NSA Simulator Need to Know on Steam Greenlight

Privacy-conscious users might be interested in knowing there’s an upcoming National Security Agency-like (NSA) simulator that’s been funded on Kickstarter and Steam Greenlight called Need to Know. Now, I’m not too big a fan of independent titles like this, but judging by the amount of funds already raised for the project, it seems I’m not the only one interested in getting a general glimpse of how the government-operated headquarters in Maryland, USA operates. From the screenshots it looks like a Papers, Please clone, but with better-looking artwork.

A while back I was reading No Place to Hide – a documentary by Glenn Greenwald in which Edward Snowden revealed to him just how much data the NSA collects not only on US citizens but also those outside the country – but eventually got bored reading the facts. To have something a little more thrilling like this is something I would have a higher preference over.

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In Need to Know, you are “an idealistic, but broke graduate” who works for the Department of Liberty (DoL) – a headquarters formed in Washington after the results of a terrorist attack. The agency’s responsibility is to crack down those who are responsible, but much like the NSA, you are granted more power than just that – you have access to almost every US citizens’ personal information – texts, emails, address, date of birth, hobbies, health issues, etc. But the game goes beyond the typical terrorist surveillance scenario. When folks like journalists or politicians get in your way, the game allows for you to make their life difficult or to blackmail them.

And it’s not just professional. When you date a certain girl, wouldn’t you want to know what she does and what she likes to make sure everything works the way you want?

From the Kickstarter’s description:

Every day you spy on people, collect their data, and determine their threat level. You hate it, but every facet of your life is a complete mess. You need the money, and intend to leave as soon as you can. At least, that’s your plan…

As you progress up through Clearance Levels, you earn a higher salary, more respect, greater powers, perks, and access to top secret information. Slowly, you are tempted by authority and recognition you’ve never experienced. Decide how to use these privileges. Will you stick to your principles and defend people’s privacy, or succumb to the allure of absolute power?

Sounds a lot like what the NSA does. I’m looking forward to this.

It’s interesting to note the development team – Monomyth Games – is based in Australia. You would figure they would be based in the United States, but I guess that isn’t the case.

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The Steam Greenlight page is advertised as having Windows, Mac, and Linux support. Further, under the FAQ on Kickstarter, it looks like Mac and Linux will have day one support when the game is complete December 2016. Nice.

Personally, I’m going to wait until the game is released on Steam before I buy it. Also, make sure to vote for the game on Steam Greenlight if you like what you see.

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