A downloadable game
[A new version of this game is in development and due for release in the next couple of months, so I've taken it down in the meantime -- check back in Q3 2019 and follow @gregbuchanan on Twitter for updates]
A free interactive fiction piece set in a world where the UK has voted to leave the EU, a far right-wing government is in power in the UK, and where President 'Drumpf' has taken control of the USA.
Written by Greg Buchanan
Music by Seb J. J. Peters
To Download and Install: [For Windows PC]
Download from the link at the bottom of this page, unzip the folder and .exe file, and double-click on the game. If you get a message saying 'unknown source', just click 'more info' and 'run anyway'.
Mac OSX version available, untested but apparently works fine!
KOTAKU: "Paper Brexit starts with a button I really don't want to press [...] Pro-leave or pro-remain, there's little in there to lighten your mood as we race towards Thursday's referendum. The Britain painted in Paper Brexit is a scared place, an intolerant place, a lifeless place. [...] Hmm. I started out this news post trying to recommend a game. Now I'm all depressed myself."
ROCK PAPER SHOTGUN: "At first, these tones of parody clash with the creepy, serious music but then the dialogue – all loudly typed onto the page in front of you – quickly takes an eerie turn, focusing on the banal malevolence of a divided public. Is everything you're saying the truth? Why does your editor keep looking at you like that?"
DIGITAL SPY: "Got the EU referendum blues? We've found the perfect way to indulge your pre-Brexit anxiety. [...] Games rarely offer a direct commentary on the political climate; even hyper-relevant titles like Papers Please, which landed just before the European migrant crisis, tend to refrain from jabbing the knife into specific movements or people. As you might have already guessed, Paper Brexit doesn't exactly adhere to those rules. Its vision of a Vote Leave Blighty definitely isn't filled with free hugs for foreigners, and certain public figures get (figuratively) skewered. [...] assuming you possess the mental reserves to plough through, maybe it's better to face this particular horror head on?"
TRUSTED REVIEWS: "A new PC game paints a grim picture of what Britain could be like in the event of a Brexit win. [...] It's one of those interactive fiction games that lets you choose your own path through its story. That story is set in a dystopian future where Britain has left the EU, and a far-right government is currently in power. Oh, and to make matters worse, Trump is President of the US. [...] Buchanan cites his inspirations as Man In a High Castle, Don't Hug Me I'm Scared, and Taxi Driver - which is a pretty diverse and intriguing spread of reference points."
INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES: "The story's alternative history unfolds set to a ghostly ambient soundtrack and the cold, echoing taps of a typewriter. The "sick and hollow" Britain portrayed in the tale not only features the aforementioned satirical portrayal of Donald Trump (Drumpf), but also David Cameron (Blameroon) and Boris Johnson – the latter appearing as Paper Brexit's fictional Prime Minister, dubbed Doris Thompson. [...] I won't spoil any particular moments in Paper Brexit, but there are several dialogue choices that are particularly eerie, while the ending brilliantly ties together the IF's themes of fear, separation, blame and truth in a dark, haunting manner."
INDEX.HU : 'A computer game made about the dark world that awaits the British if they exit the EU […] the shocking exit of Great Britain from Europe gives it new urgency. […] It is not difficult to identify the real actors […] It features characters such as the fictional Prime Minister Doris Thompson, the politician Blameroon ('to blame' is the English meaning of the word blame, responsibility), and the US President Drumpf, who has welcomed the British Decision (the Trump family name long ago was indeed Drumpf)' (Translated from the Hungarian)
LET'S PLAY Videos:
Karl Ritchie: (no commentary)
Visit www.gregbuchanan.co.uk over the coming weeks for more short free interactive fiction games
I'm pro-Remain. I feel increasingly troubled by the general anti-migrant, anti-co-operation, isolationist, 'let's go it alone' world-view that seems intrinsically linked to a Brexit outcome. I originally created this piece as a comedic parody of what I saw as the positive 'let's be old Britain again with pubs and sunshine and lollipops without evil EU interference' attitude but I couldn't sustain it with all the news that's been coming out over the last few weeks (and I write this post now just a few days before we go to the vote). The world just seems to be going utterly crazy at the moment, so I think it's influenced my writing as a reaction. The whole thing is ugly. This game is a surreal, nightmarish expression of my feelings on current British (and wider) politics and the role that the media and individuals have to play in this system, inspired by sources as diverse as Man In a High Castle, Don't Hug Me I'm Scared, and Taxi Driver.
Update: The above explanation, and indeed this game, were both written before the EU referendum. Now that the UK has voted exit and that the predictions of my game have started coming true (including Cameron's resignation), I don't know what to say.
Using assets/scripts/paper image from Inkle's MIT-Licensed 'The Intercept Demo':
The MIT License (MIT); Copyright (c) 2016 inkle Ltd; Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions: The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software. THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.