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About the Story
Hidden in the shadows, the Agency works for the safety of the citizens. If your goals or beliefs do not appear to align with those of the Agency, you are liable to find yourself in trouble. There are those who believe that it is a menace and must be shut down. There are also those who find it far too useful to destroy. After all, it's good to know what terrorists are planning before they carry it out. You have worked with the Agency for years. What will you think?
33rd Place - 23rd Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2017)
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Number of Reviews: 2
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Black Marker is a game about censorship in an authoritarian regime. In this case, though, the redaction masks a mystery, and you can choose the types of information to censor.
This game is not the first of its kind. Other notable examples include Blackbar and Redactor. In Blackbar, you have to guess the redactor word - you play an anti-censor, where you must create meaning from what was eradicated by government censors. Redactor is probably closest in implementation, but with the added pressure of a time limit. Black Marker, however, grounds the material in its own universe, with a coherent storyline across pieces of material.
Select one piece of information, and all the phrases in the passage relating to that piece of information will be censored for you. The game penalises both censoring too much or too little, and so requires a little more thought than just clicking phrases at random. Where the game could have been stronger, though, is the emotional heart - the player character is little more than a faceless actor, and having some in-universe intrinsic motivation to do one’s job - or not do one’s job - would have heightened the tension in Black Marker.
You play a government censor in this game. You are given a series of incriminating documents which you have to censor; clicking on various sentences blacks them out.
You are graded on how you do. This doesn't matter quite as much as you'd think, but it does affect the final ending.
I loved the feel of this game, the feel of manipulating documents and being in control. I do wish it had been longer or the the censoring had been more closely integrated with the story.
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