Under The Radar is a weekly look at games that have ended up hidden through lack of coverage, but shouldn’t have. If you have a game that you think should be featured here, leave it in the comments and I’ll be sure to check it out.
Playing Mark of the Ninja this week (which you should have already bought as it’s so good) got me thinking about watching people without their knowledge. It’s a bit of a stretch, I know, but it’s true. This led me to remember Vigilance 1.0.
Developed a dozen years ago by Martin Le Chevallir, Julien Alma, and Yann Le Bechec, Vigilance 1.0 places you in the shoes of someone who is placed in front of group of screens that show life happening in an urban area and are tasked to catch them committing crimes. Using the mouse cursor, you click on criminals and receive points for various types of crime such as prostitution, drug dealing, and loitering. You have to catch them in the midst of the crime though, as accusing someone who hasn’t committed said crime results in you losing points.
For the purposes of this feature I jumped back in after having not played it in a few years and quickly remember one thing: how incredibly impossible it was to be effective. More often than not, my eyes would end up focusing on one tile of the screen, convinced that that particular area was crime infested. When my tunnel vision happened to change and see another screen, I noticed litter and graffitti all over town.
The message Vigilance 1.0 is trying to send? Surveillance isn’t as effective as some presume it to be. The question shouldn’t be who watches the watchers, but whether the watchers are any good at all.