Here’s the concept behind a videogame in the “stealth” genre: you maneuver past a series of puzzles and obstacles, all the while avoiding the virtual gaze of guards, cameras, robot panopticons, etc. This idea has led to some good, even great, games. But in our age of constant, government-sanctioned surveillance, maybe it’s lacking verisimilitude. In “Nothing To Hide,” created by Nick Liow, you do everything you can to stay within the dystopian government’s stare. (Those who don’t are shot on sight.) All of your virtual avatar’s thoughts and private conversations are automatically “posted” above her head in Facebook-like updates, keeping you informed while you carefully navigate the world.
If you’re not convinced a cheeky idea like that can carry an entire game, you can play the demo now. And I think you should! There’s more going on than the video here suggests: the social media spoof delivers the beginning of the story, which makes for a darkly hilarious (if not exactly subtle) prologue.
The game’s still in production, and Liow’s seeking funding to finish the project. But rather than going through Kickstarter or another site, he’s trying an inventive idea: “I don’t take your entire pledge upfront. I only claim part of your pledge for each new milestone I hit, and you can cancel the rest of your pledge at any time. You only complete your pledge when I complete my project,” he writes on the game’s site. If the $40,000 goal is reached, he takes 25 percent of each donation. Then, another 25 percent when it reaches its alpha stage (prototype), another 25 percent when it reaches beta (testing), and the rest when the game finally comes out.
The entire game is open to whomever wants to experiment with it: the code is posted online, and a public domain license lets anyone interested host, remix, or do anything else. Definitely a project to keep an eye on.