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Black Marker

by Michael Kielstra

2017

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Number of Reviews: 2
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Running familiar ground, January 8, 2018
by verityvirtue (London)
Related reviews: phlegmatic, IFComp 2017
Black Marker is a game about censorship in an authoritarian regime. In this case, though, the redaction masks a mystery, and you can choose the types of information to censor.

This game is not the first of its kind. Other notable examples include Blackbar and Redactor. In Blackbar, you have to guess the redactor word - you play an anti-censor, where you must create meaning from what was eradicated by government censors. Redactor is probably closest in implementation, but with the added pressure of a time limit. Black Marker, however, grounds the material in its own universe, with a coherent storyline across pieces of material.

Select one piece of information, and all the phrases in the passage relating to that piece of information will be censored for you. The game penalises both censoring too much or too little, and so requires a little more thought than just clicking phrases at random. Where the game could have been stronger, though, is the emotional heart - the player character is little more than a faceless actor, and having some in-universe intrinsic motivation to do one’s job - or not do one’s job - would have heightened the tension in Black Marker.