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10 reasons a prison game would be amazing

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Gang warfare


What prison would be complete without it's very own warring gangs? Answer: A really soft one. This fictional prison setting would come packing numerous gangs trying to gain control of the entire facility, like so...


Above: You'd be able to track your gang's influence throughout the action 

Playing off different factions in order to survive or simply boost your ranks would create an ever-increasing hostile environment where one false move could land you with a shiv up your arse. Negotiations with gang leaders, using a Mass Effect-style conversation wheel, could mean the difference between a successful peace pact or an all-out stab-a-thon. Maybe even trades using food, cigarettes or drugs could be used to placate a rival set of hoodlums.

You could even order your gang to perform hits or even control them in a squad during riots, like you can in Freedom Fighters. "Lifers, flank the sex offenders on the right. ATTACK!" Magic.


Be the hitman


You can't just go around whacking people in prison, or so I'm led to believe, so you're going to have to get creative. Agent 47 levels of creativity...


Above: Not 47's most genius idea, but it's fairly effective

These hits could be contracted by shady folk outside of the jail for various reasons including doing away with a snitch to protect the prison governor's reputation or simply silencing a rival gang leader. Slip some glass into some gruel. Slide a razor blade into a cell-mate's soap. Or simply oil up some stairs and wait for your target to smash their head on every step from top to bottom. 

Obviously, if you got caught you'd be in for some punishment. Maybe a spell in solitary confinement would mean all your accrued possessions and perks being removed and leaving you to start all over again. Or maybe even a serious prison beat-down - an impossible you versus 20 inmates where you're definitely going to the medical wing. It could even mean you can't fight for a while in-game while your wounds heal.   


Hostage situations



Above: "Just give him his porn mags back. It's all he wants"

Ahh, a prisoner's desperate attempt to make the authorities listen to him. Terrifying in real life, but perfect for adding tension to this prison game. Take a hostage to either a) prove you're mad as a box of frogs or b) gain leverage in a negotiation scenario. It'd be a huge gamble to initiate one but it could gain you more reputation and perks as a result. Y'know, after the prison guards have roughed you up and sent you down to solitary? This is where your conversational skills would come to the fore.


And the rest...


  • Weapons: The impact of finally getting your hands on a gun should be akin to when Cash gets hold of one in Manhunt - the anticipation is everything. Makeshift blades, bats and other gritty damage do-ers would be your main source of maiming.
  • Minigames: Taking a leaf from the Rockstar book of 'stuff to do', I'm thinking arm-wrestling, cards and betting on fist-fights. In a dream world there would be a Red Card Soccer style game where it's inmates versus prison guards - special points awarded for breaking an officer's shin.
  • Bribes and snitches: Turn stool-pigeon yourself or find them and beat them for information about rival gangs or just for fun if that's your idea of excitement. You psycho. Also, bribing guards or accepting them would result in their own specific gains or losses.
  • High security inmates: Think Hannibal Lecter, Charles Bronson or any other super-dangerous prisoner that has to be kept in a tightly secured cell. Now imagine them breaking out and coming looking for you in the darkness of the prison basement. Scared yet? You should be.

So what do you think? Does a prison environment sound like a game you'd be into as much as us? Is there another criminally overlooked setting that you think would be equally as good, if not better? Then let us know in the comments field and hopefully some developer will stumble across this article, make it and give you millions for your idea. It could happen.

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57 comments

  • Balamoosh - October 25, 2013 7:11 a.m.

    This game is being made, it's called The Escapists (http://escapistgame.com)
  • ewan-lewis - October 13, 2013 1:38 p.m.

    we should find a way to make it together.i also think it should be a online multiplayer game.also i think it would be good if you could escape and be on the run and hide and get jobs or join gangs on the outside
  • TheDeathlyHallows - February 19, 2012 5:51 a.m.

