This experimental game is a network of near-future science-fiction stories, connected by a central mystery
On first click, Omnipedia feels like the shadow-sister of Wikipedia: empty white space with the occasional image, marked up by slim black text and iconic blue hyperlinks. But we are on a different internet now. This fictional encyclopedia is essentially the narrator of Neurocracy, which is part game, part murder-mystery novella and part postmodern exploration of how we take in stories and information. It is a labyrinth of text – the reader, or player, navigates a 2049 version of our world by clicking hyperlinks. Having done some exploring, I believe it’s best to go in totally blind, though I will say that the central mystery concerns the death of the man who launched Omnipedia in the wake of Wikipedia, a character named Xu Shaoyong.
We click through from one fictional entry to the next, learning gradually that this future world is full of threats, from the presence of a civilisation-upending disease to binaural implants that track and enhance our experiences online, all the way down to dating shows that end in shocking loss of life. It feels unnervingly close to the internet as we know it, but with subtle differences that amount to clever environmental storytelling. For example, the GDPR cookie-tracking pop-up that’s now the doorman at the gate of every website includes both familiar text about data and consent, and a note about our “montages” being tracked – our emotional state, as tracked by an algorithm.