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Sign of the Times: ‘Robbery’ featuring Rholin X

SEEN feels that most video games reference whatever is going on in the world at that time, but never has this been more true than now: ‘Robbery’, featuring Rholin X is a new track from the forthcoming Coldcut x On-U Sound collaborative album ‘Outside The Echo Chamber’ on Ahead of Our Time (a Ninja Tune imprint). The track is also available in a new format: a free videogame for WebGL (internet browsers), OSX, iOS and Android devices. Topically resonant with the recent revelations of the Bank of England and Tory government involvement in the huge LIBOR fixing scandal, the game is a satirical comment on probably the World’s biggest crime of all time: the ongoing heist of the global economy by the ‘Bankstr’ inner circle.

‘Robbery’ is a 3D Virtual Surreality® game set in a world where the banks have stolen everyone’s savings, the Government lets them get away with it, and the people are left with the bill… Maybe not that surreal then. You’re given the help of Coldcut who imprison the main Bankstr in a crystal ball. But it’s down to you to deliver justice and save the world, overcoming many challenges to arrest, charge and jail the miscreant in three increasingly difficult levels of Marble Madness-style rolling action.

With a trademark banging beat mixed by Adrian Sherwood (On-U Sound) and featuring JA vocalist Rholin X’s musing on who’s really robbing who, each level has a different rub of the track to which your gameplay adds extra sounds. On completing the game, the user gets a bonus track.

The cut ‘n’ paste graphics nod to Terry Gilliam and sample Gillray, the leading caricaturist of the 18th Century. Also, more modern villains such as Mrs Batcher and Theresa Tankstr, relentless protectors of the elite who attack from the far right. Avoid Adam Smith (the father of dismal-nomics) and watch out for that champagne, it may give the enemy a bonus. Add a main Bankstr character who looks suspiciously like the bastard offspring of the Monopoly man and Richie Rich, and Ninja Tune co-founders Coldcut are again mashing up music, media and political satire in fine style. Following up the directions in their 1988 sampled graphics ecogame ‘Top Banana’ and their seminal ‘Let Us Play’ CD-ROM which signposted today’s apps and game/music convergence.

For those wanting to dig deeper, the game has an info link to a Robbery knowledge page.

Coldcut commented: ‘The ‘financial crisis’ was just one moment in a big global rip-off whereby the 1% continue to grab more of everything from the 99% (you) – here’s how that actually works.’

The page contains documentaries, videos, books, journalism, campaigns to join, infographics and memes. A decent information library focused on Banking and Inequality. This is part of an ongoing Coldcut ‘Infobone’ MOOC project, a free online teaching resource to inform and inspire activists.

Warning: The game is addictive, and tough. But getting the Bankstrs into jail was never going to be easy. Expect much phone twisting action, frustration and mirth on the Tube, especially in the City of London area. How are your rolling skills?

Robbery featuring Rholin X is taken from Coldcut x On-U Sound’s ‘Outside The Echo Chamber – released 19th May via Ahead Of Our Time – available digitally, on CD and as part of a limited 7″ box set.

Pre-order here.


Photo: Hayley Louisa Brown