These video games explore the rituals of police work: 'Rooftop Cop' - Brooklyn


Feb. 20, 2015 7:33 am

These video games explore the rituals of police work: ‘Rooftop Cop’

This week's Digital Art Friday features a thought-provoking series of video games created by Tisch grad Stephen Clark.
“The Datamines” is one of five parts of “Rooftop Cop,” a 2014 game series by Stephen Clark.

"The Datamines" is one of five parts of "Rooftop Cop," a 2014 game series by Stephen Clark.

(Screenshot via

Rooftop Cop is a series of games by Stephen Clark that are meant to make its players think about police work.

The idea behind them is that being a police officer is like being part of a cult, one its members experience through a career of rituals — such as crowd control, walking beats, processing arrests, etc., etc.

Clark made the game as his master’s thesis at the NYU Tisch School of Arts. He wrote a thorough breakdown and artist statement for the NYU Game Center.

In his post-mortem for the game, Clark writes that he grew up a privileged kid with a happy childhood, meanwhile surrounded on every side by destructive institutions. In his conclusion, he writes, “I am struck with a humorous sadness when I think about how many wretched things are abetted by the fact that it’s always possible to find a way to be happy.”

Through five games, the player is given perspective on one ritual of police work. For a real unpacking of these games, check out the coverage on Kill Screen.

Here’s one of the promo videos for one of the project’s five games, “The Datamines,” in which you break through floor after floor of a building, gathering evidence. It speaks somewhat to the surveillance state, which has been a hot topic in the tech community lately.

You can help Clark get the project onto Steam, by voting for it on Steam Greenlight:

Vote now
Companies: NYU Game Center

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