Ursula was dead.
I couldn’t be certain, but from the masses of vomit, the mysterious discolourations on her body, not to mention the fact that I’d just found half a bottle of poison left in a cupboard, I was pretty certain her demise was not the accident it appeared to be. No, this was murder, and as the resident Inquisitor it looked like it was up to me to sort it out.
The Inquisitor was made by Malcolm Brown as an entry into 2014’s Procedural Generation Jam, where the challenge set to developers was just to ‘make something that makes something.’ Whilst some looked into generating procedural worlds and maps, Malcolm on the other hand decided to craft what I’ve been dreaming of for years, a randomly generated murder-mystery generator.
At a house party, someone has most unfortunately shuffled off the mortal coil and as the Inquisitor you’re given the responsibility for rolling up your sleeves and sorting it all out. Whodunnit, why they dunnit and what they dunnit with are all for you to figure out.
Following in the finest traditions of Jessica Fletcher, Columbo and Dr. Mark Sloane, to get to the bottom of the mystery you can utilise your talents of being a very nosy person – looking in cupboards, opening drawers and asking lots of questions in the hope that someone will slip up and say ‘between six and seven you say? Oh I was stabbing Ursula in the head with a fork.’
Usually, however, it’s not that simple. By painstakingly making notes on people’s stories, locations and movements you piece together the events leading up to the murder, until finally you’re ready to make your decision and point the finger of justice. Get it right, and you feel like an absolute genius. Get it wrong however, and you’ll slam down your fist and curse the real murderer who will helpfully then explain how they actually performed the crime.
I really hope Malcolm expands this idea – it’s begging for more murder weapons and more motives to be added and different locations to be explored. I’d love to point the accusing finger on an isolated space-base or pick out the spy at the ambassador’s reception. Even if he doesn’t return to it, the Inquisitor still stands alone as a great game providing a fun mental work-out.
Oh, just one more thing.