The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel. So goes the opening line to William Gibson’s Neuromancer – the novel that defined a genre and basically fucked the nineties for anyone not that into shades, piercings, and trenchcoats. Though not the origin of the term Cyberpunk – that hyper-slick, paranoid honour goes to a 1983 short story of the same name – Neuromancer is generally the work the stands out from the crowd. And spits on the crowd. And berates the crowd endlessly for being trapped in a dystopian nightmare of their own creation.

spinnortality game

It’s still a good read, but nowadays even our pets exist on two or three layers of existential detachment.  The post-capitalist malaise has integrated itself well into our collective psyche, and Cyberpunk’s frenzied doomsaying seems almost trite in comparison to everyday reality. Fortunately, James Patton’s Spinnortality has both a sense of humor and a bleak attitude to the possibility of messianic redemption.  Pick the red pill or the blue, someone’s getting rich off the prescription either way.

Cold and Calculated

“Run a global megacorporation. Manipulate culture, destroy governments and become immortal.” All in day’s psychological warfare and subterfuge, then. The strategic menu-based play consists of research trees, worker placement and a variety of risk/reward decisions. Fans of 4x will find a lot to love here, as well as board game aficionados. The crackling static and muted dubstep klaxons that made up the soundtrack were a real mood setter. I also appreciated the inclusion of humorous and succinct tutorial with the demo. There’s a lot of nuance here, but it’s introduced to the player at a logical and digestible pace. It’s a deeply engaging, complicated experience that doesn’t alienate the player – preferring to save that alienation for the rest of humanity.

At the time of writing, Spinnortality has reached its funding goal, but there’s still a few days left to back the project, if you’re so inclined.

About the Author

Nic Reuben

Nic Reuben likes to pause games every five minutes to ponder the thematic implications of explosive barrel placement. When he's not having an existential crisis over CAPTCHA verifications that ask him to prove he's not a robot, he's reading sci-fi and fantasy short stories, watching cartoons, and mourning the writing standards in Game of Thrones.

View All Articles