A Sherlock Holmes Game

I’m thinking about making a Sherlock Holmes mystery game, based off the original stories written in the 1890’s. The stories are so old that they’re in the public domain and no longer copyrighted, which means anyone is free to use them. A text-based game seems like an ideal medium for adapting a written story.

I’ve never used choicescript before, so it took me a couple of days to write up a small demo, which covers the first chapter of “Sherlock Holmes: The Valley of Fear”.


I’m hoping to get feedback from my friends and other people, before deciding whether or not to proceed with the project. I’m currently wondering how long the final game should be (four or five cases sounds about right), whether I should modernize the Victorian-era language, and whether I should start cutting out huge chunks of dialogue, because Sherlock talks A LOT.

Actually they aren’t public domain. Sorry about that.
Someone currently owns them, though who I don’t know. There are lawsuits going around to make it public domain, but as of now it still remains private property.

@lost_gamer I thought that it was well written, but you can’t right a game about Sherlock Holmes. It is against the websites rules and against the law.

However, you can write about characters similar in qualities as Sherlock Holmes, just changing their names. Of course, this will most likely leave your story as being quoted as a Sherlock Holmes rip-off.
If this was me, I’d make major changes to it, but still keep the core intact. Make it a mystery game, but no Sherlock Holmes.

You could find another detective, one who is in the public domain and use them instead. Sherlock Holmes is a tricky case, unfortunately in regards to the copyrights. While it should be in public domain, it isn’t entirely.

Yep, I’d avoid Sherlock Holmes. That whole bucket of… everything is a nightmare.
However, I think that it would be interesting to see you go with your own original character. But that’s just me.

There’s an ongoing lawsuit to (partially) remove Holmes from the public domain? Yikes, talk about bad timing…

I guess that means I should shelf the project until a court decision is reached. Either that, or turn it into a game about the amazingly-unsueable detective, Herlock Sholmes.

*sigh* Maybe I’ll look for something different in the public domain to adapt. I’m not sure I could write a lengthy detective mystery from scratch. Oh well. Thanks for the feedback, everyone!

I think the lawsuit is that Sherlock Holmes isn’t counted as in the public domain since the last story published when Arthur Conan Doyle was alive was 1927. There’s people arguing that it should be though. I’d steer well clear from it until that law suit is settled.

I do think the adaption of something in the public domain is an interesting idea. Suddenly I’m thinking of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. You could take the parody route, with Herlock Sholmes.

You could use C. Auguste Dupin, or Monsqiuer Lecoq, two of the sources of inspiration for Holmes (according to wikipedia.) They should both be in public domain.

@FairyGodfeather Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.
Now I’ve never been a big fan of Pride and Prejudice.
But Zombies?

I hated Pride and Prejudice. I was a child who read everything I could get my hands on. Pride and Prejudice was one of the few novels that I just couldn’t read. The addition of zombies does not make me want to change my mind.

Same here, in terms of reading books.
The only ones I can’t read:
Tess of D’Urbervilles
Little Women
The Bronte Sisters
Pride and Predjudice
But I did manage to get through the whole version of Mody Dick.
So bonus points me!

Zombies are in my domain but even they couldn’t get me to read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I tried my hardest to read it but dear god the horror! (Of the Victorian era not zombies :smiley: ) I just can’t get over the fact that everyone in that era dances in crop sized circles around what they’re trying to say. Like the attire of that woman was of poor quality and obviously of poor thought in that it very much so does not flatter her whatsoever instead of saying she looks bad in that dress why did she wear it?

I can’t say I’m overly fond of the so called classics. I haven’t even read Sherlock Holmes. I’ve watched a few of the movies though and the Star Trek: TNG episode with Sherlock in it. Oh and I played a hidden object game based on it which was fun.



Also I keep hitting the 8 button because I’ve pressed it so many times so far today.

Well, I love Pride & Prejudice, but if you didn’t like the original, the “remake” has very little to offer. Zombies and ninjas tossed in randomly, in a joke that got old within fifteen pages (though there were very occasional chuckles in the remainder).

“I just can’t get over the fact that everyone in that era dances in crop sized circles around what they’re trying to say.” That’s part of the charm. :slight_smile:

@Lost_gamer are you from the US? If not, maybe you’re lucky and the country you live recognizes Holmes as public domain. As far as I know, Sherlock&co are public domain in Europe.

The trouble is Choice of Games is in the US so the US laws apply to them. I don’t think it’s a risk worth taking.

It’s strange to hear this as someone from England because as far as I know SH is in the public domain, indeed there’s an entire series of books written by various authors pitting Holmes against other fictional characters who are predominatly in the public domain - Dracula, Jack the Ripper, the Martians in War of the Worlds (together with the Lost World’s Professor Challenger), Mr Hyde, Tarzan etc.

I’d love to see a story set in the era or world of Sherlock Holmes, ie Victorian London. Maybe not playing as a great detective but a number of possible characters suited to that world - the bobby on the beat, the esteemed academic, the enpowered lady activist - and having some adventures suited to their character in that landscape. Straight up adapting a Holmes story in this case though seems wrong, plus there’s not much room to put your own spin on the character given how much of Holmes and Watson are set in stone. But I am quite the Holmesian so I admit having an original game would be fun!

sherlock holmes is public domain in europe since 70s, if you clarify you are used the original edition you could do it safely. the problem as I intended with some characters and editorials is this change some little part of text , and editing a new version that allows them to amply editorial rights . Pick the original version and specify you are use original version from year x free of use due public domine. Ios and android are full of free sherlock apps I got two installed