Last year, for a school event, I designed and wrote an interactive murder case that classmates could flip through and try to solve. We had a crime scene laid out in the back of our classroom, complete with one of those body outlines, colorful thumbtacks that connected a bunch of yarn, and photos of our classmates cast as the suspects.
(The original story was originally set in Harvard, and starred people from our class, although I thought it best in the end to rebrand some stuff. Also, it just seemed like a bad omen for the murder victim—currently Bradley Lewis, formerly Mingwei Jen.) (Hi, Mingwei!)
Later that year, a few friends and I attempted to create a film adaptation of the murder case (although that was largely unsuccessful)—but it forced me to develop a further story for the case beyond transcripts and grainy photos. And oh boy, what a story it was.
While I have more than enough material to adapt this into a screenplay or a novel, I thought the full original experience was more fun in the end.
Consider this a hybrid of an interactive fiction game, a novella, roleplay, and the tiniest bit of decryption and code-breaking. Use the resources in the Google Drive (linked below) to work your way through and solve the murder case—and keep in mind that you should be wary of who to believe.
Hope you enjoy this experimental format, dear reader. Let’s go.
On September 9th of 2020, on the campus of NYC’s Empire State University, a body was found in Rogers Hall.
The body was later identified by campus security to be sophomore Bradley Lewis, a biochemistry major and athlete on the college team. His cause of death is yet to be determined, although the autopsy report is enclosed in the case file.
A few suspects were taken into custody.
Arthur Darling, an ingenious bioengineering major who’s at the top of his classes and who worked with Bradley on a very special project. He’s one of Bradley’s closest friends, but is there a hidden hostility in their relationship?
Cameron Delver, a quick-witted friend of Arthur’s, whose knife was found at the scene of the murder. They deny all allegations and relations to the murder, and their alibi is solid—and yet, they were the only other person who had a connection to Bradley Lewis and Arthur Darling’s secret project. Coincidence?
Mark Chen, an unlucky film major who had the misfortune of stumbling across Bradley’s body. His alibi checks out, and there’s no motive to be found, but at what point does unlucky turn into suspicious?
Julie Huang, a soft-spoken art student who was found near the crime scene. Her alibi is good, and she claims to barely even know Bradley—but what was she doing there in the first place?
Taylor Young, who was found near Rogers Hall after she stayed after hours. Her professor can back up her presence… But why can’t the cameras?
Your name is Detective Murphy, and you’ve been assigned to this bizarre case that goes far deeper than it seems.
Here is everything you’ll need to solve the case: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1CN8XQiImHqQPf7fyuvPyervljMFBDBK8?usp=sharing
(I recommend starting with the official report, then the interrogations, then reading the email. But of course, that’s up to you.)
Best of luck to you, Detective. You’re going to need it.
P.S.: If you’d like a few hints, here you go. It might help. It might not.