From IFWiki


Detective is an AGT game (later ported to and satired in Inform) sometimes cited as an example of buggy and poorly written interactive fiction, written by then twelve-year-old Matt Barringer and his friends in a group called "Exile Games" for posting on the local Ghostbuster Central BBS. The game somehow found its way into the interactive community at large and was satirically annotated in C.E. Forman's Mystery Science Theater 3000 Presents "Detective".

Author(s) Matt Barringer
Publisher(s) n/a
Release date(s) 1993
Authoring system AGT
Platform(s) AGT, Z-code
Language(s) English
License(s) Freeware
Color effects none
Graphics none
Sound/Music none
Cruelty scale Cruel

How It Begins

The player character is a detective. In the police chief's office, the chief asks the player character to investigate the mayor's murder and hands the player character a note introducing the game and its author.

Notable Features

Detective features events that are embedded in room descriptions and thus repeat unexpectedly. Walking into some rooms can result in death without warning. The directions of exits don't always correspond in expected ways, and some exits aren't part of corresponding pairs at all, sometimes making a return to the last visited room impossible. There are a good deal of empty rooms with no other apparent purpose than to create the idea of space. Also, it is possible to irrevocably miss the opportunity to acquire an object (a gun) required to survive a scene (a surreal and seemingly irrelevant gunfight) that one can inadvertently trigger later in the game. The player will be unaware that she or he is lacking a crucial object until it is needed for survival, making this a "cruel" game on Andrew Plotkin's cruelty scale.