IF Comp ’14 – Simon Christiansen’s AlethiCorp!

October 3, 2014

Oh man I just realized what I should have done for that Enigma cover was make the blood in the shape of a question mark!  Hindsight is the worst.

I think I spelled Simon Christensen’s name right this year though!  No?  Fuck!

This should not be that hard.

[spoilers begin here]

Oh man, in order to play the game, you have to apply for a job with AlethiCorp on this really legit-looking fake corporate website!  I love it but also I am remembering how traumatic it is to apply for jobs online.  Hmm, let’s see, I think I want to be a Junior Cloud Synergy Analyst, because the other ones (Service Integration Manager and Associate Information Management Consultant) sound boring and do not evoke the pleasant images associated with the word “cloud,” by which I mean images of actual clouds.

What do you MEAN I’m not qualified to be a junior cloud synergy analyst?  You don’t know me!

Okay, fine, let’s try the first one.  Not qualified for that either?  I guess I’m going to apply for the blah blah information management consultant already falling asleep snore yawn.  (Fun fact:  My mom is currently chair of the business department at her university.  I can only imagine how constant and intense her disappointment with me must be.)

Oh man I love personality tests, though.  Especially the ones that present the questions as first-person statements (“Sometimes my eyes feel cold”) and ask you to agree or disagree.  Actually this reminds me of a really cool art piece that Ryan Veeder was telling me about (video).

Let’s see, obviously my favorite date is my birthday, and obviously if I were a bear I’d be a dwarf panda.  Had to google aletheia (truth or disclosure in philosophy) and I have no idea if that describes me more than magnanimity or not.  I am always a little jealous of people who can decide on a favorite color but then at the same time I feel superior to them because I view them as closing themselves off to the delights the rest of the spectrum has to offer.  This is fun.  I feel like we’re really getting somewhere in terms of analyzing my personality here.

Human rights…
[ ] Are necessary to prevent human rights violations
[ ] Are not necessary to prevent human rights violations
[ ] Lack ontological parsimony
[X] A grizzly bear
Finally, a question with an obvious answer.

Ha, it asked me the greatest number of civilian casualties I’d be willing to accept in order to eliminate a dangerous terrorist, I left it at 0, and it threw an error asking me to pick a number greater than 3.

Yay, they hired me!  That is officially the fastest the words “a grizzly bear” have ever gotten me a job.  So now I guess I just have to figure out what the hell it is I do.

Oh my gosh I’ve been invited to a potluck, what do I bring?  I guess I’ll make imaginary taco dip… actually, screw that, if all the prep time is imaginary, I’m making imaginary chicken tikka masala.  Bam, I just marinated some imaginary chicken for four hours in yogurt.  Wait, now I’m wondering if I should have used imaginary yogurt.  Nah, it’ll taste better this way.

Someone named Sandra sent me a picture of a train.  I wonder if she’s my boss.  Oh, okay, here’s another email from her with a job assignment!  I am having a lot of fun with this game.

omg there’s an online university and now I am learning about Haka, whatever Haka is.  I guess that’s why I’m learning about it.

Oh God they really just used “facilitating” and “synergistic” right next to each other and now I am falling asleep.

Haka developed from earlier rugby-based work methods, which were popular in the early 21st century.
Huh, is this an actual true thing?

The Resource Team works in accordance with the rules and processes of Haka, to ensure maximum synergy.
I literally think my brain is trying to shut down in order to protect me from boring corporatespeak.

The meeting is a stand-up, to keep the resources alert and attentive.
The resources… wait a minute, that’s us, isn’t it.  Ewww!

oh God there’s a test

I have no idea how those essay questions were scored, but I somehow got a 35/100 on the course.  Hmm.  Let’s take it again.  7/100?  Okay, let’s see, if I type in “No,” “uh-uh,” and “You can’t make me” as my answers, I get 53/100.  Let’s see if it’s deterministic or random.

