How To Think Like Sherlock Holmes Viral Game

January 30, 2013

Filed under: Games — Simon Walklate

We’ve just released a brand new viral game for UK publisher Canongate Books to help promote the UK release of “Mastermind:How To Think Like Sherlock Holmes” by Maria Konnikova.

How To Think Like Sherlock Holmes

This one was especially challenging, in terms of coming up with a workable, original concept that at least touches on some of the concepts discussed in the book, but most importantly works well as a game. Mindful of the fairly limited budget, we decided early on to focus on doing something fairly simple and addictive well, rather than spreading the budget too thin.

After having read the book, we decided to focus on the acts of observation, memory and filtering out of irrelevant information (some of the topics discussed in depth in the book). With that in mind we produced the final game concept. A 4×3 grid of tarot style cards would show illustrations, each containing variations of symbols and letters within them. The object of the game being to clear each grid by matching groups of 4 cards, that all contain a common symbol or letter, within a time limit. As the game progresses, more and more irrelevant noise (symbols that don’t match across a full group of 4 cards) would be introduced. To get better at the game not only does the player have to remember where the different symbols occurred within each illustration, they need to learn to disregard the irrelevant symbols that don’t match and concentrate on just the relevant (matching symbols). The player scores for each group matched and receives a bonus on completing each grid, based on how much time is left, so speed is the key to scoring well.

With the final concept agreed and signed of, we went to work on producing the game. The visuals were produced to tie in with Sherlock Holmes, but with a slightly more modern feel to fit in with the book jacket artwork. Some more great game music by Dave Cowen enhances the mystery/detective feel of the game. Check out the finished game here.

Mastermind:How To Think Like Sherlock Holmes is available from Amazon now.

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