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Cops, Androids, And Murders In The Right Side Of Town

Fact: androids don't get lung cancer.

D’you remember You Were Made for Loneliness? Y’know, fab Twine game about an android reasserting her sentience? Was maid to a lonely old woman? Came out last year? The one with all the loneliness? That’s the one! 500 years later, Alec, John, Jim, Kieron, Pip, Graham and the rest are all dead, and I’ll still be there ticking away by myself. Meanwhile, in the game, that android is living secretly in human society and has joined the police.

Follow-up game The Right Side of Town [official page] came out earlier this month, and I’ve finally got around to playing it. It’s pretty nice!

The Right Side of Town sees humanity long after fleeing a dying Earth, fragmented into colonies where the rich get rich and oh, you know the rest of how that works. Pretending to be human for 483 years, Naomi has for now settled into a life as a cop and a mother in a corner of the solar system. Then murders start. Then the murders get personal. It’s exciting, with options hinting at things going far worse than I let happen in my first attempt. It’s touching and hopeful and sad too.

Murders are enough of a problem, not helped by fretting about being discovered. We’re all people here, right? With our people emotions? And our people quirks? Right? We’re all real people for real aren’t we? None of us worry at all that someone will rip our skin and discover we’re actually an alien wearing skin as a suit then we’ll peel that off and sit down in the frozen woods and stare at our former face then be set ablaze and wander into the snow and collapse and curl away into the sky as sickening smoke? (Yeah, I guess I have been thinking about Under the Skin recently.)

I mean, obviously it’s also about freedom and rights and complacency and compassion and power and whatnot, but it always seems so weird to state things like this explicitly. I guess I just did. Weird.

The Right Side of Town was written by Javy Gwaltney and Kitty Horrowshow with a cool cybersoundtrack by Erandi Huipe and a few illustrations by Matt Schanuel. It’s $3.50 (£2.70-ish including taxes) from You Were Made for Loneliness is still free too, you know.

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Alice O'Connor

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When not writing news, Alice may be found in the sea.

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