Fancy a go at fixing Post-Brexit Britain?
By Tom Middler
„Not Tonight“ paints a bleak picture of Brexit Britain as soon as you turn it on. The dystopian vision of the UK on display here proudly presents 2018 as the year of Britain Alone.
You might remember, back when the game originally came out for Windows we were still expecting the UK to exit the EU gracefully over two years ago. We’ve all heard endless amounts about Brexit votes, laws, protests and delays since then, but the game’s 2018 setting is a timely reminder of how ridiculous this whole Brexit thing has become.
Not to miss the boat though, developers PanicBarn have capitalised on the delays and taken back control with a new version of „Not Tonight“ for the wildly popular Nintendo Switch console.
In a pretty 2D pixel art rendition of post-Brexit Britain, things get pretty dark, pretty fast. You have a Norwegian grandfather, therefore there’s no choice, you’re now „person of European Heritage #112“, and you’re getting kicked out for being „one of them Euro folks“. Whilst you’re awaiting your fate in a grim deportation holding cell (where have we seen those recently?!) you’ll have to prove your worth if you want to try to stay.
Using your phone, you’ll need to text venues on the ‚BouncR‘ app to begin your enforced career as a bouncer in asylum limbo. There’s no contract, of course, it’s the gig economy, but you have to get some cash in hand whilst to pay your way whilst you’re in holding. Once you get a shift working the door at a local pub, Not Tonight’s game play might become familiar.
If you’ve experienced the excellent passport control simulation „Papers, Please“, you’ll know what to expect here. Time pressure, endless queues of people, various types of data to check, fake IDs to spot, and an overwhelming desire to get through as many punters as you can in one night. More ID checks mean more money, but mistakes can have some nasty consequences, not that you’ll be sure what might happen if you let the wrong sort in ...
You can keep reminding your new bosses that you were actually born in the UK, but now you’ve been labelled an outsider, nobody with an English flag on their clothing really cares about the details.
„Not Tonight“, developed by PanicBarn, is being published by No More Robots for Windows, Xbox One, Playstation 4 and Switch.
Overwhelming xenophobia is just one aspect of a very dim view that the game takes of post-Brexit Britain. Newspaper clippings help to deepen the immersion in the game’s world, and the other people who you meet pull you further into the story as your ID checking career progresses, but if your political leanings are pro-Brexit, you’ll laugh this all off as propaganda (but presumably not the kind of propaganda you’ve seen on the side of London buses, that stuff is OK).
The gameplay and the story elements intertwine to retain the player’s interest, as opportunities arise to take cash bribes, or smuggle something suspiciously like drugs, and even join an anti-Brexit underground movement, but you’ll risk the wrath of your immigration officers, who are watching your every move, and could be testing you at any time.
„Not Tonight“ is far from subtle in its anti-Brexit messaging, but even in its extremely negative take on Brexit Britain, the well-written script presents themes, relationships, situations and attitudes which contain an uncomfortable amount of relevance and truth, right from the moment you see Go Home sprayed on the wall of your squalid holding room.
It’s not the most original game that money can buy, especially if you’re an expert at the aforementioned „Papers, Please“, but it’s no cynical cash-in on this week’s events either. If Not Tonight was intended as a warning sign about the direction Britain is heading in, we’re about to start finding out whether anyone was really listening.
Publiziert am 31.01.2020