Once, when I was a young warthog, some friends and I found a subversive little role playing game from West End Games. The setting was perfect for us, the perpetually doomed Reagan Youth, and the plights of our perpetually dying characters made up for many a fantastic weekend.
Paranoia has managed to keep on going in the years since then, and has evolved into quite the franchise. Now, Bigben Interactive has a pretty major video game adaptation coming out, and you should see it for yourself.
Viewing is mandatory.
Viewing is seditious.
Report yourself to Friend Computer for a free prize!
It's great to see that Bigben has kept the humorous futility of Paranoia in place, since that's the only thing that keeps players from crying themselves to sleep.
Characters in Paranoia are Troubleshooters, since their jobs are to find trouble, and shoot it. They are also tasked with tracking down secret societies and killing mutants, which is made all the more difficult since they are most likely members of secret societies, and probably mutants.
Characters rank up by following the color spectrum, Red coming first. Most characters don't make it past red to orange, but that's okay. Every time your character dies, they come back as a fresh clone.
Here's a press release from Bigben regarding Paranoia: Happiness is Mandatory:
Paranoia: Happiness is Mandatory
Mad, sardonic, and a cult favourite: Paranoia is becoming
a video game!
Lesquin, April 3rd, 2019: Bigben is happy to announce that Paranoia: Happiness is Mandatory, an adaptation of the cult role-playing game of the '80s, is currently being developed by Black Shamrock's teams, and will therefore join Bigben's extensive catalogue of games.
Created in 1984 by Greg Costikyan, Dan Gelber, and Eric Goldberg, Paranoia was inspired by the works of Kafka, Orwell, and Huxley. It tackles the idea of a population controlled by technology, a subject which is central to our current day society.
Such was its success that several re-releases were produced, turning the game into a veritable touchstone for role-playing gamers of all ages. And its fame hasn't diminished any in recent years: recent crowd-funding campaigns have made it possible to successfully release a French re-release of the game called Paranoïa: l'édition post-post-post Moderne.
Paranoia: Happiness is Mandatory plunges players into an oppressive universe where The Computer, an artificial intelligence, controls and watches over Alpha Complex, a human city where an inhabitant's social standing is determined by colour-coded security clearances. In this mad universe, the player will learn through off-the-wall dialogues that happiness is mandatory, that anyone can turn out to be a traitor, and asking too many questions is treason against The Computer.
"With Paranoia: Happiness is Mandatory, we wanted to bring together video games and role-playing games, two universes that are vastly different yet complement each other perfectly. Players will learn more about the universe while role-players will discover, controller in hand, the playful aspect of the adaptation. We're thrilled to be able to adapt this unique and crazy universe as a video game!" declares Benoît Clerc, Bigben's Head of Publishing.
"As fans of Paranoia's very original, complex, and sardonic universe, we're proud to be able to contribute to its adaptation alongside Bigben and thus offer a unique experience to lovers of video game and tabletop role-playing games," proclaims Olivier Masclef, Black Shamrock's Managing Director.
"Stay alert! Trust no one! Keep your laser handy!' Those catchphrases announced a game that surprised and delighted tabletop role-players, by gleefully subverting the play style of D&D and other Very Serious Games — and introduced dark humor that married the tone of Monty Python with Quentin Tarantino films and humor aimed at adults to the genre. Now Paranoia is set to upend your RPG expectations in a computer game that's more fun than you can stand." Says Eric Goldberg, co-designer of Paranoïa.
Paranoia: Happiness is Mandatory is faithful to its pen and paper progenitor. The player, leading a squad of 4 Troubleshooters, is tasked with tracking down traitors. Serving The Computer can be very risky, but it lets the most tenacious Troubleshooters rise quickly through the hierarchy. And since death is waiting for the player just around each corner, they have access to 5 clones which allows them to develop their character in order to accomplish their goals and unmask their enemies.
We'll have more information on Paranoia as the game gets closer to release!