…Random.  I’m keeping my 80 and getting far, far away from this Introduction to Haka course.  Let’s see what the actual game is like!

Okay.  Wow.  Lot of layers here.  One of my tasks in the mind-numbing corporate layer is to read a scathing critique of a mildly subversive novel, complete with excerpts.

“‘It’s no good, Lily,’ I sighed lugubriously. ‘We have reached the tipping point. Society is on the track to disaster, and if we don’t get off the train we will go right over the cliff with the rest of them.’ I looked towards the horizon, where the sun was setting. ‘We have to build something new. Out there.’”

There are also email and telephone conversations.

Martin: Hey, Sam. You busy?
Samuel: Oh, just putting bricks on top of other bricks, like I usually do this time of day. What’s up?
He puts bricks on top of other bricks
It might be his job but he does it for kicks
He’s Saaam!  Saaam!  Sam the Flippant Mason!

Hm.  I am Big Brother and I am supposed to flag things that are suspicious.  Okay, how about the fact that there is no such thing as an Ikea Oswald table?  That took me right out of the fiction.  Right out I tell you.  I have ragequit this game and am now browsing Ikea dining tables.  Aw, man, this one would have been perfect for that space in my apartment I kept not finding a dining table to go into.

Oooh, I am being contacted to go to work for the good guys!
Well, aren’t you a nice little corporate drone?
Only been here a day, and you’re already dispatching people to violate the privacy of others. Do you understand the power you yield?
Nope!  What I understand is that sugar snap peas are delicious.

What the hell is onboarding?  I’ll ask Wikipedia…
Onboarding, also known as organizational socialization, refers to the mechanism through which new employees acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviors to become effective organizational members and insiders.

Agent looked out window at passing cars. Agent noticed blue Cadillac that agent will never be able to afford. Jesus Christ, writing this way is exhausting. Who wrote this style manual? Anyway, nothing happened. Sorry.

I am continuing to flag suspicious things so that my failure to flag suspicious things does not itself become a suspicious thing.  I don’t know if this is a good idea or not, but also it seems like flagging things unlocks more content, so I’m gonna keep doing it until someone tells me specifically to stop.  Actually, come to think of it, I probably should have deleted the really suspicious conversation.  I wonder if I still can after I’ve flagged it?  Yes.  Yes I can.

Just received hacking instructions hidden in an autocomplete suggestion.  I am super digging the ARGiness of this game.

In France they have this thing called Soupe à L’oignon, which I’m sure you’ll find amazing! It’s basically soupified bread with a thick golden crust that is. to. die. for.
You layer buttered baguette toasts with grated cheese, sautéed onions and tomato purée, and then gently pour in salted water. By the time the soupy substance has been simmered and baked, it has turned into a kind of sweet bread pudding with a thick crust. I’ll tell you more some other time.
My new supervisor and I are going to get along just fine.

…Sandra sent me a picture of a train again.  I think Sandra just likes trains.

AHAHAHA Sandra just sent me an email labeled “Quick reminder” and the entire body of the email was a picture of a train.  Yeah, we can probably close the book on this one.

Um.  I’ve just been given the power to recommend a drone strike on any of the characters.  I guess I’m supposed to target the president of AlethiCorp?

AW MAN THIS WAS ALL A SETUP?  Well shit!  At least Sandra left me with one last picture of a train.

Yeah, that game was pretty sweet, although I do wish I could UNDO.  I wonder if there’s a good ending?  It seems unlikely for there to be one, somehow.


  1. If you play the good little corporate monkey and recommend the journalist as a subversive, you “win” the game and are taken to a hilarious weird-al video about corporate-speak (http://www.alethicorp.com/Final).

    But make sure you don’t try to turn-in your boss or you’ll be terminated with some nasty messages.

  2. I found a *hilarious* ending, but I’m loathe to spoil it. I think it was made possible partly by what I brought to the potluck.

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