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Video Horror: Ain't No Party Like A Glitchy SpyParty

Throw your hands in the air, then merge them into your torso like you just don't care.

Sometimes glitches and bugs are more than mere annoyances. Sometimes they’re joyful farce, as in Soldner. Sometimes they turn patch notes into a kind of poetry. Sometimes, as in the SpyParty video below, they’re shrieking nightmare fuel that will keep you awake at night for weeks to come.

This would be my reaction too, if I was at a house party and a friend was suddenly sniped through a window.

SpyParty has been in development since 2009 and is currently available as a purchasable beta. It works by two players assuming the roles of a spy and a sniper. The spy has to blend in with NPC characters at a party while planting bugs, switching objects, and performing other scripted tasks. The sniper is sat outside the party and observing everything that’s happening while trying to detect which of the people inside is the human, and therefore the spy. When the sniper thinks they’ve worked it out, they take a shot, and find out if they’re correct.

The result is a game that’s based around human psychology and highly competitive. It’s possible as a sniper to be absolutely convinced that a computer character is human. The tension as the spy, when a laser dot is focused on your head, is unlike almost anything else in videogames.

Developer Chris Hecker has been updating the game regularly since it launched into beta, and records livestreams of each patch’s release notes. The video below details the latest changes to versions 3076 and 3091; don’t worry, the nightmarish bug shown above has since been fixed. The most interesting information is that Hecker is working towards adding replays and a spectator mode. As thoughtful and quiet a game as SpyParty can be, the tension it builds makes it great to watch other people play.

Check out the official site for more. Getting into the beta currently costs $15/£9.12.

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Graham Smith

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