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About the Story
A game for the Wikileaks Stories project.
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Number of Reviews: 2
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I expected Out of the Pit to challenge my conceptions of freedom of information, military justice and due process, so it was disappointing to find that it has little to do with any of the stated premises and is in fact a negligibly implemented, awkwardly written, unpolished and shallow exercise.
As the author himself says in the "About" text, "...I've no idea how to fix it, and, quite frankly, I don't give a f***."
There isn't enough detail in the backstory or setting to identify clear parallels to any particular set of events, nations, or actors, but there's a vague supernatural menace which it appears has made short work of the soldiers guarding your facility.
Unfortunately, while the dead guards' eyes are nothing but a haunting blank void, they are empty to the point where you can see no such void nor even eyes. A rag is hardly portable; there is a dead body named Pat which can only be referenced by the noun "male"; there is a hidden aspect to the game dependent entirely on an inconceivable violation of physics (Spoiler - click to show)and a literal violation of the fourth wall; and my crowning achievement and great joy in the game was to see "array of monitors: Taken" and "control panel: Taken" before strolling out of the Security Room back into the hallway hundreds of pounds heavier and several cubic meters enhanced in bulk but no less nimble in my step. Threepwood pants, no doubt.
It's only a 10 minute experience, but on the downside, 9 of that will be spent attempting to interact with unimplemented objects and immovable tasers. There's still room for someone to address any number of aspects of the Wikileaks debate, but Out of the Pit has nothing of substance to say on that or any other subject. Alas.
The intro and the first few rooms of this game are amazing, as it describes a world that exists only as hateful fantasy. "No rhyme or reason"? Uhm, that doesn't make sense. No-one bothers to go to the effort to track, arrest, and imprison someone on a whim; every action has a reason.
Curiously, the author reveals virtually nothing about the main character. That arouses natural sympathy in the player's breast, but I find it disingenuous and cowardly. The backdrop is the war on terror; the character begins by escaping a cell; and the prison is apparently a "rendition" facility (no, the character is not Pvt Manning). The main character is most likely a jihadist Muslim. So the odds are on whatever he was doing having something to do with murdering a lot of people.
"How will they know that you're telling the truth?" If the implication holds, the author demonstrates shocking ignorance of "taqqiya" -- the deception of your enemy if it preserves your life or advances the cause of Islam. This is a common tool in the jihadist toolbox.
"Low value" does not mean "not part of anything," as the author suggests, revealing her ignorance of intel. "Low value" means "not likely to yield actionable evidence". Beyond that, the game offers up another unrealistic scenario: the government knew they couldn't get anything from the prisoner, but kept him anyways? That simply wouldn't be done -- unless you're inclined to believe the stories told by taqqiya-mouthing jihadists. By this point, I'm laughing. Really, how can you make a game where you know nothing about the world you're trying to model?
The information that you find about the procedures apparently is so controversial that it will prove your innocence. And this information is about...wait for it...the PrOcEdUrEs. Hurry, someone call the ACLU. They'll get right on those panties on your head and other forms of psychological fake-out marketed as "torture"!
For further evidence that the main character is a jihadist -- or possibly, an anarchist, try examining the corpses; both place the same low value upon human life. Here Out of the Pit edges up to eliminationist rhetoric.
As you keep going, you find misspellings and the usual purple prose (consider the laptop and its pieces). There is no challenge from a puzzle perspective, either. The single puzzle is painfully easy to solve, and escaping the prison is also mindless, requiring just the ability to type compass directions.
For a game that presumes to be deadly serious, Out of the Pit fails catastrophically. It's political kabuki theatre.