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Orwell: You ARE Big Brother

Big Brother is watching you! But in this case, you're Big Brother and you soon learn that there is a lot more than what we see on the surface.

Something I heard time and time again growing up was to watch what you post on social media. If you wouldn't want your grandma to see it, it probably shouldn't be there. And I've finally found a game that points out just how right that statement is. That game is Orwell, an episodic title from developer Osmotic Studios.

In Orwell, you play as a human researcher -- a citizen of a different country whose job is to examine data and report to a handler. Your job is that of an unbiased observer -- you have all the access to your target's personal information, and it's up to you to choose what is important to the case. Sounds like some futuristic spy stuff, but there is something to it. Orwell is based on a concept known as Open-source Intelligence -- a method of using freely accessible data such as social media and blogs to gather intelligence on people and organizations.

As the researcher, you have a suite of tools at your disposal to gather information on your person's of interest for your case. The Orwell system even takes out some of the guess-work by highlighting relevant text based on information you've collected previously. You can also eavesdrop on conversations and even do some light computer hacking to get you closer to the truth.

The interesting concept behind Orwell is that during your research you'll come across conflicting data and you have to make the very human choice of what data you give to the handler to build their case. In some cases, the choice is simple and the evidence is there in black and white. Other times, it's not that easy to discern the true motives and the bigger picture. 

in-game picture from Orwell

I think this is where the allure lies -- there is no "wrong" choice, but what you choose to give the handler to work with determines how the game progresses and has very real consequences to what happens in the game.

If this sounds like something you'd be interested in playing but not quite sure how into the game you'll be, you're in luck. There is a demo version of the game on their Steam page that gives you access to the first chapter of play. 

What did you think of the demo? Share your opinion with me in the comments below and tell me what you think makes this game interesting to you.

Published Nov. 22nd 2016

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