In Panopticon, it’s your job as the jailer to scan the cells and watch for illicit activities. Use your voice or a whistle to put a stop to it.
Keep your eyes open! And welcome to Panopticon, a prison simulator. In this VR game you are the warden of a prison operated by a private company. Beware, inmates are dangerous and sneaky. Your job is to make sure they don’t escape during your shift.
Your only weapon is a whistle that triggers the closing mechanism of a cell in order to isolate its rebelling dweller and prevent his or her escape. At the end of the day, you’ll be judged on your efficiency at keeping inmates from leaving. Be fast and responsive or you might land in one of those cells!
The architecture of Panopticon is based on the eponymous concept and design by the XIXth century English philosopher Jeremy Bentham, where many individuals separated from one another can be viewed by a single invisible person in a central tower. Later, the french philosopher Michel Foucault used it as a metaphor for systems of social control and normalization. This interpretation is all the more relevant today, as technology has become an enabler of a mass surveillance happening both at the government level and at the personal level: a social media network is like a Panopticon in which users assume they are being watched and judged on the basis of the content they share, while also acting as the warden of everybody else.