… I heard you like plots in your plots and phones in your phones. (This joke is still completely relevant.)
Full disclosure: I’ve met the developer of this title a few times, and so I’m probably now on a watchlist somewhere. I knew I should have worn sunglasses, too. I paid for my copy of Replica.
In this, the year of two-thousand-fuck-you-and-everything-you-love, with the US and Europe slip-sliding haphazardly ever towards the extreme right, you might think to yourself while in a definitely-not-purple,-Officer haze on a late Sunday afternoon, “How can I capture a portion of this horrific experience in a video game?”
And if you do, you’re a real sick freak for doing so. Shame on you. Shame. How is Mexico going to pay for that wall by themselves? Tsk tsk tsk.*
Enter the world of Replica, where the government of some unnamed Americkesque country of the nearish future now relies on teenagers to hack into the phones of potential terror suspects and look for clues that point towards a clandestine assembly’s association with terror, all while hoping said teens never learn the concept of the prisoners’ dilemma.
Umm, that was meant to sound ridiculous, but rereading it, it kinda seems like something that could happen in real life, doesn’t it? Or at least something that could happen on FOX. Huh. Maybe Somi is on to something here. Maybe he knows too much… he’s been a little too fair and balanced these days…
Replica is a point-and-click adventure, entirely set in someone else’s phone. Basically, the interface is kinda like your own phone except this one doesn’t have your duck face all over it.
The actual game starts when you figure out how to unlock the phone. (Luckily everyone in the game is kinda terrible with passwords, and numbers larger than 9999 don’t seem to exist.) When you get in, you’ll get a call from 4885 telling you what and what not to do. Listen or don’t listen, it’s up to you, but know that your choices directly determine what ending, bascially who’s bed you’ll end up in. Throughout the game you have a large number of choices to make, and honestly most of them seem pretty bad. You kinda get stuck in their weird catch-22 where by exploring the phone to see the story, you’re helping the government, and yet by refusing, you’re helping the other guy, but the game might end without finding out what’s really going on.
Now I know what it feels like to be a rubbernecker at a car accident. Well, at least aware of the fact that I’m rubbernecking.
The story overall is fairly heavy handed, but the main plot points feel realistic within the game world. There are 12 endings in total. It’s designed to be replayed, so it’s okay to mess around with all the shiz the game tries to hide from you. The endings vary a lot, so there is incentive to try to find at least a couple.
Or is that what Replica wants you to think? Somi! Tell me! You’re really a secret operative performing experiments on consumers to see how easily it is to create model citizens, aren’t you?!? Oh, I’m on to you buddy. Why else would you have multiple endings and encourage users to dime out the deplorables all from the comfort of their own computers and mobile devices? Hmm? HMM?
I have come to believe that this is not true. Enjoy playing games. Everyone enjoys playing games. Enjoy. Play. Games.
*Get at me later when they’re not looking. It’s too hot. I gotta play dumb for a bit. Yeah, yeah, it’s easy because I am dumb. I get it. I get it. Just get the jokes out of your system now, okay?