Back in the 80s and 90s, when the hacking theme was on the rise, we only dreamed about what future technologies would look like. While modern life is far from a futuristic dystopia, we have plenty of exciting stuff going on with the introduction of real-time video monitoring that uses AI to sift through data and find suspicious behavior.
Naturally, many game developers jumped on the surveillance-themed bandwagon, coming up with mind-bending plots and breathtaking hacking experiences to keep the players on the edge of their seats. Here are the top 5 games for fans of hacking, espionage, and unusual gameplay.
Welcome to Arcadia, a picture-perfect 70s-inspired futuristic city where everyone lives in comfort and luxury. There’s only one catch – the lives of all its citizens are broadcast as a huge reality TV show. The people of Arcadia have no idea about what’s going on, except for one office clerk, Trevor, who hits the road, trying to escape the city. Your role is to guide him through a series of puzzles in a 2.5D platformer while also helping him from outside as Angela, a hacker and stage technician.
When it comes to saving the world – the more, the merrier. In this game for two, you will have to partner up with your friend to finish complicated missions, choosing between playing as a spy or a hacker who controls all the operations remotely. The success of each mission depends on how well you can communicate with your partner. This teamwork-driven gem of a spy game requires you to solve puzzles, break codes, and save moving trains while trying not to get caught by bad guys.
Imagine a city that has all its devices connected by one operating system. Sounds like a hacker’s dream come true, right? In Watch Dog, you play a vigilante hacker named Aiden Pearce, who’s on a hunt to find the people who assassinated his niece. You’ll get to stop traffic, manipulate public transport, access various bank accounts, and infiltrate security systems – all in an open-world setting filled with friends and foes trying to stop you from uncovering the truth. Sounds exciting? Because it is!
Did you ever think you could manage a news channel? Well, now you can give it a try. In this propaganda simulator game, you get to run the National Nightly News, picking the stories that would keep the viewers glued to their screens. You’ll be in charge of editing the videos, hitting the ‘censored’ button when someone uses bad words, hand-picking the headlines, and framing the pictures so the stories look captivating. It’s fun, hectic, and deeply entertaining, with a darkly comedic twist and multiple endings.
Privacy has never felt more feeble and unrealistic than in this game. You play as a surveillance officer who’s a member of the Primate Observation Club, a very shady group whose primary goal is to spy on people, collecting various information about their lives via webcams and live feeds. It is strongly advised to avoid contact with the ‘monkeys,’ but you can break the rules here and there by helping them or exposing their unseemly behavior.
These are just a few games in the dystopian surveillance genre that hit the mark in terms of script, gameplay, and characters. There are many more for you to explore!