Detective games and techniques

Hey everyone!

I’m new to writing interactive fiction and I’m looking for some good references for mystery games, as I’m considering joining a contest where that’s the genre.

Are there any really excellent detective games that I absolutely must play? Are there any good tutorials or blog posts about how to do a mystery in interactive fiction?

I’m mostly looking at Twine for my platform, so if there are any good mystery or detective Twine games out there, I’m really interested in looking at them.


If you are specifically looking for Twine games, then you should play:

Erstwhile, from this last IFComp. In that game, you combine clues to generate more clues until you solve the overall puzzle. It was extremely successful.

Detectiveland, from 2016. This game won IFComp. It’s choice-based, but has choices like “GO NORTH” and so on. In this game, you solve typical adventure puzzles to crack funny cases.

Grimnoir from this year is a good Twine game. It’s a monster mystery game. It has seven cases, and is solved by getting hints about what monster is affecting the case, then looking up that monster successfully in a book.

Finally, “Who Among Us” and “Bell Park, Youth Detective” are entertaining Twine mysteries that don’t really have “mystery game structures” but have solid mystery stories.

Emily Short has a blog post about mysteries in CYOA: … -cyoa/amp/

Good luck!

Thanks craiglocke! I’ll check all of these out!

I really liked Erstwhile! I thought the clue combination thing was very cool.

I’d also toss in Shapeshifting Detective. Even though the game is full-motion video, the engine underpinning it is primarily a choice system and does some nice things that politely discourage plain lawnmowering through every option.

There are plenty of good Let’s Plays of it if you’d rather watch.

Highly recommend checking out some of the infocom classic games. Witness is perhaps the easiest among them, but there’s also Deadline, Suspect, Moonmist. Also recommend An Act of Murder, Dangerous Curves, Make it Good. These last three can be found on