Redshirt is an entirely different kind of a game - imagine Facebook, or rather, âSpacebookâ in a fictional sci-fi world, where every âlikeâ, friend request and social event influences your life. Not that hard, given thatâs pretty much how it works already in the real world. Redshirt is a satirical look at social networking, and itâs quite an innovative game-concept. I got to take the alpha build for a spin and have a play with building up my social network on âSpacebookâ.
You start out in Redshirt as an unknown employee on a space-station - you create your own character from a range of presets. Slowly, through the use of social media, âlikingâ your bosses âSpacebookâ status updates, hosting events targeted at your friends interests and the like, you increase your social status. This can help with getting promotions, falling in love, and simply having a lot of friends.
Each day revolves around checking âSpacebookâ. Who has checked in where, and what activities might you do to bump into someone interesting, or entertain your friends. The only way to survive in Redshirt is to remain committed to âSpacebookâ. When not browsing âSpacebookâ though, your character will need to go to work.
At work, your character needs to work hard to make an impact and bring home the bacon. With the money you earn from your job you can buy things for your character, starting with the basics such as food. As you have to monitor your happiness and health, you need to ensure that you are eating, as well as engaging in other activities to keep yourself happy. Stats and skills are included to ensure you are applying yourself at work and learning something, as well as events which rattle the space-stationâs eco-system - like the death of a close âSpacebookâ friend.
The graphics are pretty simple - generally you are working with âSpacebookâ - which looks funky, and definitely a lot like the real thing; profile pictures, music people are listening to, quotes or just where they are hanging out. Itâs all there for you to like, or ignore - though your actions will have consequences. Donât expect any 3d graphics or anything fancy - but the graphics work really well to immerse you into the world of social networking from the future. The GUI does occasionally get a bit cluttered, but in a way this is true to form as well for social networking. Again Redshirt succeeds in highlighting how absurd social networking has become.
Initially I was sceptical that Redshirt was worthwhile. I generally consider deleting my Facebook account approximately 43 times per week - but I was wrong. Redshirt got me hooked - after only an hour I found myself keeping a close eye on my âfriendsâ posts and even following what my boss was into. By doing this I was able to put on events my boss enjoyed, and then managed to wrangle a promotion out of it.
But I do hold some scepticism and it will be interesting to see if Redshirt can hold gamers attention. The satirical approach is great, because it really differentiates Redshirt from simply spending a couple of hours on Facebook instead (though admittedly itâs far better than the real thing). But honestly, never has the power of social networking been so blatant as in Redshirt, where your social successes really do determine whether you live or die. The pace wonât suit everyone, but itâs definitely caught our attention.
The Good: âLikesâ
The Bad: Unfriending people
The Ugly: Social politics in a game