You might think murder mysteries have been around for ages (Imagine Marie Antoinette and her court dressing in costumes and playing at palace intrigue), but as a game genre, it’s only been around since the 1930s (the same time period as our Hollywoodland Murder game). Take a trip with us through the history of the mystery, and then join in the fun with our virtual games!
You can’t have a murder mystery game without a murder mystery! Astonishingly, the first detective appeared in fiction before they existed in real life - Edgar Allen Poe created the role in his 1841 story The Murders in the Rue Morgue, a full year before the first detective force in London! From there, the world grew more and more fascinated with the idea of solving a mystery, leading to a brand new literary genre featuring Sherlock Holmes and, later, Agatha Christie’s famous investigators.
But we still didn’t have a way to put the thrilling drama of the murder mystery into a game. By the early 1900s, the parlor game Wink Murder grew popular, where a secretly chosen “murderer” would “kill” other party guests by winking at them, while the rest of the guests tried to correctly identify the killer. The game is still played today, and feels like a spiritual ancestor to the modern games Mafia and Werewolf. Wink Murder introduced the idea of catching a killer, but it still didn’t involve solving clues or gathering evidence, just careful observation.
That changed in 1937 with a game called Jury Box, which included six case files with stories, evidence photographs, and sealed envelopes marked “Correct Verdict”. One player was the District Attorney, presenting the cases and evidence to the “jury,” made up by the rest of the players. Each jury member then came up with a verdict for the cases; correct guesses earned points, with bonus points awarded if they correctly described how and why the crimes were committed. Unlike Wink Murder, Jury Box didn’t involve much interaction between players - in fact, jury members lost points if they spoke or made any noise while trying to solve the crimes!
A few years later, a new board game used classic murder mystery characters and settings to create a new kind of game that involved logic and deduction. In 1949, Clue introduced the now household names of Miss Scarlet, Mrs. White, and Colonel Mustard - or, in our loving send-up Murder...Without a Clue: Rouge LeDodo, Maid Blanca, and Colonel Grady Poupon! Interestingly, the creator of Clue (or Cluedo, as it’s known outside the US) said he based the idea off a childhood game: while their parents threw weekend parties, he and his friends would sneak up on each other in the hallways playing “Murder,” complete with dramatic, shrieking deaths!
It was only a matter of time (about 30 years or so) before someone took all these ideas and turned them into the classic murder mystery party game we know and love today. Murder mystery boxes sold in the 1980s included brief character descriptions and simple premises, which became more detailed as the games became more popular. Today, “murder mystery games” can refer to anything from DIY hosted dinner parties to public shows with hundreds of guests and a cast of actors, like our live shows at the Marriott in Anaheim.
We are proud to continue this long history of intriguing entertainment with our murder mystery shows! We firmly believe that the best murder mysteries are interactive, intriguing, and inclusive - equally fun for avid puzzle solvers and first-timers alike. And with 2020’s move to virtual entertainment, we are thrilled to offer a virtual version that keeps all the interactive fun of the live event, for shows of all sizes, from intimate to office-wide. Contact us to set up a private show and be a part of mystery history!
The holidays are upon us! We’re all getting tired of hearing “things look a little different this year,” but it’s still true - the best way you can show your love to friends and family is by staying home so everyone can be safe and healthy. There are a lot of emotions that come with that, and it's important to give yourself kindness and space to process them all. It's okay to be bummed that things are different - but there are still plenty of ways to celebrate the holidays without compromising on safety or fun! Here are some ideas for how to stay connected on Thanksgiving Day, whether your loved ones are near or far.
With Your Household
If you have other people living in your household, there are lots of festive ways to spend Thanksgiving Day together!
Board Game Tournament - Get out all your family board games and create a roster! Can the house Monopoly champion unseat the best Scrabble player? And will the Czar of Chutes and Ladders unseat them all?
Gourmet Baking - Unleash your inner Great British Bakeoff contestant and tackle a complicated recipe together! And if the results are better suited for Nailed It...that's okay too!
Arts and Crafts - there are countless fun holiday crafts, for kids and adults alike. Try making a gratitude board, where each family member can fill out leaves on a tree (or feathers on a turkey!) with what they're grateful for this year.
Movie Marathon - Plan a movie marathon around a festive theme - while Thanksgiving-related movies are a little sparse, you could each pick a film that makes you feel grateful, or just give into the temptation and start on your Christmas collection.
With Local Community
If you have friends and family in the area, it's a great opportunity to organize some coordinated, socially distant celebrating.
Potluck-To-Go - decide who's going to cook the entree, sides, and dessert; then pack up portions for each household and deliver them door to door! The handoff is a nice way to see friendly faces on the holiday (masked, of course!), and then when you're home everyone can hop on a group call to compliment each other's cooking.
Delivery Deluxe - if your friendgroup is less culinarily-inclined, then support a local business! Pick a restaurant for delivery - either a group favorite, or a completely new venue - and make sure each household orders at least one adventurous dish. Then organize a videochat to review your new gourmet discoveries!
Volunteer/Donate - helping your community is a great way to feel connected. Start a fund drive for a local mutual aid organization, or organize a craft circle to make warm clothing items for donation now that the weather has turned crisp.
Holiday Walk - the post-dinner walk is one of the easiest traditions to safely maintain this year (with just a couple extra precautions). Meet up with friends for a masked, distanced walk - you'll want to keep your face nice and toasty anyways as the temperature drops!
With Distant Family and Friends
Thanks to the internet, there are more ways than ever to stay connected with your distant loved ones.
Communal Cooking - choose a cherished family recipe, and arrange a time when everyone can video chat while making it. This is a great way to learn how to create beloved foods on your own, while still being able to ask Uncle Al how he gets those perfectly golden brown biscuits.
Online Board Games - there are tons of classic board games online, so Thanksgiving Game Night can still go on! Consider designating a couple tech-savvy family members as digital support so they can help troubleshoot for the less internet-inclined.
Gratitude Round Robin - randomly assign each person a participating family member to send a grateful email. Encourage loved ones to write what they love about the other family member and why they're grateful to be in the same family. Then put all the emails together so everyone can reminisce and share the love.
Host a Virtual Event - sometimes the best way to cope with missing old traditions is to start new ones. Gather your friends and family online to spend quality time together with a virtual event - like our interactive murder mystery! Having an organized event can take the pressure off of coming up with Zoom small talk, and our family-friendly show brings loved ones together with hilarious results.
What are your plans for the holidays? However you choose to celebrate, we hope you stay safe, healthy, and surrounded by love.