SOPA

SOPA is a tactical strategy game in which you are tasked with protecting the intellectual properties of the entertainment industry.  Playing as an agent of the industry under the jurisdiction of SOPA (which no doubt stands for Supremely Oppressive Pricks & Assholes), you get to wield unprecedented power at your own discretion to help fight for the big guys and bring justice to the unwashed masses.

I normally try to keep my cards close to my chest when I write these reviews, but I can’t hold off any longer: I FUCKING LOVED THIS GAME!  Think of all the dick moves you’ve ever pulled playing Grand Theft Auto and multiply them by a jillion.  That’s how much fun you can have as an agent of SOPA.  For example, I was perusing YouTube when I came across a video uploaded by a fourteen year old.  It was a highlight reel of his best kills in Gears of War 3, set to the tune of “Let the Bodies Hit the Floor.”  Now, if this was a game like Saints Row, you cap the little bastard in the back of the head and T-Bag his corpse.  BOR-RING!  In SOPA, you sue the little kid into the stone age, file charges against his parents, have their internet access cut off, and collect damages from YouTube because it was all their fault to begin with.  With this level of loosely defined parameters, you have the freedom to pretty much destroy lives in ways you never could have imagined.

Bad controls have always been my biggest sticking point in a game.  Thankfully, SOPA gives you more control over non-player characters than any game ever has.  I remember playing Mercenaries 2 and watching the dimwitted NPCs fall to their deaths by walking off a four-foot high ledge.  You don’t have to worry about that here.   Rounding up people to interrogate them over illegally hosting a 60 second long MP3 copy of the Golden Girls’ theme has never been so intuitive or easy to accomplish.  And the tools you’re given are amazing too.  Wiretaps, bully lawyers (that is lawyers who are bullies, not lawyers for bullies, although I’m sure there is some cross-pollination), lobbyists, and all the power of the federal government are at your disposal.  I used to feel pretty damn empowered when I held the Spartan Laser in Halo, but that is absolutely nothing compared to how I felt with all of the power I wield in SOPA.

And if you thought the emotion technology used in L.A. Noire was impressive, you haven’t seen anything yet.  This one time I was busting a Captain Kirk fan site for using clips of Star Trek set to the tune of Bonnie Tyler’s “I Need A Hero.”  Not only was I able to tie the dude up in court for years, but I was able to go after every single person who had linked to his site in the process.  The dude had like 500 followers on Facebook!  It was like a genocide, only blood was replaced by tears, and that’s so much more evil and thus fun, wouldn’t you agree?  The look of terror on their faces and the tremble in their voices as they slowly realized that all the freedoms they had taken for granted were being extinguished is one of the most defining moments in a game I’ve ever had.

Not to mention all the employees of Facebook and all the internet service provider employees who I was able to put out of work because all these restrictions made their companies unprofitable.  It brought me a sense of satisfaction that all the nuns tied to the train tracks in Red Dead Redemption could never hope to equal.  Really, how can you go back to running over a Granny with a Buick in GTA when you can litigate a family into bankruptcy over having the theme from Days of Their Lives play in the background of a video of little Junior’s first steps?  Hey, you shouldn’t have uploaded it.  Not very smooth criminal of you.  By the way, using Smooth Criminal lands you five years in Gitmo so watch your step.

On-screen metaphors for what happens when you sue the shit out of a family making less than $40k a year.

Ultimately, your goal is to the destroy the entire internet.  Probably the biggest problem with SOPA is how easy that is.  If you’re the patient type, you can wait a few years, slowly conditioning the population to accept less and less accessibility to the internet they’ve grown so accustomed and dependent on.  And while I can see the merits of watching the people of 2022 fondly reminiscing about the time before SOPA where you could actually upload of a video of you singing the latest Lady Gaga song on your Facebook without having to lawyer-up, I simply don’t have the patience for that.  So I went all scorched Earth on the damn thing and just had Google shut down.  Hey, served them right for linking to a site that linked to a site that had a copy of the Adventures of Pluto Nash uploaded illegally to it.  This move destroyed the entire Silicon Valley economy, crippling America’s ability to stay ahead of the curve in the technology race and pretty much making us about as useless to the rest of the world as Segway access ramps.  I watched with satisfaction as the credits rolled on the game and nearly needed some, ahem, private time, as the final cut scene where Nigeria claimed a higher GNP average than the United States played out.

So overall, I heartily recommend SOPA to everyone reading this.  It does the wanton-destruction genre better than any sandbox game I’ve ever played, and it does it by a pretty big margin.  It’s the little things that make the big difference.  Sure, spraying shit on buildings in Saints Row is fun, but it can’t top watching the Feds break down the door of a sixteen year old girl who should have known better than to have downloaded that episode of Vampire Diaries.  Or busting that family for uploading a video of them singing Happy Birthday to their St. Bernard while you could clearly see the TV playing the latest episode of Family Guy in the corner of the screen.  For those of us who have always wanted the chance to know what it’s like to be truly merciless and cruel, this is the chance you’ve been waiting for.  And it’s all in the safety of a video game, where it can’t possibly ever happen in the real world.

Oh wait.  Fuck.

SOPA was developed by the United States Congress

240 Years of Freedom were flushed in the name of stopping six-year-olds from linking to unauthorized videos of Justin Bieber in the making of this review.

SOPA is not reality yet.  But unless something is done, it will be soon.  Do you really want the people who thought nine seasons of Roseanne were a good thing but fourteen episodes of Firefly was too much to decide what is right or wrong for the internet?  Visit StopAmericanCensorship to learn what you can do.

Special thanks to MasterBlud of Vintage Video Games TV for the trailer, Alex Jordan of Apathy Works for the screenshots, and Bill Stiernberg at Zeboyd Games for the cover art.

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About Indie Gamer Chick
The most read Xbox Live Indie Game critic in the world.

11 Responses to SOPA

  1. Personally, when I played SOPA I preferred to take my time and shut down thousands of forums for having members who used TV screenshots as avatars. It’s less of a blunt force approach, but I enjoyed the sense of satisfaction I got from knowing no one could ever discuss what a dick I was being. Stealth dickery is its own reward.

  2. Professor Fessor says:

    Sopa The Hedgehog was a great game back in the day?

  3. charlie says:

    11/10

  4. This is awesome. You did a great job with this review.

  5. Hyrad says:

    Really cool game. Infinite replay value!

  6. Tim Roast says:

    This is exactly the type of game you would make if you were a developer.

  7. charlie says:

    I really appreciated the morality choices you were offered in SOPA.
    I know I’m in the minority here, but I opted for the good/”paragon” route by not even playing it.

  8. Joe Adanac says:

    Even though it sounds like SOPA has unfortunately been cancelled at the last minute, I just want to commend you for this terrific preview/review of what could have been a fantastic game. For lawyers.

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