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Conspiracy! review – help a Trumpist president steal an election

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January 20, 2021 at 03:00PM

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PC, Mac; Tim Sheinman
In this brief but insidious information game, you’re an aide to a defeated commander-in-chief who is refusing to concede

The terrible truth about conspiracy theories is that they’re fun. Making and sharing connections offers a sense of control so potent we might willingly blind ourselves to the provenance of the information in question – a tendency amplified by online recommendation algorithms, which point us towards ideas we already sympathise with. This is the gloomy message of Conspiracy!, an extremely timely text game in which you fabricate a plot to steal a US election.

Created in December, as Donald Trump and his followers doubled down on claims of voting fraud, the game casts you as an aide to an ousted Republican president who is refusing to concede. To make your employer’s case, you must assemble evidence for a conspiracy that folds in every deep state fairytale from human sacrifice to the ruinous effects of 5G internet. Play is about simple but satisfying comparison and deduction. You comb through a small stash of newspaper excerpts, podcasts, forum posts and classified emails, assigning dates to a series of captioned Polaroids. Get five dates correct, and the game locks them in while handing you fresh materials for your investigation.

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