After successfully ridiculing the fast food industry, major religions, and the nine-to-five work week with their sardonic and socially poignant videogames, Italian collective Molleindustria return to call out the very medium they use: videogames.
Molleindustria shows us what should be obvious, calling to our attention the detrimental effects of videogames, the flaws in modern parenting, and America’s use of drones in conflicts in the Middle East. These three disparate themes, seemingly unrelated except for their damaging effects on human beings, are brought together beautifully in Unmanned.
The muted adventure begins with our protagonist dreaming of work, as many of us do, except that his job is to operate an unmanned drone, striking far-off targets from a safe, remote location. He contemplates the implications of his job while you shave his face. Move the razor too fast and you’ll give him cuts that last the duration of the game. Simple though the graphics might be, the sound and visuals used by Molleindustria truly captures the unpleasantness of cutting yourself shaving. I was squirming while playing.
Off to work, we find our character next to his disgruntled co-pilot and the two proceed to view targets on their screen, dispatching one to the afterlife without clearance. Our guy steps outside for a smoke, then later finds himself at home with his spastic son, a videogame junkie with a penchant for virtual gun violence. Our character goes to bed and fights the very real battle of inching towards sleep, one sheep at a time.
Throughout the game, you decide what the character will say to everyone he interacts with, and after the first stage, you find yourself trying to be the best person possible, as if you have a chance to redeem this man from his monstrous line of work and abhorrent relationship with his family. You don’t, and every part of his day makes a strong point about his lifestyle and his thinking.
Play Unmanned here.