Oh, The Games People Play Now

Some Newer P.I. and Noir Videogames

No more floppies! That was my first thought. Although the charm of some of these games may lie with their simplicity, they're light years ahead in terms of their visual style and playability of the old DOS command games I cut my computer teeth on.

But hey, what do I know? I'm not really a gamer -- if you have any comments or suggestions, just drop me a line.

  • The Big Fix: A Noir Card Game
    (2013, Lexor Games)
    Developed by Aleco Pors
    Available from Lexor

A strategic and psychological card game steeped in noir. you can be a P.I., a femme fatale (or homme fatale), a crooked politico or some other noir archetypes -- to survive you basically have to lie your ass off, conning and scamming your way through. There are five agendas, three vices, and twelve character cards that combine randomly so that a new story is told every time you play. You'll have to be tough, cunning and deceitful to win, but don't worry: in the end -- in true noir fasion -- we all lose.

  • Mystery P.I.
    (2007, PopCap Games)
    Developed by SpinTop Games
    Available by PopCapGames
    Platform: Windows

A popular series of hidden object games, developed by SpinTop Games and now published by PopCap Games. Games in the series include Mystery P.I.: The Lottery Ticket (2007), Mystery P.I.: The Vegas Heist (2008), Mystery P.I.: The New York Fortune (2008), Mystery P.I.: Mystery P.I.: Lost in Los Angeles (2009), The London Caper (2010), Mystery P.I.: Stolen in San Francisco (2010) and Mystery P.I.: The Case of the Curious Counterfeiter (2011) To crack the case, you (the "Mystery P.I." of the title) must find the various hidden objects and solve the various puzzles. Each of them has an objective, but plot is secondary to the various puzzles.

  • Nick Chase: A Detective Story
    (2009, Big Fish Games)
    Platforms: PC, iPad, iPhone
    Available from Big Fish Games

This hidden object game's strong point is its style -- it scans like a hand-drawn comic book, a refeshing change from the cold, cut-and-paste stock photography clips so many games of this type rely on. Of course there are the usual puzzles within puzzles and the like you must solve before you crack the case, but it must be pretty good -- it spawned a sequel: Nick Chase and the Deadly Diamond (2010).

  • Noir Escape
    (2012, Cool Buddy)
    Developed by Tomisfav Poahraski
    Platforms: Online, Android
    Available from coolbuddy

In this point-and-click fantasy, you're a private eye working a case. Unfortunately, you're soon sapped and when the birdies stop singing, you come to find yourself trapped in a high-risea, and the only way out is to find items that might be useful. Oh, and a few clues would be nice. It's all pretty static, but the graphics have a nice, moody black-and-white vibe to them.

  • Third Eye Crime
    Developed by Moonshot Games
    Available from Steam

A stealth puzzle game featuring Rothko, who despite the trenchcoat and fedora and the sign on his office proclaiming it "Third Eye Investigations" is NOT a private eye. He's just posing as one. His real gig is using his telepathic powers to avoid the traps his enemies have set for him to thwart his heists. But the trappings of this one are so obviously inspired by the whole P.I./40s noir thing I can't just let it slip by unnoticed. Plus it's a really cool game visually, using strong comic book-style graphics and panels to drive the story forward.

  • Hot Tin Roof
    (2015, Glass Bottom Games)
    Developed by Megan Fox
    Platforms: Mac, Windows, Linux
    Available from Steam, the App Store, etc.

As in "cat on a hot tin roof." And the cat in question would be Franky the Cat, the fedora-wearing feline who's your partner in the P.I. biz, in this "noir side-scrolling adventure platformer" rendered in colourful brick-style graphics. You get to be Emma Jones, P.I.,running all over town, hot on the trail of a suspect responsible for a string of grisly murders, and shooting up suspects, witnesses and whoever else gets in the way. Fortunately, this game doesn't just have a cheeky sense of humour -- it's also aiming to break the ultraviolent world of pale, straight males point-and-shoot games by making Emma a black lesbian, and having her gun fire non-lethal stun bullets, freeze bullets, glue bullets and the like, while most of the many animals in the game sport assorted hats.


Treasures from the Past

Some Cool P.I. Model Car Kits

Some Classic Private Eye & Detective Board Games

Puzzles and Other P.I. Games

Respectfully compiled by Kevin Burton Smith. Thanks to Adam Bormann for his help with this page.

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