesh and machine and everyone can be tracked and hacked. In the recent reboot, Human Evolution takes us back in time 25 years to the dawn of the nanotechnological augmentations, and turns the player into one of the first human cyborgs.
This one is a real head scratcher when it comes to an explanation. Wikipedia describes it as “a near-real time augmented reality massively multiplayer online pervasive game” and so if that doesn’t clear things up I will try and explain… It’s bit like Foursquare with more game elements and a sci-fi twist. By going to different landmarks and creating portals you assist or rebel against and unseen alien force that is either here to elevate us to the next stage of evolution or crush us. In ingress it is not the government that is always watching but the mysterious ‘shapers’.
Half Life 2
After an incident at Black Mesa where Gordon Freeman accidentally opened a portal to another dimension, the Earth is noticed by an inter dimensional race know as the Combine who prompted invade our planet and take over. The Combine then implemented a ruthless police state of Civil Protection officers and Overwatch soldiers by recruiting and biologically assimilating humans and other species. From then on, its hard to go out anywhere without attracting attention… We’ll find out the conclusion to this epic story if Valve ever get round to finishing it