Deadline is an interactive fiction computer game published by Infocom in 1982. Written by Marc Blank, it was one of the first murder mystery interactive fiction games. Like most Infocom titles, Deadline was created using ZIL, which allowed the easy porting of the game to popular computer platforms of the time such as the Apple II and the Commodore 64. It is Infocom's third game.
The player's character in Deadline is an unnamed police detective, summoned to a sprawling Connecticut estate to investigate the apparent suicide of wealthy industrialist Marshall Robner. At first, it seems a very straightforward case: the body was discovered in the library, which had been locked from the inside, and the cause of death was an overdose of his prescribed antidepressants. But something just doesn't feel right. Could someone have killed Robner for his money? Did he make an enemy through his business dealings? Or was there some other motive? With the able assistance of level-headed Sgt. Duffy, the player has twelve hours to solve the case before it is closed forever.
The suspects, who walk around the estate pursuing their own agendas during your investigation, are:
New commands were implemented to suit the game's detective theme: the player can accuse or even arrest any of the suspects at any time. A well-timed accusation can cause an unnerved suspect to reveal previously concealed information. For an arrest to stick, however, the player must possess hard evidence of the three basics: motive, method and opportunity. Without these, the game ends with a description of why the presumed culprit was released. The standard examine and search commands are present, of course, but the player can also fingerprint objects or ask the invaluable Sgt. Duffy to analyze them.
- Leslie Robner, the victim's wife: is she the faithful, grieving widow she appears?
- George Robner, the victim's son: why doesn't he seem to be very sad about his father's death?
- Mr. McNabb, the gardener: he's very passionate about his work. Would he kill his employer?
- Mrs. Rourke, the housekeeper: is anyone in this household truly innocent?
- Mr. Baxter, Robner's business partner: is he hiding shady dealings?
- Ms. Dunbar, Robner's secretary: why does she seem so nervous?