Cold war, warm heart: The spies who love me

The daughter of two Danish Military Intelligence operatives has drawn on her childhood to create Cosmic Top Secret, a wonderful new gaming experience that is available to download from November 15

You can now discover some of Denmark’s darkest military secrets – without getting arrested.

They’re wrapped up in this weird and wonderful video game made by a daughter whose parents, unbeknownst to her, were employed by Military Intelligence.

Spies like us
A steadily growing trend in video games is autobiographical storytelling – an approach that has produced both fun and emotionally substantial results.

Cosmic Top Secret, a new release from the Copenhagen-based indie developer Klassefilm, is certainly continuing that trend with a uniquely visual eclecticism (for example, characters are frequently made of cardboard that ravels, rolls and unravels accordingly), elevating this interactive 3D sandbox story into an entirely atypical gaming experience.

Layer by layer, the game delves into the Danish state’s anti-communist efforts, simultaneously revealing the impact of secret service life on a small family unit.

Spymaster of the house
Trine Laier is a graduate of the directing course at the National Film School of Denmark.

She posits herself at the centre of the game as ‘T’, an inquisitive, terrier-like protagonist who relentlessly trails her father with endless questions about his secret-life: Was he a spy?

Despite Trine’s central role, this is, of course, the story of her parents – particularly her father and the shadowy world he inhabited.

And over the seven-year development period, she had qualms telling his story.

Our kind of traitor
“I have had guilt-stricken nights where I woke up asking myself whether I’m misusing my parents’ story. I do think I treat them, and the rest of the characters, with nothing but love and respect, but nevertheless the thought of staging myself, my friends and family as characters in a video game is provocative,” Laier told CPH POST.

“Despite the serious setting, Cold War and all, I really wanted to promote the loving and humorous interactions that of course exist between my parents and I. It is important for me that the users of the game themselves come to think about their relations with their own parents. Or indeed their children.”

A view to an edit
As with the familial secrets, some consideration had to be given to the release of state secrets, as the game does include real case files.

Trine organised a meeting between her parents and the Danish military intelligence to discuss what secrets could and couldn’t be exposed.

To find out the answer to that quandary, you’ll have to play the game when it’s released on November 15 …

Cosmic Top Secret is garnering outstanding praise on the festival circuit and will be available on most platforms including iOS, Android and Steam.