A real-live adventure game

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DrPaul
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A real-live adventure game

Post by DrPaul » Wed Nov 05, 2003 12:23 am

Saturday night (Nov.1) was the culmination of a project I've been working on for about a month which I think you all will find interesting.

For about the past month, my daughter and I wrote and then hosted a murder mystery party. But unlike the murder mystery parties you have probably heard about, this one was much more like stepping into a classic adventure game. Let me tell you a little about it.

We had a cast of 16 characters, each with their own profiles and biographies. We invited all of the characters to a dinner party Saturday night and a murder takes place near the end of dinner.

The rules were simple. Clues were hidden all over the house on three floors. Since there are a lot of things in our house not relevant to the game, we marked all the clues with a small (1/4 inch) green dot. This is sort of like an object being clickable in an adventure game. Also, some parts of the house were also off-limits and were marked with larger (1 inch) red dots.

Let me give you a sample of one of our clues:
In one of the rooms, a black light is mounted on the wall. Turn on the black light and some invisible writing becomes visible. It says: Adjust setting circles to R.A. 11:00 and dec. 11 degrees S to get Airborne.  

In another room is a leather case inside which is a page from a telescope users manual. The page explains how to locate objects using setting circle coordinates. When the telescope is adjusted to the given coordinates (11:00, 11 degrees S) you can look through the spotting scope and it points to a book on a shelf entitled Airborne.

When you open the book, you find that the pages have been hollowed out and the book is a secret container. Inside the book is a tiny, brown leather briefcase. Inside the little briefcase is a business card with a telephone logo on it and the word BRIEFCASE. The letters B,R,I and A,S,E have rectangles drawn around them. In the master bedroom, a full-sized, locked briefcase is sitting on the bed. The numbers corresponding to B,R,I and A,S,E on a standard telephone pad are 274 and 273, the combination for the briefcase. Opening the briefcase reveals some documents that are critical to solving the mystery.

There were four other sets of clues of a similar nature which had to be solved in order to collect all of the clues and deduce who the murderer was. These other clues involved things like chemistry, Braille, Morse code, family trees, technical and legal documents,... There were also several red herrings and clues that point to other suspects. Only when you've found all of the clues can you be sure who did it.

My daughter, who is 12 this month, invited her entire 6th grade class for the party. It was a blast. It was just like being inside of an adventure game.

Putting this game together is another reason why I haven't made much progress in TAP recently.  Now that it's finished, I can get back to TAP again.

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Re: A real-live adventure game

Post by DataAngel » Wed Nov 05, 2003 6:33 pm

wow sounds cool my wife keeps saying we should host a murder party... we live in an apartment though and a 3 story house sounds much better for that sort of thing.

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DrPaul
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Re: A real-live adventure game

Post by DrPaul » Wed Nov 05, 2003 8:33 pm

Well, we had 16 twelve-year-old kids at the party, so we needed to spread it out a bit to keep them from tripping over each other.  But a party with 6 or 8 adults could be really fun in a cozier environment

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Re: A real-live adventure game

Post by DataAngel » Thu Nov 06, 2003 12:25 am

but the fun would be in searcing no? if its all within view it could be boring yes?

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Re: A real-live adventure game

Post by Nemesis » Thu Nov 06, 2003 10:39 pm

You don't have to do it at your house, my dad used to know a guy who on Halloween would talk to the city about using condemned buildings, they usually let him. But I don't know if that's a good location. Maybe a friend who has a larger house?

DrPaul, you wrote it yourself? Do tell.
If you want, just send me an email: ikku@fofavengers.com

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Re: A real-live adventure game

Post by JDS » Fri Nov 07, 2003 8:31 am

Very neat idea... a good thought for the guy's here at school... the KWC-muder party... hmmm :D

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Re: A real-live adventure game

Post by GoldenFjord » Fri Nov 07, 2003 9:31 pm

Haha, me and my sister used to play something like that when we were little, hiding clues to a murder around the place. Ahh, those were the days...

-GF

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Re: A real-live adventure game

Post by DrPaul » Fri Nov 07, 2003 10:06 pm

DAT,
Yes.  As you say, the fun is definitely in the searching.  Although the clues are in sight, they are in sight in the way they are in Nemesis or Grand Inquisitor.  

First of all, the green dots that distinguish 'active' items from scenery are not so easy to see.  The kids had a hard time finding them.  Secondly, each piece needs to be combined with other pieces to make them work or reveal something that is hidden.  Third, when you discover clues or pieces of the puzzle, it is not immediately clear which pieces fit with which others.  So even when you find the pieces, it takes some logical thinking to figure out how to use them.

In this way, the game was very much like the Zork games, but without the Great Underground Empire.  However, my house is a white colonial, like the proverbial White House.

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Re: A real-live adventure game

Post by DrPaul » Fri Nov 07, 2003 10:21 pm

Nemesis,
Since you sort of asked, I emailed you a PDF file summary of our game.

alexandria

Re: A real-live adventure game

Post by alexandria » Sat Nov 08, 2003 8:49 pm

The last two murder mysteries I attended came straight out of a "how to host a murder" box. You didn't actually leave the dinner table even. It was broken into rounds, and each round you would learn of certain new clues about your character. Sometimes you didn't figure out your character was the murderer until the very end.

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