Emotional Survival Game Sheds Light On Harsh Reality Of Ridesharing
Neo Cab is game set in a dystopian society where gamers take on the role of rideshare drivers and experience the struggle that real-life Uber or Lyft drivers are familiar with
San Francisco game studio Chance Agency is developing a game to shed light on the harsh realities of technology’s effects on human interactions, in particular how ride-sharing apps like Uber or Lyft can sometimes dehumanize the driver. In this dystopian society inside the fictional city of Los Ojos, most drivers have been replaced by autonomous cars, but the few that remain keep their jobs because of the human contact they provide, which passengers crave. “Neo Cab is an emotional survival game about gig labor, tech disruption and the experience of being a driver-for-hire—perhaps the last of their kind,” reads the website.
It gets complicated. To succeed as a driver in Neo Cab, players have to keep Lina, the protagonist, from emotional disruption. This means navigating every type of costumer (even the ones who puke on your back seat) without compromising your mental stability or being rude. To measure Lina’s mood, the game uses a device that mirrors back her feelings in a specific color, showing whether she’s happy, angry or sad. Her available reactions are based on the color of her emotional state.
This emotional survival game draws several parallels to real-life gig-labor and ride-sharing applications. According to The Verge, the developers drew from interviews and stories of Uber and Lyft drivers to feed the game’s sequences. While the game takes place in the future, like many dystopias it really serves to comment on contemporary society, pointing out problems already present. Neo Cab is still under early development and will be available on Windows, Mac and Linux.