Dial up users need not apply


Superbowl=fun. However, in two weeks I’ll have forgotten about the game and won’t be able to tell you who played. I’ll still be able to tell you about the fresh lemon/limeade we enjoyed, burning out my decade-old juicer in the making. Those are my priorities and I’m sticking with them.

Now that that is done with, let me offer something fun to take the place of all those football games you barely cared about:

It’s 1754, Covent Gardens, London. John Fielding has just hired you as his newest Bow Street Runner–in a city filled with crime of every sort, Fielding and his now-deceased brother Henry are trying to form a police force of sorts. It’s a dangerous job, and no one believes it’ll work, but if you can solve crimes and bring criminals to justice, you just might institute a new social order.

Such is the setup for Bow Street Runner, a free online flash game created as a companion to the TV series City of Vice. And where most flash games are goofy animation of one sort or another, this is a live-action mystery game, with real actors and excellent costuming. Hell, they even have professional lighting.

You, as the newest runner, are given a murder to solve. Is it a simple robbery or is it something more? You click around the screen to find clues, interview bystanders and defeat simple puzzles (mainly by clicking a tracing shapes on screen to represent feats of dexterity like picking locks or pockets).

It’s not perfect. You can’t leave a scene until you’ve collected all the necessary evidence, and the game environment is so rich that it can take a while to load (note the subject header of this post). It’s tremendously fun, though, even if it is a little grim ‘n’ gritty. If you get stuck, though, you can find a walkthrough here.

Really, this is impressive in many different ways.

Caution: not kid-safe. If you want kid-safe, play Aether, which is beautiful and fun.

And now I’m off to stimulate the economy. Also, still waiting to get notes about my proposal.