Be A Surveillance Creep In Spy Management Sim Orwell

Here’s something for all you degenerate Facebook voyeurs out there. Orwell [official site] is a privacy-invading sim in which you play a member of the surveillance state tasked with combing through messages and private files of “suspects”. As an ordinary user of The Nation’s new terrorist-tracking system, you have to choose what information to give to the spooks and what to withhold. Although something tells me these suspects are not as criminally inclined as the eerie operating system will have you believe. Take a look for yourself in the trailer below. Maybe open a private tab.

Did you use a private tab? Ha! Your ISP is still tracking your websites, fool. Expect a knock at your door very early tomorrow morning.

Apart from having a very on-the-nose name, Orwell is a Papers, Please-style simulator where difficult decisions about privacy and security will overlap, says its developer Osmotic Studios. There are terrorist atrocities happening in The Nation and your choices as an informer will have repercussions as the story goes on.

It looks like an upgraded version of Project Perfect Citizen, a free desktop investigation sim that made my skin crawl, mixing Windows 95 aesthetic with nosying around in folders that aren’t yours. But there are also vibes of Replica, Top Secret and A Normal Lost Phone. All interesting takes on 21st century communications that appear to be forming a new sub-genre of cyber-detective fiction. The Australian publisher, Surprise Attack Games, also put their weight behind Hacknet, which is encouraging. I am all for getting more games about this type of thing, because I am a massive privacy nerd. I don’t even poke people.

Orwell is scheduled to release in “late 2016”, which gives you plenty of time to microwave your hard drive.


Top comments

  1. GWOP says:

    Frankenstein now denotes the monster, and Orwell is Big Brother.
  1. shocked says:

    (The “official site”-link is a bit broken.)

  2. hughie522 says:

    Ooh, this looks very interesting. I’m reminded of those, “If you see something, say something.” posters ;).

  3. X_kot says:

    This looks neat! There should be a name for this genre of game where you are tasked to operate systems based on your own sense of right and wrong.

    Maybe “morality-driven job simulator” or “systematic ethical-dilemma game”?

    • LetSam says:

      Stasi simulator would be quite fitting. The game’s name is a perfect descriptor for the entire genre in its own right though.

    • grrrz says:

      bureaucracy’em up?

  4. GWOP says:

    Frankenstein now denotes the monster, and Orwell is Big Brother.

  5. Yoofaloof says:

    I’d sign up, but then they’d have my email…

  6. preshrunk_cyberpunk says:

    You will desist from thsee activities immediately, or I will be forced to report all of you to the Ministries of Truth and Love.

    That is all.

  7. frymaster says:

    Reminds me a lot of this Tom Scott video from a few years back:

    • TACD says:

      This was the first thing I thought of as well. It’s a promising concept!

  8. Turkey says:

    Very Lovecraftian. I like it.

  9. UncleBAZINGA says:

    First you got my curiosity, but now you have my attention!

  10. PatientRock says:

    Right up my alley. While we wait for Orwell maybe try REDACTOR, my text adventure based on Orwell’s 1984. Hope you like it: link to

  11. Lord Zeon says:

    I like how it goes full Stasi at the end. That’s a pretty poignant way to end a fairly creepy trailer. We’re all spies, working against each other.

  12. DrazharLn says:

    See also Don’t take it personally, babe, it just ain’t your story (Free), Christine Love’s brilliant exploration of privacy.

  13. BurkaShaman says:

    It’s seems a really great game. I guess there is few more Orwelian-style games incomming this year.
    For example: link to