The Moxey Estate has some funny events unfolding..!
As the Pandemic rolls on, I’ve been experiencing and reviewing a plethora of digital experiences designed to keep us all entertained whilst being stuck at home. One of the sectors I’ve been interested in diving into is the Murder Mystery market. Over on SnapChat this weekend, you will have seen our fantastic party unfold – here’s the written writeup!
Shot in the Dark Mysteries create a wide range of Murder Mystery packages that can be played online or offline (in person). From Winter themes including New Years Eve and Murder in the Alps, to the more summery Murder on the Lake and A Hawaiian Homicide, there is a theme to fit every taste! I chose the perfect one for our group, and began planning!
Speaking with Chev and Leigh, I was able to decide on “The New Years Eve Party Murder” for our runthrough. It fit the bill perfectly for our group. Both of the team at SITDM were fantastic at answering my queries, and were informative on how to host this digitally, something I was a little nervous about. No bother, mind, as it was an absolute breeze.
Once the order was placed and the digital package arrived, it was simply a case of distributing the character profiles to each person. I sent these via email in the days before the event, so that everyone understood their brief backstory. On the night, we were able to jump right on in and the fun began immediately!
With the help of some digital files to set the scene, we traversed through the mingling and questioning of each other via the Gather website – it allowed us to run around an on-screen “room” so we were able to pick individuals that we wished to speak to privately and publicly. This worked well for the more… sensitive of topics that some of our characters held. Gather definitely allowed an extra level of immersive theatre that would otherwise be lost on Zoom (and that is present in person). It worked fantastically for our group.
The digital files were fantastic, clear and concise, and we were thoroughly on board with the story and the characters within a short amount of time. Each player had their own sheet / booklet, that they could reference throughout the night, making for a seamless experience.
The evening came to an end, we accused each other and got it half-correct! We rejoiced (still in costume and in character) and raised a toast to the next – hopefully in person – Murder Mystery that we’ll be diving into!
Shot in the Dark have put together a FANTASTIC experience, that begins from the moment you place an order. The digital files are plentiful – but not too much – and the ability to mingle and chat, without reading a script, was very welcome. All in all, I’d give this a solid 10/10!
I spoke with Leigh, the Creative Director, about Shot in the Dark Mysteries, and dive into the background a little deeper!
What is Shot in the Dark Mysteries, and what is your role within the company?
“Shot In The Dark Mysteries is a mystery company that, for the past 15 years, has specialized in an interactive “Mingle Mystery” mystery parties. Shortly after we started, we created a brand new format of mystery party, which innovated the industry from being solely rounds-based to a more ‘true investigation’ format! I am the Creative Director, and I am in charge of all writing and creative direction of the company as a whole, which is now moving to being about all things mystery, and celebrating our love of mystery on multiple levels!”
How long have you been operating, and where are you based?
“Shot In The Dark Mysteries has been operating for 15 years, and we are based in Toronto, Ontario, but we serve the English-Speaking world (and often, many non-English speaking markets!) and our team is global.”
With this pandemic hitting everyone across the world, people have a lot more spare time. is this the perfect time to host a Virtual Murder Mystery?
“Yes, this is definitely the perfect time to host a virtual murder mystery. SHOT has always been about a single focus: bringing people together face-to-face to create memories no one will ever forget. The importance of this mandate has never been clearer as during this pandemic, where we as humans innovated the ways we come together to connect and create memories – primarily, using the internet to keep tightly connected to our people, even when outside circumstances keep us apart. It’s really quite an incredible thing to see.”
How long did it take you to come up with the idea, from concept to rollout?
“Well, that’s a bit of a difficult question to answer honestly, as the format has morphed over the years as we come up with new ideas and want to try new things. Where SHOT is now is very different from when I started the company 15 years ago, and I had been writing these for many years before that. We started as a regular rounds-based company, but a freak accident wiped out the entire company and I was forced to either start again or shut it all down. I decided that it was the perfect opportunity for me to change the things that I didn’t like about how mystery parties worked, and started again, from scratch. The format that emerged is the same as what we use today, and because it is such an unrestrictive, ‘true investigation’ style format, it transfers to Zoom and other digital mediums seamlessly.”
Were you producing Virtual Murder Mysteries before Lockdown was imposed? How has your demand changed since?
“We had one ‘Virtual’ Murder Mystery in the works before lockdown – a product we call “Instant Mysteries”. The idea is that there is no party involved, it’s just ‘You Verses The Evidence’. We turned our full attention to finishing our first theme in that brand-new style of virtual mystery and launched a few weeks after lockdown. Aside from that, our regular interactive mysteries have made a natural transition to the digital platform. Demand has been good – people are always looking for new and interesting ways to connect, and I feel that this has given us the opportunity to connect with a new type of client!”
What do you hope your players can take from this play-at-home or work experience?
“As always, we hope that our mysteries can bring our clients together with their people in an unforgettable way. In the end, no one remembers the plot or the ins-and-outs of their character, but they remember they had a fantastic time with the people they love. That’s what motivates us, and it has become even more important to help our clients connect with their people during this pandemic.”
A huge thank you to Shot in the Dark Mysteries for inviting us to experience this Mystery – we had a fantastic time.