10 reasons a prison game would be amazing

After thinking about it for all of five minutes, I decided that – as of yet – there hasn’t really been a brilliant game set inside a prison. I’m not talking about the sci-fi efforts of The Suffering or the brilliant Chronicles of Riddick. I mean a gritty take on the reality of being banged up and fearing for your safety in the communal showers every morning.

Imagine the possibilities? So that’s what I did and here, for your viewing pleasure, are a load of reasons why a prison environment for a game would be bloody brilliant…

It's all about the environment

Above: The island of Alcatraz would be perfect for a prison game setting

Instead of trying to digitally create a billion square miles of map to fanny around in like Just Cause 2’s Panau or GTAIV’s Liberty City a game set in confined surroundings would theoretically allow for far more detail throughout. Incredible facial animations, bodies that remain decomposing until the guards find them and the structures could be intricately detailed right down to each piss-soaked sheet of the bunk-beds. The overall look should give off an air of what it’s really like to be trapped in your personal hell.

Also, an island setting like San Francisco's infamous Alcatraz would allow for an even more isolated feel to proceedings. Imagine trying to swim for it in a daring escape before being stalked and eaten alive by attack seals. Or something.

Other activities

Imagine the scope for other things to do in choky apart from starting riots or having a 'bunk up' with a twink in a horrendous QTE fashion. Get a job in the kitchens perhaps...

Above: Getting a job in the kitchens could help to off a fellow inmate 

Or further your intelligence in the prison library to show your keepers that you're a reformed person. Maybe these could take the form of the tests in Bully/Canis Canem Edit with you gaining better negotiation skills when conversing with others. You could even forge a career in the tool sheds (making weapons?) or down in the boiler room (illegal fighting ring?), the options are plentiful. Not to mention indulging in prison's rule football or getting buff in the gym.

Choose your own path

How will you live out your prison life? Batter the snot out of your fellow inmates in a  bid to become the 'daddy' of your wing? Grab a job and further your education to try and prove to the governors that you're good for an early release? Or become a prison snitch as you rat out your buddies in return for perks like TVs or early parole? The choice would be yours and would end in either infamy amongst your cell-mates, gaining bail, a daring swim to life on the lam or...

Above: *Pop* *Fizz* *Gurgle*... and roll credits

See page 2 for gang warfare, prison hits and more




  • wakeandgame - August 12, 2014 11:16 a.m.

    Does this guy still work here? I have tried to send him a private message and it will not let me send.
  • ewan-lewis - September 8, 2014 4:21 p.m.

    I don't know but I posted a comment here just under a year ago and am still interested and want to know if anything has happened with this idea
  • ewan-lewis - September 8, 2014 4:35 p.m.

    His name is nathan irvine he has a twitter account so you could try and message him there
  • Balamoosh - October 25, 2013 7:11 a.m.

    This game is being made, it's called The Escapists (
  • 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.
  • wakeandgame - August 12, 2014 11:27 a.m.

    Hey man are you still here? I have tried to send you a private message but it will not allow me to.
  • 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.

  • 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. :(

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