Sex slavery, human trafficking, detention camps: The next big Facebook game forgoes farming and city building to explore concepts of universal human rights, violence against women and a future America stripped of civil liberties.
Loaded with actors from shows like LOST, Alias and 24, America 2049 is part live-action video game, part human rights activist campaign.
The game drops you in the shoes of an agent of the Council on American Heritage in a United States 38 years in the future. It's a country obsessed with disease control and willing to forgo not a few civil liberties for more security and less human rights.
The back-story, heavy handed in its political messaging, is doled out through a number of missions. The first mission of the game, for instance, has players on the hunt for a man who jumped a health quarantine, potentially putting the country at risk of a pandemic. Only, as the mission progresses you start to learn that the suspect may have been profiled, that the restrictive airport security is place doesn't always work and that quarantine in the new US means 23 months in jail.
Gameplay is essentially puzzle solving. You use energy units to send your unit to different points on a map grid, searching for clues. Then you have to piece the clues together to discover passwords, track down witnesses and unlock more clues.
The gameplay is a bit light and the message a bit heavy, but it's still an interesting exploration of social gaming and politics on Facebook. It's also a game that explores some very real, very important issues like sex slavery and human trafficking.
It's also a neat combination of clever interface, alternative reality gaming and video cut-scenes with some recognisable acting talent. Among the people helping out with the project are Harold Perrineau (LOST), Victor Garber (Alias), Cherry Jones (24), Anthony Rapp (Rent), and Margaret Cho.
I'm not sure if this is the sort of game that will win over the unconverted, but I think those who already agree with what's being talked about here will enjoy the experience.