Title: Not for Broadcast
Genre: Indie, Simulation, Point & Click, Dystopian
Available On: PC
Tested On: PC
Official Website: https://www.notforbroadcastgame.com/
Release Date: Jan 30, 2020
Where to Buy: Steam
Controlling what the population sees on television is no small feat. Whether one lives in the country of England, Australia, or the United States, it is someone’s job to make sure programming follows rules. It is not as physically strenuous as other positions but can be just as mentally taxing. What if you had to enforce rules you do not agree with? Not for Broadcast will certainly challenge what you’re willing to let slide.
Sure, censoring and content approval is important to good ratings. But what if the ratings need to go a specific direction? Many newscasts have to be careful about what they air. Will you be the person National Nightly News can count on?
Not for Broadcast Gameplay
When Not for Broadcast first began, it reminded me very much of Five Nights at Freddy’s. Not in the way that it played, but how character movement is presented. You are fixed to the broadcast room for the National Nightly News. What started as cleaning the broadcast room turned into me controlling the broadcast.
My first task was putting together that night’s airing of the National Nightly News. To maintain a proper number of viewers, the broadcast has to be almost perfect. Keeping the camera on the person speaking was paramount. Secondly, came adjusting shots so that the audience was kept interested in continuing to watch. But it wasn’t trying a new job that Not for Broadcast makes difficult. It is contending with signal interference that threw me off.
While attempting to put together the shots, I had to contend with outside signal interference. If the signal was not strong enough, audiences tuned in to the show would see almost nothing but static. Too much static and the audience would steadily drop. This was indicated by a line that was broken into the colors red, yellow, and green. If the line was in the green, the audience was at an ‘adequate’ number. Red signifies the exact opposite of green.
Dave, one of the employees in the building, acts as your guide for most of the game’s beginning. He’s straight to the point and gets the job done in a way that isn’t confusing. When he was done, it was on to the real deal. During a press conference, I had to deal with a fair deal of swearing. A man drinking what appeared to be Gin expressed himself with a few colorful words. I had two seconds before the words escaped me to press the big red “Censor” button. If I failed to do so too many times, Not for Broadcast would punish me by taking away most of my audience. It’s a stressful yet interesting concept, giving you only a limited time to react to less accepted words.
In addition to presenting a family-friendly broadcast, I had to pre-load a few ads to use during the same time. A timer at the top of the screen would count down to a ‘commercial break.’ Just as this break began, I had to hit the corresponding A, B, or C to present something. It was entirely possible to start it too early or too late. This also affected ratings. Also, it was extremely bad practice to show the same ad over and over again. The blinking lights did nothing to help keep my focus, which factors into part of the challenge.
Broadcasting Isn’t for Everyone
While the graphics and button layout seemed simple, actually playing the game was not. Sure, the directions were easy to follow. But much like IKEA furniture and their instructions, putting it into practice took some effort. The hardest part had to be keeping the camera angles interesting.
Former broadcast directors have shared how realistic the stress of the game is. Simply based on the environment, it had reminded them of when they were first starting in the television industry. I had wondered if the multiple distractions was a normal part of the day’s operations. And they had shared some that it was quite similar to their previous profession. This experience of stress may deter some players. If your temper during a gaming session is easily triggered, you might want to skip Not for Broadcast. If it is not, then it may just be the thing for you.
Final Verdict: Not for Broadcast is a stressfully realistic simulation in broadcast directing. You must direct the nightly news to the best of your abilities. It is your job to keep the audience captivated, regardless of what they see on screen. Available on PC, the game is great for anyone looking to have a practice run at broadcast directing. The game emulates life in a disturbingly realistic way. That could be good or bad, depending on your perspective. If you can handle some intense stress, Not For Broadcast may just be the thing for you.