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text:haunted_house

Haunted House Text Adventure

The player is brought to an old mansion in the country as the sun sets by a friend, whom they've agreed to help search the house for antiques prior to the place being demolished the following day. Their friend leaves them alone while they go off to try and find the fuse box to turn the lights back on, but they fail to return and the player must head off in search of them while increasingly mysterious things keep happening.

Major plot decisions:

  • General style? Spooky puzzle vs. survival horror.
    • This will dictate how easy it is for the player to be killed and need to restart the game.
  • Reality? Supernatural vs. mundane.
    • Whether the mysterious happenings turn out to be truly inexplicable, or due to some reasonable explanation (the Scooby Doo gambit).
  • Pace? Thriller vs. slow boil.
    • Is the player on the clock (or at least encouraged to believe they are)?
    • Perhaps the game must be completed before sunrise, or the player has to survive until sunrise, depending on the game style.

Plot Ideas

  • “Haunting” is due to previous owner who's been driven mad by the thought of the house leaving his family after owning it for hundreds of years.
    • He is supposed to be in a mental hospital but managed to escape.
    • He uses a set of hidden corridors to navigate around the house without being seen, which can eventually be discovered and used by the player.
  • House has a history of strange disappearances and deaths.
    • Actually due to a history of mental instability in the family, which was hushed up due to their wealth.

Puzzle Ideas

  • Torch goes out and must be hit repeatedly until it lights up again. Something in the room may have changed, or this could be a means to delay the player.
  • One door could be jammed shut - turns out it's the player's friend's body slumped against the door from the other side when there's seemingly no other entry to the room.
  • Unbeknownst to the player (or their friend), the mansion's layout is an exact mirror image, identically laid out. Without realising the player moves into the mirror layout and all directions are reversed, objects are different, etc.
    • The house is L-shaped and two curving corridors link the two halves. In the long dark corridor the player gets confused about directions and believes the corridor comes back to the other door in the same room they left, but in fact it's taken them to the other wing of the house.
    • If the two linking rooms are R1 and R2, and R1[E] means a door in the east wall of R1, then the links are R1[E] → R2[N] and R1[S] → R2[W]. However, the “apparent North” in the R2 wing for the player is actually South.
    • The direction of moonlight through the windows could serve as a subtle hint to the player. They could also find a compass which would give them a hint.
    • Make sure mirror rooms have their descriptions abbreviated if the corresponding room has been visited!
  • The stairs have collapsed and only a rickety service lift allows access to the upper floors, but the electricity must be turned back on first.
text/haunted_house.txt · Last modified: 2012/11/12 16:16 by andy