The video game «XV-1900/86» is set in 1986, in an interrogation room in the GDR. The game simulates the interrogation techniques and undermining tactics of the totalitarian GDR regime and the uncertainty encapsulated in questions such as «Did I do anything?», «What did I do?», «What do they know?», «What could be a crime?» While the player has to fend for themselves and may at times be ignored, subjected to endless silence and confronted with false allegations, the game is building up with panels emerging from the black of the screen. «Will I change sides? Become a part of the system?» The interrogation scene is radicalised through multi-faceted manifestations of anthropomorphism and thus becomes a timeless and tangible experience for the player. «Will I put on a dog’s mask after all?» – or is that just a memory?
In his thesis, Pulkit Singh addresses the subject of anthropomorphism in comics, films and games. Beginning with classic examples from the comics scene such as «Fritz the Cat» and «Maus» up to animated series such as «BoJack Horseman». Anthropomorphism always is a balancing act, but one with potential: In the best case, however, i.e. as a design tool, it can be used to great effect – handling topics such as sexuality, racial unrest and psychological problems, and making dictatorships playable. Pulkit Singh applies this accumulated knowledge, expands it and presents it in a game in which subject, storytelling and gameplay blend into each other – in an interrogation room in 1986 in the dying years of the GDR.