Mr. Robot: 1.51exfiltrati0n.ipa is an iOS and Android text-based game developed by Night School Studio, the creators of Oxenfree. Taking place during the first season of the award-winning show, Mr. Robot, Mr. Robot: 1.51exfiltrati0n.ipa begins when you find a burner phone. That phone belongs to black hat hacker, Darlene,who desperately needs it back as it has essential information on it.
Now, I’ve never actually watched the show, Mr. Robot, but that did not take away from my experience of the game, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The entire game takes place on the phone you found. The gameplay consists of real-time texting with Darlene and other characters, both from the show and completely separate from it. Through these texts you receive strange requests that lead you to make tough decisions about lying and coercing others, especially employees from E-Corp, in order to get the information you need.
As a text-based game, your dialogue choices lead the story to unfold in a number of ways. The dialogue choices, in particular, are great as they hold a strong sense of authenticity. They were responses that I can definitely see myself sending someone. Along with the texts that help you move the story along, there are other odd text messages you receive making the idea of you having someone else’s phone feel more realistic. These types of messages include things like overdue library book notifications. However, the most infamous of these messages is the group message you find yourself a part of. It reminded me of why I don’t like being in group chats with more than three people. I really appreciated these non-story dictated texts, not only does it add to the realism, it serves as a character study for Darlene, allowing you to try and discover the type of person she is.
Along with Darlene, there are many characters you meet in the game. Mr. Robot: 1.51exfiltrati0n.ipa does a great job of expressing each character’s personality traits through their respective text messages, such as condescension, sarcasm, and no-nonsense.
As this game takes place in real-time, the text conversations are similar to those in real-life. When you complete a request or finish a conversation it can be anywhere from a few minutes to an hour or two until you get another notification. I loved this type of gameplay, as it works well in my busy schedule. I typically don’t have large chunks of time I can spend playing a game. As this is a mobile game and its gameplay is sporadic, it is perfect for me. I can take it with me and don’t have to set aside a large amount of time to play it, just small instances of time here and there. Not only is it perfect for my schedule, it also further contributes to the authenticity of the game. It is as if you are actually waiting on someone to respond to you. On top of all of that the sporadic messages provide a type of suspense for the players, as you are left wondering when you’ll get your next message. I can honestly say I’ve never been more excited to receive a game notification on my phone, than with Mr. Robot: 1.51exfiltrati0n.ipa.
Taking it a step further into realism, it would interesting if the game was more time sensitive. For example, if you don’t respond to a message after a day, they message you again to remind you to respond to them. The only difficulty here would be keeping those messages from becoming an annoyance to the player.
In its entirety Mr. Robot: 1.51exfiltrati0n.ipa is a great text-based game. It is no wonder Telltale Publishing distributed it. Mr. Robot: 1.51exfiltrati0n.ipa is a great example of how you don’t need a huge interface to create a good text-based game. It is both honoring and updating the age-old genre of text-based games, going all the way back to games like Jigsaw (1995).
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It’s actually quite simple. I love writing. I love playing video games. So, why not combine the two? When I’m not focusing on my academics, I’m either writing or playing video games. As a writer and avid reader I love a good story, because of this I tend to lean towards games that have a strong narrative aspect. Currently, I am studying Computer Science and Game Design in North Carolina. My ultimate goal being to one day make a name for myself in the game narrative field.