Preview: Alt-minds

It’s hard to define Alt-minds as a video game (in the classic sense of the term anyway). Alt-Minds is more an experiment, an in-depth narrative trial if you will. To understand the concept you will need to listen very carefully.

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Produced by French developer Lexis Numérique and communication giants Orange, Alt-Minds drops you into a world full of pseudo-fringe science and murder mysteries, but rather than approaching it from the generic video game angle, Alt-Minds brings in aspects of other media forms, specifically that of television and film.

As an eight-part web series it allows players to join in by solving the crimes within each episode, each part will roughly cost £2.50 and will go hand-in-hand with the free smartphone app and website, each allowing you to solve parts of the mystery, however, they are all optional; allowing players to gain either the full experience from every part of the story, or to simply customise the way they play, by only using the website and the web-series as a minimum.

The real genius behind Alt-Minds is its set up, Orange and Lexis Numérique have partnered with hundreds of websites to create fake information; the example given at the press conference was Facebook and some form of car registration number site, allowing you to look up information within the boundaries of real life, whilst we weren’t given a true hands-on demo, we were shown some of the in-game interfaces and a small clip of the first episode.

Some of the technology involved is quite impressive, It was all very “C.S.I” allowing you to ‘pause’ videos and ‘zoom in’ on minor details such as car registration plates and faces in the background, you can then filter the image and clean it up to make it readable.

Quite interestingly, Alt-Minds is set in modern day Europe – allowing for current events to be seen within the game, Djamil Kemal, spokesman of Lexis Numérique gave several anecdotes based on the sort of technology you’d see in the game, or at least, examples akin to the stuff you’d see in the game, including a tap that uses nano-technology, and an invisible car; technology that is allegedly under research currently, but will be made possible within the next few years.

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As a games journalist I can’t accurately comment upon the acting involved within the web-series; but it was all very shakey-cam for realism sort of thing, something that could potentially help with getting more in-depth, but also something that might just ruin the appeal, the actors however all seemed to play their role with enough realism and definitely made it interesting to watch.

You can research everything from within and outside the game, as the developers have gone all out on partnering up to make it seem like these events are real – and you’ll even be able to talk to the characters within the game, as they’ve also hired actors to play these roles. Actors that will reply to emails, to facebook chats, etc. It’s the world’s first fully interactive crime novel that works great on paper, only time will tell as to whether or not it will work in practice.

Alt-Minds is released later this year, with the first episode of the web series being free and will only be available in Europe, with the smart phone application being available on iOS, Android and Windows phones.

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