Hundreds of years ago, the English philosopher Jeremy Bentham called for prison cells to be built around shielded watchtowers. He argued that the immense pressure of living under steady scrutiny, rather than punishments in themselves, would slowly mould every prisoner into a model citizen.
The problem is, no one in The Forgotten City, which is functionally a prison, has discovered the exit. Everyone you gonna meet in the game from closet Christians to household slaves is packed with many questions like – is theft OK if it is to save someone’s life? is it fine to worship the wrong god or having the wrong sexual orientation? What about telling a lie that gets someone killed?
You will play as a confused tourist from the present day, sent in to the city’s ruins by a strange woman. You will be brought before the local magistrate to track down someone he suspects to destroy the peace. Fortunately, the character is insulated against disaster by a time-loop ritual that is cast whenever everything dives into hell, returning you to the start of the day.
You will find few tools, including a flashlight and an Ancient Roman zip line handle for speedier back-tracking. You might get a brief burst of wonky action-platforming later on depending upon your choices.
The Forgotten City will make you think about how video games represent surveillance versus how video games do operate as surveillance mechanisms themselves. As there is simulation around the player, they track and monitor you from all angles, whether they are harvesting data for publishers, scaling up the complexity in response to a run of victories.