Once upon a time, there was a period where I was writing and designing live-action CD-ROM games for MPCA Interactive.  One of the projects I worked on was an update of a text-based murder mystery game called SUSPECT.  I wrote a treatment for a live-action version of the game (including new characters and plot twists), but the project never came together -- so instead, I took the material I'd written and turned it into an e-mail role-playing game that I played with some of my friends over the course of several months in 1996.

The game worked like this:  my friends all played characters at a masquerade ball where murders were being committed.  The action was broken into five minute increments:  I'd describe what was going on around them, and they had to respond before the next turn.  Each character had total freedom to explore the mansion and grounds where the ball was taking place, and they could interact with each other and the non-player-characters that I controlled.

Originally, the object was to figure out what was going on at the party and maybe solve a few mysteries along the way.  As it turned out, the game took so long and involved so many characters that none of the players really knew what was going on and the whole thing devolved from a murder mystery to a cheesy horror movie, complete with characters battling (and eventually turning into) horrible brain-eating zombies.

But it was fun while it lasted.

And now, you can enjoy the fun (and maybe solve some of the unsolved mysteries) by following in the original players' footsteps through the weird and wonderful world of...SUSPECT!


Okay, here's the deal:  in the original game, six frat guys (the players) were invited to a masquerade ball at the palatial estate of  their rich, spoiled frat brother CHIP ASHCROFT.  Later in the game, two more players joined the action as other guests at the party (an undergraduate coed known only as Avengelyne and a grad student named Sally Barnes, respectively).

In this version of the game, you'll start out as one of the above characters and you'll be able to follow the path of that character (as determined by the original player), but you'll also have chances to switch characters as you go along.

You know, now that I think about it, this isn't really much of a game -- there's no object (except wasting time), etc.  In fact, it's kind of like the play TAMARA, where you follow different characters from room to room, switching from one to another whenever you feel like it.  However, you will get a chance to solve some mysteries at the end, based on your observations.  So I guess that's the game part.

Unfortunately, the first few turns of the game are lost to the ether, so I've attempted to reconstruct them (up to the 8:20 P.M. turn).  Hopefully, I've managed to include all the information you would have gotten in the original versions of the first three turns for each character.

Also, part of the original game involved figuring out who was who at the party -- i.e. there's a Pirate who turns out to be Chip's father, Michael Wellman -- but since you'll be following the different paths of different players who discovered different things at different times and the whole thing was too confusing anyway, I've included the following Internetty INTERACTIVE FEATURE -- at the bottom of each page, there's a link that says CHARACTERS.  If you click on it, you'll get a list of who everyone is (but since I don't know much about HTML, you'll have to click BACK on your browser to get back to the game).

Ready?  Let's get started.


Chip Ashcroft, a spoiled undergraduate frat boy, has invited you to a costume party at the estate of his parents, heiress Veronica Ashcroft-Wellman and conservative radio personality Mike Wellman.

If you would like to start as one of Chip's frat brothers, click here.

If you would like to start as a mysterious coed known only as Avengelyne (who comes to the party dressed as Red Sonja), click here.

If you would like to start as a graduate student named Sally Barnes, who comes to the party dressed as Cleopatra and arrives much later than anyone else, in the midst of total chaos, click here.

If you want no part of this weird, so-called "game" and would like to return to the Ol' Bait Shop, please click below: