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Witness

by Stu Galley

Mystery
1984

(based on 16 ratings)
3 member reviews

About the Story

February 1938, Los Angeles. FDR's New Deal is finally rolling. Hitler's rolling, too; this time through Austria. But as Chief Detective for a quiet burgh on the outskirts of L.A., you've got other fish to fry.

One gilt-edged society dame is dead. And now it looks like some two-bit grifter is putting the screws to her multi-millionaire old man. Then you step in, and the shakedown turns ugly. You're left with a stiff and race against the clock to nail your suspect... unless you get nailed first!

Nobody said a sordid family affair like this was going to be a cinch. Everyone from the knock-out heiress to the poker-faced butler may end up in the slammer before it's over. Ahead of you is a Gordian knot of motives and alibis. And the only testimony you can trust is that of your own eyes - because you are The Witness.

Difficulty: Standard

Game Details

Language: English (en)
Current Version: Unknown
License: Commercial
Development System: ZIL
IFIDs:  ZCODE-13-830524
ZCODE-18-830910
ZCODE-20-831119
ZCODE-21-831208
ZCODE-22-840924
ZCODE-22-840924-D5B7
TUID: 6963a47vqgms8wi0

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Member Reviews

5 star:
(1)
4 star:
(2)
3 star:
(9)
2 star:
(3)
1 star:
(1)
Average Rating:
Number of Reviews: 3
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Early noir murder mystery, August 18, 2010
by ZUrlocker (Santa Cruz, CA)
This was one of Infocom's early games, following in the footsteps of Zork and the earlier mystery Deadline. Given Deadline's reputation for being quite difficult, some might find Witness too easy. I thought it was a good game with quite a few interesting twists. It's your basic murder mystery with several suspects, some interesting clues and a few red herrings. There are a few things that need to be pieced together and sometimes you have to wait for someone or something to happen. Still, I admit I was tempted by the InvisiClues! In case it's not clear, the inspiration for the title is that you're the witness to a murder that you then need to solve.

Given the relatively primitive state of computers back in 1983 when Witness was written, it's an impressive game. Maybe by modern standards, it's a little sparse. Back then, infocom games clocked in at an impressive 128k, so there isn't a lot of verbose writing. As a result the number of rooms, people and objects is limited. Still, Stu Galley does a good job of capturing the "hard-boiled" detective feel of '30s pulp-era fiction even if it's more of a novella than a full blown novel. Still, Witness and Stu Galley's later games defined the golden age of Interactive Fiction that inspired many more authors to come.

This game is available as part of the Lost Treasures of Infocom series. If you like mysteries, you should seek this one out. The feelies in the original game are quite cool including a telegram, suicide note "Detective Gazette" and more. You can also find versions of the InvisiClues for download at http://www.waitingforgo.com/invisiclues/main.html

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Too Darn Easy, September 1, 2010
by Xervosh (San Jose, Northern California)
(Warning: This review might contain spoilers. Click to show the full review.)This is literally the only Infocom game I ever solved entirely on my own. No help from other players, no rumored word-of-mouth, no Invisiclues - all me. And it took me less than 72 hours! I spent like $35 on this thing (for the Apple II version, to play on my old Franklin Ace 1000), back when I was 13 or 14 (in 1984), and I had it solved in under three days. Man, did I ever feel ripped off! Otherwise, its a solid Infocom title (albeit from the Mystery genre, generally not one of the more interesting ones).

The fact that its so easy may not actually be much of a minus these days; its kinda nice to download a game, spend some time on it, and then solve it. And you should be able to do that here. In fact, if you can't solve this, I'd say IF isn't your thing, and you're never going to be able to handle something like Zork I or Planetfall (both of which are far superior).

One obvious flaw: The game is so easy, in part, because there are so few suspect NPCs. There's Linder (the murder victim), his daughter, the other fellow (Ralph Stiles - I forget precisely how he's introduced into the game), and the Japanese gardener (plus there's an Irish cop). You know its one of those four...and you suspect its probably not the gardener (and you pretty much know its not the cop).


A weaker detective story from Infocom, still polished, February 3, 2016
by MathBrush
Related reviews: Infocom
Having just played Deadline for the first time, Witness was not as good, but still very polished. As others have noted, the solution to whodunnit isn't that hard. How they did it is harder.

Again, Sergeant Duffy is here to analyze everything for you . Again, there is a death you must investigate, and a (this time smaller) cast of characters you can interrogate.

You witness the death of a man, and you must uncover the mystery behind his death (thus the name of the game).

This was Infocom's second mystery game, and (I believe) the only one by Stu Galley.

If you enjoyed Witness...

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Recommended Lists

Witness appears in the following Recommended Lists:

The Canonical Infocom Games by wfaulk
This is a list of the canonical Infocom games in order of release, as according to the Infocom Fact Sheet.

Detective and mystery games by MathBrush
These are games where you play a detective or someone else investigating a mystery. Most of them are realistic games which I am splitting off of my realistic list. Some are more magical or science fi-ish.

Polls

The following polls include votes for Witness:

Must-Play IFs for learning to write IFs by Tondo
So I'm fairly new to IFs in general, but I've been enjoying reading some of the IFs on this site. Now I want to get my feet wet a bit, and try writing my own IF. ...

I am new to interactive fiction, could anyone recommend a game for me? by Urtikor
Hello, I just recently came across interactive fiction and I want to try it out and see if it's my kind of thing. I tried Dreamhold for maybe half an hour, but even though it seemed well written, solving puzzles isn't interesting for me....

I'm looking for mysteries. by MCCLUTCH32
I like a game with a good story, good puzzles that aren't too difficult to understand and a good mystery. I was thinking more along the lines of horror, but murder mysteries work as well.

See all polls with votes for this game

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This is version 3 of this page, edited by Michael Roberts on 11 December 2010 at 3:41pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item