Technology can be a miracle, finding ways to improve our daily lives in ways we never thought possible. It can also be a nightmare. It’s hard not to feel like we’re quietly descending into a sci-fi fantasy, where privacy is non-existent and every aspect of our lives has been commoditized.
Flat eyeslatest game from Calls at night developer Monkey Moon Studio, grapples with that stress. The management game has players running a gas station filled with futuristic machines, one of which CES won’t exist. I played around with the game during GDC and found a sci-fi game that was grounded in resisting the urge to indulge in cynical technological despair – even if it presented a futuristic vision. reasonable scene.
The era of smart toilets
Part of Flat eyes I played the start simple enough. I was looking from above at a nearly empty gas station. There is a counter, some shelves and a restroom. My first day simply started when I filled the shelves with inventory and started calling customers.
However, this is not your usual Mobil station. Essentially, the store has been teamed up by a tech giant, turning it into a gas, snack, and clone shopping mall. The game loop quickly popped up as I built new machines and linked them to my grid, all the while doing my usual secretarial duties. Like any good management game, this quickly turned into a complicated juggling act as I needed to build more machines, keep new stock, repair modules, and check for missing shoppers. instant patience. A stress gauge at the bottom of the screen tells me how well I’m balancing it all.
The joy (or horror) of the whole experience comes from the machines you build. Flat eyes future erroneous ideas, many of which feel dangerously plausible. One of the first machines I built was a smart toilet, something I wouldn’t be surprised to find out actually exists (oh, it has). It’s a bit confusing for the developers as to how it works, but you can guess how it collects user nutritional data.
Some of the technology in the game is so close to reality that the team has to rush to get the game out before the fiction becomes a reality. In the demo, the developers explained that they included a “suicide stall” in the game (perhaps best known as exhibition about the future gag), but was shocked to find that a person in real life would trial in Switzerland soon. Other technology in the game, such as clearing memory ala Think freer travelnot too far away.
The other machines are a bit more remote, and that’s where Flat eyes delve into philosophical territory. On my third day, a client asked about an experimental machine that could grant them immortality. After a chat where I explained how it worked, I was shown an incredible cutscene where an AI robot maps out the fate of technology (in this case, the forecast is not so good). ).
Flat eyes not just trying to give satirical gloom and doom as Black mirror. It is a more grounded experience to study the ways in which new technology slowly ingrains in our lives until it becomes second nature. On paper it’s out-of-date science fiction for me, but for my clients it’s all mundane. Just another day at the pump. Points are accidentally sent home after the demo ends. In real life, I get a burrito from Chipotle and head back to my hotel room, only to open my laptop to a targeted Chipotle ad on the first page I loaded. I live with unnecessary invasive technology every day and it barely registers anymore. Flat eyesSmart toilet’s barely feel like a stretch.
I’m curious to see where the whole story goes. While the store manager makes up the core game loop, it is a narrative-driven game with a story rhythm conveyed through conversations with “premium customers”. Those conversations seem to form the backbone of the experience, allowing the game to dig into the ethical implications of technology that permeate every corner of our daily lives, for better or worse (I going to hang out and guess it’s the following).
In addition to the hair removal philosophy, Flat eyes simply works like a good management game. Even after a short, I can feel how much my gas station can extend down the line and how I can make it run like an automaton. The potential gratification is very high, as long as you can handle the certain existential crisis that comes with it.
Flat eyes coming to PC sometime this year.