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Don’t Hate The Player, Be The Game: A Review of NotGames’ Not For Broadcast


Written by Corey Fuimaono (he/they) @coreyfuimaono | Contributing Writer

Before I begin, I have one question: Will you rebel against the Man?

After the prior government gets swept up in a sex scandal, the citizens of England-adjacent country Territory One elect a new party that promises to shake things up. The partnership of the fresh group in parliament, the Advance party, consists of a lawyer and a drunkard TV personality who loves to speak his mind. While their message of radical changes like revoking the passports of the rich until they pay their fair share of taxes to bring about social equality sounds good in passing, not everyone is happy. Soon after the election, the left-wing fearing World Council imposes sanctions on the Territory, setting an example for other upstart nations and tumbling the Advance party toward an authoritarian grasp on the country. While this is happening on the surface, an underground movement of rebellion by the name of Disrupt is making their voices heard and have tapes they want you to play during the ad breaks on the National Nightly News. Now what’s your role in all of this calamity? Well, though the pay is average, you call the shots as a Vision Mixer at the state-owned broadcaster! Unfortunately, it’s up to you to decide how you want history to play out. Switch between four cameras, censor profanity or words that you think will make Big Brother upset, and correct any issues at the transmission tower before they knock you off the air (or not!). If that wasn’t challenging enough, while social unrest and war take place, you have a family to protect at the same time. 

Without spoiling too much, that's Not For Broadcast in a nutshell from developer NotGames. A “TV propaganda simulator”, as they coin it. It has the charm of British satire within a videogame and boasts four endings with fourteen unique epilogues! It incorporates a mix of novel text prompts and Full Motion Video (ie. live-action) to front its mechanics and decision trees. For anyone old enough to know this or for young nerdy sleuths who stake out YouTube videos on retro games, FMV gaming has often suffered bad visual quality due to difficulties regarding hardware, video compression and the lack of storage within older game media like CDs and cartridges. However, given that we now live in the internet age we have finally achieved smooth high-quality video with purposely terrible greenscreen! Despite this being such a small footnote that I’m sarcastically writing a fair amount about, trust me, it’s worth me stating that this is incredibly welcoming. What a feat!

Despite the grand hallways of text you have to read as the narrative goes on in between key shifts at your high-stakes low-reward job, there is some comedic relief between the dread-filled feelings that every single choice you make will reflect you, your family and the country’s future. While on the 9-5 grind, you’ll be rewarded with some of the weirdest shit ever put to air the more you advance within the game. Take the ad breaks for example. Choose between a new book from a left-wing version of conspiracy netcaster Alex Jones (named Alan James), a new exercise workout tape decked with 1980s Spandex, or a magazine series celebrating the existence of screws, bolts, and washer nuts. How invigorating! During some broadcasts, news presenters will chuck it over to coverage of a live sports event or an impromptu amateur musical number that you have to call the shots for. Just be sure not to cut to the fully nude rich people protesting during one segment, not just because it’ll affect your score, but also because it has been censored in post-production (lame).

Visuals and subject appeal aside, Not For Broadcast is brilliant despite the living dystopian nightmare that is a government acting in such a way that would give Stalin a raging hard-on, despite being dead still. Like the other independent games coming out nowadays, Not For Broadcast is a fresh alternative to the same ol’ boring and repetitive Massive Multiplayer Online or First Person Shooter strategy rage fest that mainstream devs continue to pump out. And there’s no microtransactions bullshit – Hallelujah! It’s also amazing that the production of this game, which began in 2018, soldered on through COVID, with a special broadcast from the cast’s own homes during times of isolation within Great Britain. The only thing I have to question the developers on, especially with the DLC that has come out since the initial release, is where to from here. Could the Steam Workshop floodgates be opened where other content creators may be able to construct custom broadcasts? That’d be a whole lot of work, yes. But one should know that there are so many geniuses behind computer screens, including some who once modelled their local community swimming pool in Garry’s Mod. Just think about the kids who have Blackmagic Cameras lying around.

For this and the fact that I work in the same dying industry that this game is based on - I’m giving this 4.5 stars out of 5. Be on the lookout for the new DLC, which comes out later this year.

Not For Broadcast is available for PC via Steam for $35.99, on your favourite consoles as well as Meta Quest.


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