(from the PDF)
An inhuman power hums in the shuttles and valves of a 19th century English factory town. An alien power that lies congealed in the cloth and steel manufactured there. A hostile power that twists bone, robs children of their youth, and turns neighbors against neighbors. It is more terrifying than any unholy spirit, slithering lifeform or doomsday device because this horror is real, grounded in social relations. It is alienation and it is generated anew each shift as men, women, and children toil at the machines.
Satanic Mills is a game about the production of alienation and the destruction of human lives. It is based on Karl Marxʼs theory of alienation as expressed in his Economic and Philosophical manuscripts of 1844. Marx believed that workers in capitalist societies are stripped of or separated from what should be meaningful in their lives – and that what is taken from us fuels our exploitation. He identified four linked types of alienation. People are alienated from their labor, since work is not done to fulfill the workerʼs human needs and creativity but to meet the external agenda of the owner. Workers are also alienated from the products of their labor, which profit capitalists and emerge as commodities that the worker must buy. Workers are alienated from other people as the exchange of money and commodities warps social relationships. People are finally alienated from their species being, since the loss of meaningful productive activity removes one of the main capacities that makes us human. Alienation, forged in Satanic Mills, will inexorably damage the lives of the gameʼs characters, with you serving as both victim and executioner.