Of all the dicks, you get the call. An urgent call, but all you were thinking of was the bottle in the liquor store and so that's where you went first. Now you're pulled up outside the house. The rear mirror's showing two steely eyes. You adjust your hat, stiffen up your collar and grab your badge off the dash. Here goes. You've one last chance so... MAKE IT GOOD.
Make It Good is an interactive detective story designed and written by Jon Ingold. You play as an alcoholic detective at the end of his career, who has one last chance to solve a murder case and prove to his lieutenant that he's still fit to be on the force. Inspired by the classic Infocom games The Witness and Deadline, Make It Good gives you one full in-game day to inspect the house, interact with five well-programmed NPCs, collect clues, and come to your own conclusions. It's a difficult game to beat, but the great writing and presentation make it the perfect game for anyone to play, even people who aren't typically fans of interactive fiction.
The game was written with Inform 6 and first published as freeware on April 13, 2009, after almost a decade of development. According to the in-game documentation, the main roadmap from the beginning of the game to the end took roughly seven years, with bug-testing and rewriting for consistency consuming the next two years. Since release, the game has been updated fourteen times to fix bugs discovered by players, the latest release being December 27, 2009.
In my opinion, Make It Good doesn't just meet the bar set by the old Infocom games, it exceeds them. If this game were released back in the 1980s, it could have been a best-seller. It's one of the few mystery games I've played in my life where the red herrings are more interesting than other games' entire plotlines, where the NPCs actually seem like real people, and the twists were genuine shocks. Trying to piece together who did the murder is just the beginning of this game, because once you've figured it out it becomes an entire new game as you figure out just what you need to do to get enough evidence for a conviction. Even then, there are so many stones unturned that you find yourself starting the game over just to see what else could have happened.
With the alcoholic detective, smart-mouth police officer, and the fact that one of your suspects is a maid, it's easy to think that Make It Good is just a big pile of clichés. It is, but it's an example of cliché done extremely well, and total proof that tropes are not bad.
Download Make It Good at the Interactive Fiction Database