It is a tough time to be in Melbourne. This lockdown has been going on so long we’re starting to forget what our families look like. We’re beginning to truly feel all the words to that ‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas’ song. Our nightlife is almost as quiet as Sydney’s was during the lockout laws. Things are dire, even though it’s much better than the alternative.
So, through all that, it’s nice to be able to celebrate the wins of Melbournians when they happen. And a game about a historical murder that happened right in the heart of Melbourne’s red-light district more than 100 years ago getting nominated for multiple awards certainly counts as a win.
Misadventure In Little Lon is the first mobile AR game from the husband-and-wife dev team True Crime Mysteries. It follows the unfortunate events that lead to the death of Ernest Gunter, and the extraordinary true story of his sister Maude.
What makes the game so special is that, while it can be played from anywhere in the world, it’s best experienced in the Melbourne CBD, where it takes you around the real key locations of the crime. It’s a completely different way to experience the city, whether you’re discovering the forgotten past of your home, or enjoy a little murder voyeurism tourism.
Last week the game was shortlisted for Best AR/VR Game at the Australian Game Developers Awards, which are scheduled for October 7, during Melbourne International Games Week.
Misadventure In Little Lon was also recognised with a shortlist in the Victorian Community History Awards in the History Project category.
In an interview conducted over Twitter, Emma Ramsay, one of the developers, said: “In a year that’s been filled with so much uncertainty, it feels inevitable that we would question whether we made the right move getting into indie game dev. Was it too risky to continue on this path or should we reverse back into familiar, more secure (read: boring) territory? Being finalists in these awards makes us feel like we are going in the right direction. It feels great to have our work recognised and puts fuel on the fire to finish our next game and continue creating bigger and better games.”
For a game that relies on people being able to go to the city for the full experience, a pandemic that saw people confined to their homes and unable to travel more than 5km put a wrench in many of their hopes and dreams. “Although we launched with a bang during Games Week last year with amazing support from City of Melbourne, Film Vic and Creative Vic, the pandemic put a screeching halt to our plans to promote the on-site version of the game. These nominations make it feel worthwhile to continue to put our game out there as it’s something that lovers of true crime, history and games would enjoy playing and might help to take their minds of the chaos of the world for an hour or so.”
Ramsay said she and husband Andy Yong were honoured by the AGDA nomination, and that “being recognised by our peers in the industry is a fantastic feeling.”
But it was the inclusion in the history awards that confirmed their dedication to continuing to tell Victoria’s historical true crime stories. “For the Victorian Community History Awards especially it reinforces that games can appeal to a diverse audience. They may not consider themselves gamers, but they are interested in uncovering the stories of a place and the people who lived there.”