The theme is...2020.
What, I wonder, will the post-pandemic world look like.
Some have pointed out I need to sell this soon, before lockdown ends. But it takes time for Google to move you to the front page, for people to find this and play. If you’re kind enough to fork out the £3.99 (or, taking future inflation into account, anything up £30,000 – so be warned; buy it NOW), you may well be in a future that we, in May 2020, can only dream about.
But it dawned on me early on that you don’t need to play this during the lockdown. You only need to know there was a lockdown.
Most murder mystery games supply you with a theme, along with your character name and notes on what you have to say.
The theme can range from astronauts to cowboys, but popular murder mystery settings are from the 1920’s, the ‘Golden Age’ of murder; gangsters in America, Agatha Christie types in the UK with titles like, ‘Death on the Bile’.
Having run murder mysteries for almost 30 years, it used to worry me (a bit) that if you’re not careful, some may consider murder as distasteful. After all, by its very nature, a murder mystery involves somebody dying (I was always concerned that by firing a gun, we might cause a heart attack. Luckily, we never did).
And, of course, gangsters kill each other because, well…that’s their job. Real people died. Yet, a century or so later, here we are – laughing about it.
So I began to wonder how people will look back at 2020. Right now, we have no idea how many people around the world will die but we know their families and friends will suffer greatly. Also, nowt, as we live through it, we each have to consider our own mortality. Harrowing times for the anxious. By the time you read this (or even by the time I finish writing it) I may be dead.
One day (and let’s hope it is soon) this pandemic will be over; we will all have a teeny hole in our arms and anti-bodies in our veins, we will go back to our overcrowded trains, people will not be afraid to kiss in public (assuming the person they’re kissing is known to them), angry young men will once more lock foreheads aggressively in crowded pubs (assuming they’re of a similar height), theatre goers will cough without guilt, joggers will spit without reproach, no more will mounted police officers harass you for sitting on the grass eating Kit-Kats, the world will no longer be in lockdown.
Will that mean the death of my game?
From Speakeasy to Speak Online
I like to think not. Not because I want these days to last forever (the more bored people become, the more likely they’ll play my game) but rather because I think we all like to see humour in even the most horrific things.
There will be a sort of nostalgia for 2020. Just as these four jokers are quite clearly NOT French, their berets and stripy tee-shirts suggest they have made the effort.
So too, will we one day look back on this awful pandemic with humour. Some of it will be black humour that, for those living through it now, would seem in very poor taste – just as pretending to live through the second world war by blacking out the windows and hiding the bananas would have done to anyone who had just lost their house and grandparents during the blitz of 1942 – The Rolling Stones ‘Ventilator Blues’ will blare out from an ‘authentic’ MP3 player, the invites will be sent via a Zoom replica using an app that impersonates a 2020 slow internet connection, People will arrive in plastic fancy dress masks, the wealthier ones in full PPE and they will all make jokes about rubber gloves. There will be a sign on the wall asking people to ‘socially distance themselves’ and someone will joke, ‘That means you too, David,’ as he sidles up to Elaine in her keep-fit leotard.
In the way most murder mystery companies have you dressed in a feather bower, serving your guests a ‘Gin Rickey’ Chablis as you show off your new ‘Prohibition Speakeasy’ semi-detached with its built in 5G network, so too will the masked hosts of the future point their guests in the direction of the toilets with a quip about having no toilet rolls (‘Only joking’ they add as you climb the ‘up only’ one-way staircase).
Yes. One day, 2020 will be a fun ‘theme’. The economy will have bounced back, mainly down to the sales of fancy dress face-masks. You guests will wink as they tell you their Calypso Caribbean Cruise has been cancelled.*
When that day comes, I hope my Lockdown Murder Mystery (by then, marketed as the ‘Only Lockdown Murder Mystery to actually be made during the 2020 London lockdown’) will sell again and people will giggle about the good old days, when people clapped on the streets, shopped for elderly neighbours and Elaine could wear whatever she wanted without fear.
Stay safe (*apologies to anyone whose Calypso Caribbean Cruise has been cancelled).