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Video Game / Floor 13

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"In a democratic society like our own, how does an elected government keep its popularity? How are scandals averted, subversive elements controlled, undesirables eliminated, and incidents covered up? Just how does the government keep in power?"

Developed by PSI Software Designers and published in 1992 by Virgin Interactive, Floor 13 is an odd but unique strategy game for Amiga and DOS PCs. The game is set in Great Britain, where the player is promoted to the Director General of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries to replace the last DG who suffered a fatal case of defenestration.

Of course, the Department is merely a front to the player's actual task - to keep the Prime Minister and the Government popular while avoiding drawing too much attention. The player is presented with a variety of cases ranging from defecting politicians to secret societies. At the player's disposal are tools such as search teams, assassins and heavy assault squads. Failure to keep the Government popular will result in the player being fired, while being "too loud" will result in a certain Mr Garcia defenestrating the player like their precedessor.

To further complicate the game, the player is a member of a secret society as well, and has the option of completing their missions along with their usual duties in the department.

It is now Abandonware, and can be played online or freely downloaded here.

In 2020, Oversight Productions, which includes members of the original team, announced a successor game, Floor 13 Deep State.

The game provides examples of:

  • Big Brother Is Employing You: The player is also very close of being the Big Brother himself.
  • Body Snatcher: A society side quest involves these.
  • Church of Happyology: Averted. This game refers to the religious organization in question by its real name. It also uses the names of various existing real political parties and terrorist groups.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: The player has three different levels of torture. The highest level is even officially classified as "torture" and a person won't last more than a few days of it at a time.
  • Covert Group with Mundane Front: Officially, you are the Director General of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.
  • Destination Defenestration: Mr Garcia will literally remove the player from office if the player starts drawing too much attention to the existence of their Department.
  • Developer's Foresight: If you enter "J. Major" as your name (as in John Major, the actual British PM at the time), your name on the door will instead say "J. Minor"
  • Jerkass: The Prime Minister. Most of the time, he'll use the meetings to scold the player either for bad press or attracting too much attention. If the player is lucky and crafty, the PM may have nothing to yell about, but even then his commendations will be flat "you did ok"-type, with empty promises of a possible knighthood.
  • The Illuminati: The quests for the Secret Masters of Thoth (who qualify in their own right) deal with a variety of Illuminated organizations, including the Church of the SubGenius, the Pod People, and the Bavarian Illuminati themselves.
  • Kicked Upstairs: The normal ending of the game is an extreme version of this: Your employers congratulate you for a job well done, but in the same breath note that you know too much and you must be kept in a position where they can keep a close eye on you. So your reward is becoming the next Prime Minister.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: The "removal" teams tend to do this, which is probably the reason why they need much more planning time than the more direct heavy assault squads.
  • Multiple Endings: You can fail in two different ways (fail to keep the government's popularity above 50%, and thus get fired, or draw enough attention that Mr. Garcia gives you flying lessons) and succeed in two different ways as well. Either you make it through the entire game and become Prime Minister, or you succeed in all Secret Masters missions and become Grand Master of Thoth.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The game creates an uneasy atmosphere from how you are by all indications ordering horrible things to be done, but your only touchstone with those are dry terse official memos about the results.
  • Propaganda Machine: The player has a dis-information department at their disposal, but it can only be used a limited number of times. It's still very effective when used on the opposition.
  • Ransacked Room: The player can order "discreet" and "ransack" searches. The latter presumably leaves behind this, and if used too often will result in the Prime Minister getting angry.
  • Spiritual Successor: Black Closet is more or less a High School AU of Floor 13. Its developers never actually played Floor 13, but did explicitly draw inspiration from it.
  • Torture Always Works: Procedure Two torture is very effective, but even it takes a few days to extract the answers from the victim.
  • Unexpectedly Realistic Gameplay: You can try to enact smear campaigns against criminal/terrorist groups or secret societies. These never have any meaningful effect because in the former case the public already has such a negative view of them that you can't make it any worse, and in the latter the public does not believe they exist. The manual even cautions you about this.
  • Villain Protagonist: In order to progress in the game, the player has to order smear campaigns, assassinations, abductions and torture.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: The Prime Minister, unless the player screws up.