{Great Mouse Detective}

{Game Idea}

Thesis: A story-based deductive and investigative adventure learning game for children, full of crowd-sourced cases to be solved by Basil, the great mouse detective, and you, his trusty assistant.

Setting & Story: Late 1800s London, based on the world and characters from the 1986 Disney film The Great Mouse Detective. Basil solves cases on the micro-streets of London, squaring off against his arch-rival, the rat Professor Ratigan {voiced by the magnificent Vincent Price}. {There was apparently a game based on TGMD for the Commodore 64 released in 1987, titled Basil The Great Mouse Detective. Looks lit.}

Playable Characters: The player takes on the role of Basil’s protege, tasked with aiding him in his cases. As the great mouse detective galavants throughout the darkened alleys and shadowed grottos of the great city, you follow him and play a pivotal role in the resolution of each of his wacky cases, learning and becoming more effective as an apprentice as you go.

Gameplay ~

Great Mouse Detective plays similarly to the Telltale Games {RIP} narrative thrillers, or like the various Sherlock Holmes games.

  • There are two primary ways of playing the game: 1) main story mode – a set of cases following a narrative throughline, crafted with difficulty progression in mind and to introduce the primary mechanics of the game the player’s role in acting as Basil’s junior detective; 2) freelance cases created by other players, or instructors, optimized within the framework of the game, for players to work their way through.
  • The core gameplay serves as an interactive learning and reading experience for players {age 9+} as they work their way through discovery conversations with consultees, suspect interrogations, puzzles and room investigations, and final confrontations of evidence. The game is both a vehicle for fun investigative adventuring and reading & comprehension, exercising simple mathematics and logic progression, the absorption of light historical knowledge, and overall drives the attainment of a more methodical deductive reasoning capability in the young or old.
  • Each of the cases presents the player with evidence at the start. From there, the player runs through each stage of the case, multiple paths to be taken at each level.
  • Some of the cases involve no real criminal, and are simply a discovery through extraordinary evidence and events, coming to the truth of a strange accident or weird phenomena at the conclusion.
  • Other cases, and the majority of the endgame cases the player gets on to, do involve picking up a trail of clues which lead on to a a criminal mastermind {or group of them} of some kind. Every one is necessarily a challenge to Basil’s expertise and up to providing a unique challenge to your investigation. Each of the opposing rapscallions and the investigative trail up to confronting them requires the player to gather clues in special ways based on the nature of their crime and personality.
  • For example, some clues may require doing math problems with increasingly complexity, recalling the names, places and events of historical relevance, reengineering the visual scene of the crime and its physical progression to envision the multitude of ways everything might’ve gone down, etc.. All of these exercises mix real-world learning, both facts and processes, and contribute to the eventual solution to the case and capture of the thematically-minded culprit.
  • The game world is experienced through richly drawn still screens with characters and backgrounds presented, as well as cut scenes with voice acting and animation similar to the 1986 film.
  • Basil and the player gather clues, track evidence and interact with witnesses and culprits through fully-realized dialogue trees.
  • The player will be tasked with taking notes within an in-game journal, charged with remembering the faces and names of the characters involved in the case. The player must draw together this information into a narrative hypothesis on both 1) how the case went down, and 2) who did it?
  • It is the player’s choices which dictate what evidence is acted upon, what culprits are investigated further, and down what track the whole investigation will go.
  • Basil’s role is presenting all of the information to the player in dramatic fashion, and is always available as a ‘Help’ option wherein he provides hints, offers up potential avenues for the investigation to take, and provides valuable deductions for the player to go forth with.

Case Creator

  • For players, or instructors using the game in schools, seeking to use the game’s robust in-engine ‘Case Creator’, they are given a variety of tools to build exciting & interactive cases for other Mouse Detective players to run. Alternatively to the player who can receive hints upon the investigation by Basil the mouse, the novice Case Creator can ask for advice on how to craft their crime from the master himself, Professor Ratigan.
  • Case genre ~ the general nature of the case: Whodunnit? / Missing Person / Puzzle / Escape / Lost Artifact / On the trail / Historical truth / custom, etc.
  • Story board ~ The overall narrative of the case – only the creator has access to this view – the player walks it alongside Basil.
  • Clues ~ the building blocks of the investigation, every interaction, even into a dead end, provides clues.
  • Red herrings ~ misleading clues that move the player further from the truth, down false paths to the case’s solutions – or alternative routes that provide a different sort of negative-confirmation evidence.
  • Witnesses ~ individuals, such as the ones that bring the case to Basil, that can help in the investigation through conversation and guidance through the streets of London.
  • Suspects ~ individuals who have been implicated through evidence of potential involvement in a crime. Through observation and interrogation, you can prove out their innocence or guilt.
  • Culprits ~ the chosen individual(s) that the Creator has chosen to be the one responsible for the crime. This is the person or persons that Basil and the player are hunting for, to capture and prove out their culpability in the crime.

Endgame ~ The purpose of the {Great Mouse Detective} is to engage the player – a burdgeoning junior detective to the best detective in Mousedom – into the world of dramatic crimes and their sometimes more dramatic investigations. Presented in the rich micro world of 1800s London and seen through the eyes of cartoon mice, the player aids in the quest for the truth, battling against the darkness of criminal mastermind Ratigan and his lackeys. Learning and adventure abound in a return to a high stakes world of deductions and danger. The game is afoot!

“There’s always a chance, Doctor, as long as one can think.”

~ The Great Mouse Detective definitive fan website: https://www.freewebs.com/greatmousedetective/
Feel free to explore the site containing “the most comprehensive information and media on this underrated Disney gem. Be sure to sign Basil’s Guestbook, feel free to contribute, and enjoy!