Detective films and books? They don’t do anything for me. The pacing and typical private-investigator-with-personal-demons protagonist fail to keep me engrossed. But give me a video game with a detective storyline and I’m all over it. I love being able to dig around for information, put together the clues and figure out the villain behind the crime.
This could explain why I enjoy escape rooms as much as I do. Since being introduced to them by Tim and Jake from GeekOut UK at the start of this year, I’ve now competed six and am the lookout for more. There’s something about being let loose to dig around in a strange room, not knowing what you’re going to find behind closed doors but being aware there’s a secret to discover that’s exciting – and the fact you have a time-limit to solve the puzzle just makes it even more thrilling.
It’s therefore little wonder why the Kickstarter campaign for Missing in Jericho caught my eye last month. After finding out about it in a newsletter, I headed over to the page and backed it almost immediately when I saw the introduction: ‘An experience that will challenge you to become a real-life detective in your own investigation.’ Although some of the details about how it will work are still a little vague – and that just makes it even more intriguing – it seems as though it will further bridge the gap between reality and the digital.
The story began when Alice disappeared without a trace after a disturbing post on her social media account. This leads you to the old mining town of Jericho, hidden from the outside world by forests and hills, where you can’t shake the feeling that she found something she wasn’t supposed to. Every solved riddle, new discovery and hard interrogation will lead you closer to the truth about her disappearance; but who do you trust? What choices will you make? And can you find Alice before it’s too late?
Crime HQ is an online area where you’ll be able to access findings and material including crime-scene photographs and video footage to help your investigation. You won’t have to face it alone however because your AI partner-in-crime Mia will be there to lend a hand and she knows Jericho like the back of her digital hand. She’s able to help you interrogate suspects, get house warrants and dive into the police database, but any difficult decisions that need to be made are down to you alone.
Don’t get too comfortable in Crime HQ though because Missing in Jericho will require players to travel to unexpected places in the far reaches of the internet. You’ll also have to trawl through social media accounts for clues and call suspicious numbers, using physical objects such as notebooks and printouts to make sure you don’t get lost in your enquiries. I love how the gameplay here isn’t confined to a screen alone and it seems as though it’s going to be a great cooperative title for bouncing ideas off a partner.
As a reward for becoming a backer, I started to receive messages from creator Crimibox that contained details from the police and mysterious updates. The campaign is over so pledges are no longer being taken but for anyone who wants to get a taste of what Missing in Jericho is going to offer early next year, check out the free preview on the Kickstarter page. This only takes around 30 minutes to complete but you’ll be listening to strange voicemails, tracking down addresses and analysing photographs.
Video game lover, Later Levels blogger and SpecialEffect volunteer. Big fan of wannabe pirates and fine leather jackets.