Hyderabad: The audience at a conference at the Taj Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad, wait for the speaker Dr Raj Reddy. The doctor doesn’t arrive; he has been missing because he is found murdered. This scenario is played out as part of a virtual murder mystery that gives you a chance to be a detective and crack the case before the investigation team arrives, on June 14 at 11 am. Hyderabad-based DoScience brings this free digital whodunit game filled with puzzles and coded clues; connect the clues and unravel secrets to move from one witness to another to finally identify the murderer.
“Whodunits have never failed to pique the interest of audience,” shares Aparna Vishwanatham of DoScience, the experiential science centre which had expanded and moved to its new location — Sanjeevaiah Park — in February. The centre has entered into an agreement with the German company Espot and will be using their treasure hunt app Huntzz for the first time for their games.
Known for its hands-on learning experience of science through different exhibits, DoScience has also been organising physical treasure hunts on Sundays with a twist of science. The centre took sometime to adapt to the digital platform. Says Aparna, “It took a while for us to come to terms with what we are going through. We were against virtual events but given the circumstances we had no other option; we realised that if we hold on to our core — learning is fun — then we were being true to what we started, through the virtual world.”
Their digital entry began in April, soon after the lockdown was announced, with the Huntzz app that had to be downloaded to play the game. For six weeks, they conducted quiz-related treasure hunts where participants could go from one place to another virtually depending on the correct answers. They limited their audience by posting it only on their Facebook page and WhatsApp groups.
Limited flexibility in the app posed a challenge. “The answers had to be specific which was possible with a numeral. But when the solution was a name, spelling mistakes would not match. So one of the team members had to be present online to clear participants’ doubts. If they logged in at different times, the administrator had to be available. All this, because these apps were meant to support real time treasure hunts,” she points out, adding that after two weeks, the calls with doubts reduced.
The premise to have fun together continues in their virtual games too. Recalling the enthusiastic participation of friends and families for their events, Aparna points out, “We said children can play but it is more fun if families play together. Our games are not so easy that a V std student will do it all by herself. So, we have always had groups of people — friends and families — playing it together.” What do winners win? “The pleasure of cracking the code. There are no prizes but just the thrill and joy of playing. Our games are not about coming first or being better than others. All of us do things at our own pace and there is nothing wrong in being last. We will stick to the philosophy. ”
Sessions will be fortnightly to start with and the team plans to make it more innovative to keep the game enthusiasts engaged.
(A game of virtual murder mystery by DoScience; visit their Facebook page; For queries: Call +91 88972 04422 or email email@example.com)