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Outpunned And Outgunned: AdvertCity

Faced with a title like AdvertCity, I have to concede defeat, pop the cap back on my best punning pen and call it a day. It’s strong work and there’s an intriguing slice of game hiding between the delicious word-layers. Originally released as part of the Cyberpunk Jam, AdvertCity is a strategy game that plays out like a more realistic version of Syndicate. Instead of taking over a city by means of miniguns and Persuadertrons, the corporations of AdvertCity utilise billboards and advertising blimps. I suppose it could be argued that advertisements are a low-tech form of the Persuadertron but BLIMPS. Observe.

Cities grow procedurally and are affected by the kind of advertising they’re saturated with.

The city will start out small and will grow based on how you choose to advertise. Make it grow by advertising for the housing and construction megacorps , make your money and keep them happy by selling music, booze and other… entertainments. As you gain reputation with the megacorps they’ll give you access to an ever larger arsenal of advertising techniques with which to sway the masses.

You can switch your perspective between meatspace and cyberspace at any time. The aesthetic of the physical city is a permanently-dusky neo-noir inspired by everything from Blade Runner to Dark City. The digital space is a bright neon retro-vector fantasy reminiscent of the Gibson in Hackers or the glimpses of cyberspace in Ghost in the Shell.

The ‘other’ entertainments, so shady and nefarious that they require an ellipsis to introduce them, are probably rambunctious games of Twister and Frederick Hijinx Heavily Fermented Apple Sauce.

VoxelStorm, the team behind the game, are only asking for £1,200 on their Kickstarter page, clearly not having gotten the hang of the whole sinister megacorp thing. Ask for ✂1,200,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 and see what happens.

The low target makes sense though. The prototype is already available (although only to backers) and fully functional. Weekly snapshots will be delivered and the full release is expected in June.

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Adam Smith

former Deputy Editor

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