Where’s An Egg? Is The Best Game About Being A Detective

By Graham Smith on February 25th, 2014 at 2:00 pm.

SWEAR TO ME.

I spend roughly half my waking hours thinking about detectives, watching detectives on TV and reading about detectives in books. The other half of my waking hours are spent very specifically thinking about what a detective game might be like. How do you create a mystery which is compelling for players to deduce the answers to themselves, without being handheld and thus making the mystery dull and rote?

Where’s An Egg? has an answer. It was released in 2007, was sort of made by a fictional game developer, and is about deducing the location of an egg. You can play it in your browser and get the measure of it in ten minutes, and you should.

Your aim in Where’s An Egg? is to find an egg. You have a map of locations you can visit, and at each location you’ll find a person and an object. You can then question the people you meet. It’s all conveyed via symbols, with each person and object you see increasing the vocabulary of questions you can ask.

So you might meet a bald man with a plant. “Egg?” you ask. He responds with a picture of a person, location or object, representing where he thinks the egg is. The trick is that he could be lying, or mistaken, and the egg is in a different place every time. You need to work out who is telling the truth and who is lying by asking people different questions, and then corroborating their answers by visiting new locations and questioning new people.

In other words: detective work.

“Strawberry?” “Red hat man.” “Red hat man?” “Forest.” No he’s not! YOU LIE.

When you think you’ve found the person with the egg, you can shoot them. Get it wrong three times and you go to jail, but get it right and you’re given a medal for finding the egg. It helps to take notes, I found. Mine all read like, “BLUE CAP thinks egg is at furnace. Thinks strawberry is at furnace. Jogger is at furnace.” and “SCRAGGLE is wrong about everything. Says egg is where she is?”

Do you remember all those scenes in which Columbo would scribble something in a tiny notebook while questioning a suspect? This is what he was writing.

Where’s An Egg? won’t take you long to play, but it’s great. It feels like you’re solving mysteries in natural ways, using your own reasoning and fact-finding. It was made by Videlectrix, the developer within the Homestar Runner universe who make all the games that turn up in Strongbad cartoons. That also means they make real games, so I probably shouldn’t call them fictional. John interviewed them here.

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34 Comments »

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  1. MOKKA says:

    Now I have to watch at least 20 minutes worth of Homestarrunner cartoons. A shame they stopped making them.

    • int says:

      Yeah I miss their cartoons immensely. They never did say why they stopped, right?

      • MOKKA says:

        As far as I know one of the brothers got a job as a writer for a cartoon show (I don’t remember which it was).

        • Graham Smith says:

          Matt Chapman has worked on a few shows now, including the very excellent Gravity Falls. Everyone should watch Gravity Falls.

  2. Meat Circus says:

    YOU CAN’T HANDLE AN EGG.

  3. Low Life says:

    It helps to take notes, I found. Mine all read like, “BLUE CAP thinks egg is at furnace. Thinks strawberry is at furnace. Jogger is at furnace.” and “SCRAGGLE is wrong about everything. Says egg is where she is?”

    Imagine if you suddenly disappeared and people found those notes right next to your computer.

  4. Tridae says:

    896 left on my clock when the egg was found.
    I think I was just lucky enough to find one completely honest woman who was right about everything and pointed me right to the dirty egg thief.

  5. GAmbrose says:

    937 on mine, think I just fluked it.

    I’m sure the guy with the egg described himself as well, which didn’t help him much when I shot him.

    • Baines says:

      922. I shot two innocent people, one who lied and one who told the truth, but you still get a medal at the end as long as you get the egg.

      That’s an important life lesson that probably won’t help in the real world. At least I don’t see a judge or jury agreeing that an egg is worth more than two innocent lives, but not worth three.

  6. mavis says:

    I met a man.
    He did not know where the egg was.
    I decided to leave.
    I pressed the wrong button and shot him dead.
    He had the egg.
    I am a hero?

    The guilt gnaws at my insides……

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    DrScuttles says:

    True Deteggtive.

  8. Premium User Badge

    MacBeth says:

    First man sent me to second man, who lied about having the beer next to him – so I shot him and got the egg.

    956…

    ETA:
    Actually maybe he wasn’t lying about having the beer, I just misinterpreted the smiley face. So I shouldn’t have doubted him, but he was guilty anyway. 2nd time around I got 937 having been sent to someone who knew… I accidentally shot the first person though.

    This is not going how I expected.

  9. ColCol says:

    Hey, I saw this game on Tom Francis’s twitter. Graham must have stole the story from him.Bad Graham. Braham

    • Graham Smith says:

      I didn’t steal it from his Twitter!

      He told me about it at lunch.

  10. GAmbrose says:

    Holy shit, I just thought I would see how quick it can be done and planned to go to a site, shoot and keep doing that until the egg appeared.

    It appeared first time and I had 998 left on the clock!

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    DrollRemark says:

    GOT YOU, RED CAP.

  12. Frank says:

    Good stuff. Saw this in an RPS comment last (?) week.

  13. Winged Nazgul says:

    http://youtu.be/wCBRohCCewM

    Yes, I’m old. Wanna fight about it?

  14. MOKKA says:

    By the way, you should check the other games on this site, if you haven’t already.

  15. KDR_11k says:

    It’s fairly easy. If you’re fast enough you see various spacecraft fly by, up to three (if you do it in less than 20 seconds I think).

  16. salty-horse says:

    Did I inspire this with my comment a few weeks ago?

    There’s a guide on the Homestar Runner wiki, if anyone wants hints.

    • Graham Smith says:

      I did see your comment, but not until I was checking whether RPS had written about it before.

      Still, it was a good comment.

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    jrodman says:

    Thanks for this, I love Where’s an Egg? Now I got to play it again.

  18. JackMultiple says:

    Oh, I’m sorry Mr. Red Hat Man, just one more question…

    Egg?