You Are Spam Zapper 3.1 is an entrant in the 2021 Interactive Fiction Competition. All of the entries can be browsed and experienced here.
Sometimes you play a game and it totally takes you by surprise. That’s what You Are Spam Zapper 3.1 did to me.
This Twine game takes place in the early 2000s. You are Spam Zapper 3.1. Your job is zap spam emails and keep them from getting into your human’s email inbox. Sometimes, the job is easy. Many of the emails are obviously fake and it’s easy to know that they should be zapped. Sometimes, it’s more difficult. Do you zap all of the ads or just some? What do you do when humans use weird symbols in their emails? Is it an emoji or is it a virus?
When I started playing, I thought the entire game was just going be reading email that were meant to parody the type of junk that we all used to get back in the early days of the the new century and laughing at how the internet used to be. There is a lot of that in the game but, as you read the emails, another story develops about your human and their friends and their attempts to communicate in a world that’s becoming depersonalized by technology. Do you get involved in your human’s life and with the lives of their friends? Do you reach out to the other plug-ins, who all have their job to do whenever the human turns on their computer? Or do you just do your job and zap anything that looks suspicious?
You Are Spam Blocker 3.1 is a memorable mix of comedy and drama that will take most players by surprise.