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The main characters are the introverted unwilling medium, Rosangela Blackwell, and her family's guide to the world beyond, Joey Mallone, a ghost with a Mysterious Past. And together they must help the restless and bodiless souls of New York to move on the next plane of existence, which is rarely an easy task.
The series is technically a Continuity Reboot of a planned series of freeware games called Bestowers of Eternity, of which only part one was released.
So far the series spans four games: The Blackwell Legacy, Blackwell Unbound and The Blackwell Convergence. The latest game, Blackwell Deception, has just been released. Check them out here.
The games use the following tropes:
- Artistic License Geography: All shots of New York are accurate or at least mostly accurate to the era they're shown in, except one. In Unbound, the saxophone playing ghost is playing in a spot where the skyline of Manhattan is visible when it should not be. In the commentary, both the designer and the artist comment on it and claim artistic license that it looks nicer.
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Ghosts are supposed to go into the realm of Infinity when they die. Some kind of afterlife is presumed to lie beyond that.
- Ax Crazy: The Countess, a medium who lost her spirit guide, now spends her days killing people who she identifies as being "in pain."
- Back From the Dead
- Batman Cold Open: Convergence and Deception.
- Big Applesauce: All games take place in New York City. Of course, this is subverted when you learn that the designer is a native New Yorker.
- Bland-Name Product: Oogle, Rel Day Books, My Phone, etc.
- Blow You Away: ...Sorta. Joey commands the power of light breezes. Evildoers beware.
- But Now I Must Go: Getting a ghost to this point is the entire purpose of the Medium profession.
- But Thou Must!: A medium who is cut off from their spirit guide or refuses to perform the task laid before them, will eventually go mad.
- Chekhov's Skill: Picking a locked door with a paper clip in Blackwell Convergence.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: Rosa shows shades of this in Deception when Joey puts the mack on Jamie. Ostensibly, this was to get Jamie to realize she was dead, but there's no denying Joey enjoyed it.
- The Conspiracy: Gavin hints that there's a greater organization at work apart from him, and if The Stinger at the end of Deception is any indication, people in power may be involved.
- Darker and Edgier: Unbound. You actually have to kill someone.
- Dead Artists Are Better: The antagonist of Convergence relies on this to make money.
- Dead Person Conversation
- Doomed by Canon: When Joey says that it's a bad idea for Lauren to get back in touch with her brother, he means it. This shifts the ending from Bittersweet closer to Downer.
- Flight: Joey can levitate high off the ground if he wishes. He rarely exploits this ability, however, since he has to stay within thirty feet of his medium at all times.
- Emotion Eater: Gavin.
- Fiery Redhead: Lauren Blackwell, for certain. Rosa doesn't quite have the self-confidence to meet the trope, alas.
- Friend to All Living Things: Alli Montego from Legacy. Despite animals getting very restless around ghosts, she's able to examine a dog without it reacting, while being a ghost.
- Gender Blender Name: Adrian, Alex. This is important.
- Ghost Amnesia: Most ghosts don't realize they're dead, and have to be reminded before they can move on.
- Ghostly Goals: Even ghosts who DO know they've died sometimes refuse to pass before they've accomplished something specific.
- Go Into the Light/Disappears Into Light: There's a bright light in the realm of infinity. Rosangella invokes this trope to usher spirits into it.
- Go Mad From the Revelation:
- The Countess. Sealing away your spirit guide and then letting the Infinity fill into your own skull can do that to you
- Ignoring the spirit guide, or refusing to help the ghosts everywhere drives a medium insane. This is what doomed Patricia and Lauren Blackwell.
- Heroes Want Redheads: It's suggested that Joey has a more-than-platonic attachment to Lauren Blackwell, not that it does him much good.
- Heroic Sacrifice: How Joey died.
- Historical Domain Character: Joseph Mitchell and Joe Gould, complete with the unusual specifics such as Joseph Mitchell never writing anything after the 60's and Joe Gould composing his oral history.
- I See Dead People
- Intangible Man: Common to all ghosts and used for several puzzles involving Joey.
- Invisible to Normals: Only mediums, babies, and animals can see ghosts.
- Jacob Marley Apparel: Not limited to the clothes. If a ghost was specially attached to an object while s/he lived, s/he will carry around a ghostly version of it. Sometimes the objects are still somewhat functional, such as saxophones, guns, and phones.
- Living Memory: The Countess has the memories of a homeless philosopher and a writer for the New Yorker dwelling with her own Living Memory in a diner somewhere beyond Infinity. It Makes Sense in Context.
- Madness Mantra: Look up Tomo on the Oogle web search
- Most Writers Are Writers: Rosa is a freelance writer by career.
- No Social Skills: Rosa, especially in the first game. She refuses to approach Nashanti while she's playing her flute in public, and her dialogue choices throughout often end up as a choice between "mean" and "passive-aggressive".
- Oblivious to Love: Lauren does not at all recognize that Joey is in love with her (a fact which is confirmed by Word of God):
"Loved? Loved by who?"
- Offscreen Teleportation: In the commentary of Unbound, the designer and the artist joke that this is probably the only way Lauren could get around New York so fast in one night. That, or a jetpack.
- Oral Fixation Fixation: Lauren Blackwell is a hardcore chain smoker to the point where she does not only have an ashtray in every room, but also for all of her everyday activities that require two hands. She's also often in denial about her habit. She often claims that the cigarette she's currently on is her "last one of the night".
"During this game, Lauren smoked 38 cigarettes."
- Ouija Board: They actually work. According to Joey, the results are aways bad.
- Police Are Useless: Naturally, when deaths start involving ghosts. It gets lampshaded a bit by Joey in Convergence when Rosa isn't charged with the murder of an artist despite the fact that she and the murdered were the only ones visibly present at the time. Also, Lauren apparently gets off scot-free for killing the Countess.
- Prequel: Blackwell Unbound.
- Psychic Powers: Mediums don't get any of the flashy abilities associated with some psychics, but they can interact with ghosts in ways that are impossible for most people. And some have other kinds of powers.
- Really Seven Hundred Years Old: Gavin
- Sanity Has Advantages: This being an adventure game series, out-thinking the neurotic spiritual (or spiritually neurotic) villains is what earns the Blackwell mediums their victories in every game thus far.
- Shout-Out: Rosa publishes her exploits as fiction, just like a certain writer from New Orleans.
- Spirit Advisor: All mediums have one of these.
- Taught By Experience: Joey, Lauren, and Rosa. Dialogue with another spirit guide (the only one besides Joey you ever encounter) suggests that, normally, mediums and spirit guides get a formal education from more experienced people, living and dead. Without a teacher and with nothing but instinct to go on, Joey has apparently developed some... unconventional talents as a spirit guide.
- Unfinished Business: Ghosts who died in the middle of some activity may need to have that activity wrapped up before they'll notice how dead they are.
- The Verse: This series and The Shivah share some elements. Rosangela contacted Rabbi Zelig, presumably for an obituary. Lauren speaks to a younger Sam Durkin in Unbound. Sharming Fashion is mentioned in Convergence. Both games have spam e-mails by Tomo. Then in Deception it turns out that Rajshree Lauder contacted Rosa to see if her husband's ghost was still around.
- Also, Rosangela's neighbor Nishanthi and Rajshree share the same maiden name, Sharma. And in The Shivah, in the pub there's a certain redhead talking to someone who "isn't there".
- Who You Gonna Call?: Rosangela decides to set up this sort of business at the end of Convergence and continues it in Deception, complete with business cards.