This video game draws on research by the Nef think-tank which identifies the increasing ubiquity of branded stores on high streets as a cause of lost identity and the ‘clone town’ condition where everywhere looks alike.

Clone Town gives us a tongue-in-cheek experience of the market forces pushing the high street into banal ubiquity. Presented with a London high-street the player must manically click to try and stop the inexorable growth of brands across the storefronts. Brands grow from typical shop fronts into palaces of cloned consumerism unless beaten back by the clicking of a mouse. Unless the player is extremely quick, they are quickly overwhelmed by clone town, and trying to fight it off becomes a Sisyphean task doomed to failure.

By Lu-Ming Chen, Wentong Xu & Siyao Zhang as part of the RC12 Videogame Urbanism studio.