Stay in and play The Curfew

curfew 2

I've just had a play of The Curfew, the game by Littleloud, written by Kieron Gillen. If you were thinking of it as an educational game, you need to stop that nonsense right now. It's an adventure game with quite good music, and one quarter of it is ready to play.

Set in a dystopian Britain ruled by the ASBO-happy Shepherd party , The Curfew casts you as a yoof running from the cops after curfew falls. A fellow freedom fighter-type hands you some info that must be passed on before the police track you down, and you're stuck in a safe house with four people who may be trustworthy - or not.

It's a set of flashback sequences told from the point of view of the characters you're interrogating, framed by a couple of "Question phases" where you ask them how they felt, try to work out if they're telling the truth, and generally click on dialogue options. There are some mini games, but they're mostly fine, and the puzzles manage to make do without any of that junk collecting, item-mixing bollocks you'd find in another adventure game.

Three of the four characters don't want to talk to you yet, so you can only play through the story of the Boy. He wants to play games - he's like you and I, but stuck in a dystopian future where the only government approved games are shit flash shooting galleries with strong anti-terrorist overtones. His quest to track down the latest AAA blockbuster leads him to the safe house, and he's sat forlornly by the locked lobby terminal trying to get it to run. You should always have a copy of XP, son!

Gillen spoke to me about the setting and the themes of the game. He said, "It's the idea that people are more productive if you give them achievement points - it's basically that applied to citizenship. One of the things we explore is how that system would quietly legitimize prejudice. If you make a system where people having kids get more citizen points, people who are unable to have kids are immediately persecuted against - which includes gay people, for example." The first scene in the flashback is a sort of faux-McDonalds, and it's got two separate queues for Class A and Class B citizens. We already have that at airports, don't we? Scary stuff.

It didn't take longer than about twenty minutes to play the first story, and I had a blast with it. I recommend that you do too .