NaNoRenO 2019: Prison of Lies

“Prison of Lies” by LockedOn & OddTillTheEnd.

“Four innocent prisoners on death row must decide which among them will die to meet the prison’s quota. […] [A] psychological visual novel about lies, trust, and empathy. There are four chapters, each of which [gets] progressively shorter. [It is] mostly linear, with a twist[.]”

While “Prison of Lies” was originally made for the NaNoRenO 2019 game jam in March and April, I just discovered it as an entry for the Writers Summer 2019 – and I am glad I did. It is a visual novel with roundabout one hour of playtime and a tempting narrative setting. You step in the role of the death row inmate J, who is locked up in a room with other prisoners named E, V and Q. The reason for your meeting is sadly not a pleasant one, as the warden of the jail explains: You have to choose who of you four must die, so that the death row can reach its punishment quota of the year. If the vote is a tie, both chosen persons will be killed.

All of you four claim to be innocent, and all but one actually are. To make the whole mess even more suspenseful, the warden gives each of you a lie detector. Whenever a person actively lies, the thing goes off. While many serious topics like the violence abuse by the police or the reasonability of the death penalty get broached in “Prison of Lies”, the biggest focus is on the definition of truth. In the later stages of the game, J will learn about half-truths and how to use them. But there are even more secrets to discover. [PLAY]