    I thought of an idea like this aswell, why don't they make prison games like this, I mean if we can think of the game why can't they.
  • stuart-neil - January 9, 2012 2:38 p.m.

    sounds like a great idea i'd buy it if they made it
  • forgamesake - September 3, 2010 11:49 p.m.

    first off, great idea. now for the obvious. im not sure i agree with the moral issue. particually as you already have such games as manhunt(glorifying murder) grandtheft auto(theft, murder, drugs and prostitution) and Bully(title self explanatry) lastly im not sure if anyone actually read the article properly. people writing comments such as "Technically, a prison game has been made. Escape from Butcher Bay" read the second line "I’m not talking about the sci-fi efforts of The Suffering or the brilliant Chronicles of Riddick" and this is not an iidea anything like arkham asylum. for starts arkham asylum is set in a mental institution. secondly your not an inmate (your batman for christ sake) all of that aside i agree 100% that a game like this has to be made!
  • zigs - July 16, 2010 1:35 a.m.

    This would be absolutely fucking awesome. Instabuy.
  • GamesRadar_NathanIrvine - July 12, 2010 3:48 p.m.

    I'm glad to hear that so many people share my thoughts on a prison game. I'll be honest, I was thinking mostly of Rockstar when writing this piece. It just seems like the perfect setting for an action-packed and atmospheric title that I know they'd make superb. I will say though, @crumbdunky could be on to something. Maybe there's more of a political reason for why a game based in a real prison (not sci-fi) hasn't been done yet. I hope not, but I can see an issue with it being seen as glamorising prison life, not to mention that tabloid baiting subject of violence in games again. Fingers crossed it can be done though. And on the off-chance this idea is picked up and GR are credited for it's existence I'll ensure everyone that comments on here is in the credits and receives at least 3p per sale. Possibly.
  • UncleMomo - July 12, 2010 2:57 p.m.

    The old timers might remember a couple of games that featured prisonsin them. The Great Escape for the Speccy and the opening section of Shadow Man on the SNES However neither was as smart as this game would potentially be.
  • suicidalstickman - July 10, 2010 2:35 p.m.

    It could be good but I have no idea how the main story would work though. How could you finish a game like that?
  • presc1ence - July 10, 2010 1:58 p.m.

    this sounds like it would be grea! Not sure how you'd simulate stuffing stuff up ya arse to smuggle it though!lol!
  • Clovin64 - July 9, 2010 10:13 p.m.

    First off, Congragulations for not making any rape jokes (if there were some, I wasnt paying attention, soz). Seriously GR, you should send your game ideas to good developers. It would be a shame if these brilliant ideas were wasted. If I played this game, I would try to be the nice guy and make lots of friends and make everyone love me. Not physically.
  • iHazWepon - July 9, 2010 10:01 p.m.

    PLEASE ROCKSTAR GIVE US THIS GAME!!
  • connermcalpine - July 9, 2010 7:26 p.m.

    if this game was made i think bioware and ruffian games bioware for its rpg elements and ruffian for its amazing open world design (they made crackdown... enough said)
  • D0CCON - July 9, 2010 6:39 p.m.

    Sounds awesome. I think that if it had mini-games, there should be one for trying to avoid you cell mate once he gets a bit too lonely and figures that if he isn't going to find a woman, you're the next best thing.
  • sft10 - July 9, 2010 6:14 p.m.

    very good idea for a game, but maybe it could have a thing like the godfather 1 and 2 where you get like protection money or something from the other inmates. alas a man can dream....
  • ultimatum7 - July 9, 2010 2:17 p.m.

    at first i thought, a bit like grandtheftauto meets bully, in the sense of people ruling over you, meets manhunt. in prison. with ideas from this article. then i realized that rockstar could really do this. ahh... that would be a great game... THEN i thought "seeing rockstar made these games, why haven't they make a prison game? it would seem like they would have thought of that. :(
  • Mclovin2 - July 9, 2010 12:45 p.m.

    Sega Rally FTW!
  • Mattattack - July 9, 2010 10:34 a.m.

    Easily one of the best genre ideas ever! If a developer included every point mentioned in this article, it could be the best game of the decade!
  • philipshaw - July 9, 2010 9:46 a.m.

    We already had something like this with Batman: Arkham Aslyum but I know what you mean that an actual prison game could be amazing
  • joabbuac - July 9, 2010 9:04 a.m.

    Go download Mdickies hard time....its free...and not very good atall....but has some awesome ideas if it wasnt made by just one guy. Alot of your ideas are in there. You get time added on for being bad too.

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