Posts Tagged ‘Make It Good’

IF Only: What Will You, The Detective, Do Next?

Cropped box cover image for Deadline

The first piece of interactive fiction I ever played was Infocom’s locked-room murder mystery Deadline. With a plot that turned on embezzlement and unfaithfulness, not to mention a fiendishly unforgiving set of scheduling puzzles, this is not the game I myself would recommend for a six-year-old. But I suppose my parents figured it wouldn’t do me any harm, and it left me with a long-term affection for interactive mysteries.

The mystery is a natural fit for interactive fiction. The player has a clear goal. The focus of the story is usually firmly on past rather than present events. Locks, ciphers, and other standard puzzles feel at home in the genre. So many classic mysteries are essentially logic problems in fancy dress, so it’s not a great stretch to do the same thing in game form. (In fact, here’s Mattie Brice on why murder mystery writing can teach us about narrative game design in general.)

So if you have a taste for classic whodunnit genres rendered interactive, here are some highlights dating from 1995 to 2016.

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Book ‘Em: Make It Good Is IF About An Alcoholic Detective

Undo undo undo undo.

“Word is: if you don’t crack this one, you’re out of a job.”

I’ve previously established that Where’s An Egg? is the best game about being a detective, but Make It Good is probably the best text adventure about being an alcholic detective. It was released in 2009 but I only discovered it this past week. It’s free and you can play it right now in your browser.

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