The Origins of Detectives Guild

Posted: 2021-07-15

We've always been a story loving family.

Not just published stories, but making up our own. Creativity was a big driver for us as our daughter was growing up, and we'd collectively spin stories. One of our favorite games to play at Chinese restaurants is the fortune cookie game, where one player starts telling a story, gets the main character into a crisis, and then the next person has to use their fortune to get them out of it. Then they get the main character into another crisis, and it goes around the table.

We were also big on riddles. There were many Christmases and birthdays where presents were found only at the end of a chain of riddles that would have our daughter finding places in and around the house. This culminated one year on a trip to Florida where every day the next riddle in the sequence was delivered. Sometimes this was by finding it on her bed in the hotel, sometimes the hotel clerks or waitresses at the restaurant delivered it.

Some of the riddles were word riddles, others had her solving ciphers or other sorts of puzzles. At the end of it all was a present, and she felt like she was a superspy to be able to solve everything and actually get the present.

We wanted to be able to bottle that experience and make it available to anyone with an Internet connection. That's what started the idea of Detectives Guild. Since then we've greatly expanded the sorts of experiences Detectives can have, adding in branching sorts of Choose Your Own Adventures and the ability for stories to keep track of things like how many lockpicks you have or how angry another character is at you.

The core of the idea, though, was that of living through an adventure and getting that feeling of accomplishment from success.