Slow and steady SpyParty wins the race to open beta

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Here’s an odd fact: SpyParty has been in development for so long that it actually predates both partying and espionage. Both were promptly invented when humankind recognised the brilliance of the game’s fictional conceit and rallied round to justify it.

Here’s another: the last time we covered SpyParty was 286 days ago, when Chris Hecker revealed the yummy fruits of his collaboration with artist and fellow Maxis alumnus John Cimino.

Now, though, we’re in the endgame. Hecker has opened up early beta access for all who are willing to pay for it.

You’ll want to head here, fill out a few forms, pay the required $15 via PayPal, and check your email.

“I will eventually write something really awesome here, about all the cool stuff I have planned for the game this year like more maps and missions, spectation and replays, and more, and how friendly and helpful the community is for new players, and even the plan for getting the new artwork in,” writes Hecker. “But right now, I’m about to collapse from exhaustion, so you get this slightly lame paragraph of meta instead.”

A recap: SpyParty isn’t about an uncharacteristically overt gathering of the intelligence community, but rather about being the only spy at a regular, common-or-garden party. You’re there to pick up or drop off some delicate information, probably on microfilm, because flash drives just aren’t the same. A simple enough job.

But what’s this? Through the bay window there, across the road, on the rooftop opposite: a sniper. Another player, watching for any movement that doesn’t fit the pattern religiously attended to by the AI party-goers swarming around you. Perhaps he’ll spot you heading for the bookcase and, without daring to take a breath – KABLAMO.

Or perhaps he’ll shoot the wrong guest, and you’ll leave in the disarray that follows.

That’s SpyParty: a game where one guy gets to pretend to be a robot, and the other gets to be anti-Decker, staring down the human in a room full of androids.

Does that sound $15 good to you?

Thanks, Shacknews.