Recently I stumbled upon this article from Polygon talking about this new “Mr. Robot” App. Up until this point I hadn’t actually heard of it, and yet it made me pretty curious. I was very pleasantly surprised to find a uniquely engaging interactive experience that quickly infiltrated my day to day life. The Mr. Robot app takes advantage of the user’s pre-existing knowledge of social media, and leverages the same types of interactions that we have on our phones on a daily basis. This got me thinking about other games that are not only optimized for the mobile device you’re playing on but also takes advantage of the player’s pre-existing knowledge in interesting ways. This is really an extension of my original blog post on Visual Affordance, where I examined this concept and how it’s used globally in video games. In today’s post we’ll be taking a much closer look at mobile games and our inherent knowledge of technology. In this blog post we’ll be talking about Her Story, LifeLine, The Heist, and Mr. Robot.
woman’s testimony for some murder. From here the player can then think of keywords based off of the video they just watched and search for more clips. There’s a “README” file on the fake desktop, that the player can read for additional information. From here the player is free to search for more videos, and try to piece together what may have actually happened. There are a few different “cinematic moments” that occur after finding certain videos, but other than that there’s no real facilitated conclusions. Her story really relies on players to find their own endings to the story, and infer what they will from the videos they've watched.. While Her Story could be criticized as being too cryptic, I find this level of player trust is pretty intriguing… and encourages player dialogue outside of the game.
persona… contributing to the dialogue and giving my two cents into their decisions. As the game progresses, you’re soon asked to do some unscrupulous activities. Mainly this entails impersonating other people, or even blackmailing them to find out specific information for the owner of the phone… and someone named “E.” If you’re a fan of the show you begin to realize who you’re messaging pretty quickly, but even if you haven’t watched an episode, it’s still a highly engaging experience.
One of the first things that struck me about this app, was the sense of anticipation. Initially I thought that the app was expecting me to do something in order to progress the story, yet at times the only thing the player can do is actually wait. Having to wait for characters to get back to me because they were “busy,” really added to the sense of realism and kept me on the edge of my seat. This, coupled with the overall believability of this being another chat software, integrated itself seamlessly into my natural social media habits. This is one of the few games that I didn’t think I was playing through an avatar. Genuinely it was more about me being a character within the story. Even after I completed the story arch of the game, I found myself wondering how the characters were doing… and even missing our interactions.
Using elements from our day to day lives, and leveraging them in such a way really creates an interesting and rewarding experience. While I’ve played other games that break the fourth wall or simulate technologies we’re used to interacting with (i.e. Her Story), I found the Mr. Robot app to be the most realistic and engaging experience out of all of them. This only left me wondering how much more we could be doing. Imagine this idea expanding outward and using simulated snapchats, tweets, or e-mails… If something like this had been released while Breaking Bad was on air, I would have LOVED to have received messages from iconic characters from that show. While Mr. Robot lends itself well to these sorts of interactions, considering their overarching hacking themes, these puzzles and interactions are based off of social dynamics and could translate very well into other franchises.
Hope you enjoyed the post! This one was a bit of a struggle because I really wanted to talk about the Mr. Robot app, but I wasn’t sure from which angle I wanted to attack this one… not to mention there are not many apps that are similar to this experience. In any case, that’s it for today’s post! Looking ahead I may try to do a post related to a game that I’m horribly addicted to right now called “Sheltered.” If you’re a fan of the Fallout Shelter and/or The Sims… I’d recommend giving it a shot! Thanks again for reading!
I make games, I play games... and sometimes I have some thoughts about that.