Neurocracy is a project conceived by Joannes Truyens, Younès Rabii, and myself, featuring visual direction and illustrations by Alice Duke and Ollie Tarbuck in addition to a range of futurist stories from contributing writers Leigh Alexander, Io Black, Holly Nielsen, Malka Older, Edward Smith, Axel Hassen Taiari, and Yudhanjaya Wijeratne. It aims to be equal parts interactive fiction and cautionary tale about the intersection of surveillance capitalism, big data, and authoritarianism. This is conveyed through the medium of a futuristic equivalent of Wikipedia known as Omnipedia, in which the reader is presented with articles and information in a familiar format so that they may piece together the history and events of the year 2049.
I wrote a lot of custom code (which is open source) to enable Drupal to behave like a wiki while also making the content itself simple to edit and expand upon. A simulated revision system was implemented to allow readers to jump between different iterations of the same content for chronological in-universe “days”.
Another system was created to allow us to define, manage, and display short pieces of content accessible by hovering over or tapping pseudo-links without leaving the page. Analogous to Wikipedia’s article previews, these pop-ups are displayed as rich tooltips (powered by Tippy.js) on wider screens, while on narrow screens they’re displayed as a panel that slides up into view.
The Drupal administration interface was expanded upon to accommodate the episodic day system, along with multiple user interfaces to manage everything from the pop-up content to various settings.
The first season of Neurocracy has been released. If you want to keep up to date with the project and get involved, visit the promo site for more information.
Press, awards, and reviews
We’ve been covered by numerous publications from The Guardian to PC Gamer, and have been nominated for and won several awards:
View press, awards, and reviews
- Eurogamer gave us a glowing review, and also named us the game of the week on that same day.
- Sam Barlow (of Her Story fame) had very kind and positive things to say about us.
- The Guardian says: “[Neurocracy 2.049 is] such an imaginative and meaningful use of a browser experience to create engrossing narrative. Please do give it a go.”
- We’re one of the winners of the Columbia University School of the Arts’ Digital Storytelling Lab Digital Dozen awards 2022
- We’re nominated for Excellence in Narrative in the Independent Games Festival (IGF) 2022
- We won first place in the if:book UK New Media Writing Prize 2021
- We were included in the “Did you know” section of the Wikipedia main page in October, 2021 (see also)
- The Verge: Neurocracy is future fiction in the form of Wikipedia
- PC Gamer: Solve a murder by flicking through a fake future Wikipedia
- PC Gamer: How Deus Ex inspired a Wikipedia-style murder mystery
(also in the print edition, number 350, pages 14 and 15)
- VICE: ‘Neurocracy’ Is a Murder Mystery That Plays Like a Wikipedia Binge
- Kotaku: Dive Into A Murder Mystery On This Creepy, Cyberpunk Wikipedia
- The Guardian: Neurocracy: futuristic murder-mystery fiction as told through Wikipedia
- ARGNet: Neurocracy Turns Wiki Wrangling Into a Murder Investigation
- Electronic Gaming Monthly: Hypertext Transfer: How Wikipedia and its Forerunners Inspired a New Kind of Game
- Neurocracy won third place in the IntroComp 2019 interactive fiction competition