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Mystery House Possessed

by Emily Short profile

Part of Mystery House Taken Over

Web Site

(based on 11 ratings)
2 reviews

About the Story

This intricate all-text reworking draws on the Gothic, as well as Clue, to simulate seven characters working to outwit the killer in their midst.

Game Details


Nominee, Best Individual Puzzle; Winner, Best Use of Medium - 2005 XYZZY Awards

From the Author

An ambitious but seriously flawed experiment with NPC behavior, using a primitive early version of Inform 7. It's mostly interesting (if in fact it's interesting at all) for technical reasons: the other characters wander around the house, looking under things and destroying objects in their quest for the family jewels, while one of them systematically commits murders and leaves clues behind. Because of the amount of randomization involved, not all playthroughs are equally fair.


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Number of Reviews: 2
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
An almost Rogue-like murder mystery with magic and randomization, February 4, 2016

I've played through this game around a dozen without beating it, but it's just a lot fun. Once you've played through once, you can play through it super fast.

You are in a house with about six other people, all of whom have been invited to search for some lost treasure. Murders start happening, and you have to find the treasure and the killer.

The house has a ton of hiding places, with randomized stuff inside; there are around 4 different kinds of tools that you can use to open special hiding locations. At first, I kept restarting to get these tools, until I realized that you don't need to restart to get one of each tool.

There's a surprising backstory going on involving magic in the background. As usual for Emily Short, the story is intriguing, and involves a unique sort of magic.

It has overall a rogue-like feel. Good for fans of mystery or Rogue-likes.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Interesting experiment, December 3, 2013
by streever (America)

This is an interesting take on mystery games and NPC interaction.

The randomization makes for occasionally frustrating playthroughs, but creates an interesting experience when it works. Having played it many times, though, I'm not quite sure what my real objective is, and I'm not sure if I'll figure it out without a eureka moment.

It leaves the impression of a rogue-like game, where player knowledge of game elements is important and useful, even though the game is completely randomized on each play-through.

I think the game could use some exposition as to the players purpose. I'm just not sure that it is possible to really explore and come to understand the game without some added continuity--while there are some small puzzles to solve, I'm not sure that they bring me any closer to a less violent solution, and I have a hard time ascertaining what would be an "ideal" solution. That sense of frustration is part of the randomization mechanic, so I'm not sure if it could be removed without removing part of the charm and fun of the game.

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Mystery House Possessed on IFDB

Recommended Lists

Mystery House Possessed appears in the following Recommended Lists:

Detective and mystery games by MathBrush
These are games where you play a detective or someone else investigating a mystery. Most of them are realistic games which I am splitting off of my realistic list. Some are more magical or science fi-ish.

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The following polls include votes for Mystery House Possessed:

AI developments, particularly NPC-AI by breslin
Doesn't need to be satisfying as a conventional game, but must be interesting as an experiment. The idea being that AI work in IF is something that still needs work. Name the games you think which are contributing to this area of genre...

Wandering NPCs by Fredrik
I have always been fascinated with games that have several wandering and independent NPCs, especially when you have the ability to try to order them around. This sets the stage for a game where no one session is like any other, and even...

Dynamic open world IFs by Natrium729
I'm looking for good "open world" IFs, that is, IFs where the player can just wander and explore the world without necessarily following the main plot (think Elder Scrolls). They could take place on a planet, in a city, or even just in a...

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