Shady Acres Super Sleuth is an interactive point-an-click video game created for the 2012 re-release of Mystery at Shady Acres. It introduces areas of the hotel not seen in the actual film and lets the audience interact with the hotel and solve the mystery.
This game does not have any physical contents, as it is part of the film Mystery at Shady Acres. In the game itself, there are eight rooms to explore, mostly at your own pace. In these rooms, the player will find items to collect and clues that hint at the solution revealed in the film's conclusion. At the end of the game is a copy of the informant tip sheet from the play.
Features and Game Play
The player navigates around Shady Acres by selecting the arrows on the screen. Almost every room (excluding the dining room and the kitchen) has a default starting position where the player can navigate in a circle, looking at items or advancing towards doors or large pieces of furniture. Looking around furniture allows the player to find either clues that hint at the mystery's solution or items that can be used to solve puzzles.
Two of the rooms, Mr. X's hotel room and the staff lounge, can only be accessed with the room key and the lock pick, respectively. These rooms contain a majority of the clues, and feature the only real conflict in the game - someone locks the player in the staff lounge, forcing the player to find a way out. Once the player escapes and leaves the hotel, access is given to the informant tip sheet, where the player can select which person they think committed the crime.
Game play concludes during the actual film, where Chief Della Wickfield asks the player to share some information they found from their exploration of the hotel.
"Stop it! Stop it! You're ruining everything!"
Shady Acres Super Sleuth contains examples of the following tropes.
- Big Heroic Run: The audience does this to escape from the kitchen and to get back to the lobby, where they fill out the informant tip sheet.
- Easter Egg: The portraits throughout the hotel feature references to other Mustache Maniacs Film Co. productions and more, along with other special sights. They are:
- Lobby: Hanging next to the front doors is a picture of a CGI Stuart Tank. This scene was created in MEA 131 Modeling and Surfacing class at College of the Canyons, where the inspiration for this game originated. Also, just like in the film, a picture of Judy Barringer hangs over the fireplace. While looking around the front desk, you can also see a brochure for Thorton's Detective Agency sitting next to the guest register (it was created by using a scan of the original prop). The guest register itself includes several characters from other Mustache Maniacs Film Co. movies as past guests (Outside of Mustache Max, these characters canonically stayed at Shady Acres during those times).
- Hall: There aren't many details here, as it is the main hub of the game, but a humorous touch is the caution tape over the door to the kitchen, as viewers who have just finished act 1 of Mystery at Shady Acres will know that Basil blew up the kitchen.
- Guest Lounge: When you enter the room, the couple seen in the portrait hanging on the wall are Alvaro and Martha Bermudez, the parents of Al Bermudez, whose old film footage became the film Old Home Movies. In the same room, the door is flanked by two pictures: one of Nana from Space Attack and one of a bull-fighting arena from Johnny Thunder and the Wisdom of the Ancients.
- Dining Room: There are three portraits in this room: one of Fredrick the Frog (from Freddy and Joey Teaser), one of Ice Fisherman (from Gone Ice Fishin') and one of the dad (from When Barrels Fly). Also, eagle-eyed viewers who have seen Worchester Cold Storage Warehouse Fire will recognize the stock image on the newspaper as being an image from that film.
- Brightham's Room: There is almost nothing in this room save for some large furniture, which plays into the Brighthams' compulsion to steal.
- Mr. X's Room: Hanging over Mr X's bed is a screenshot from the film Com 50, which alludes to Mr. X's true identity.
- Employee Lounge: Hanging over the couch is a picture of the Windsor Hotel from Johnny Thunder and the Gift of the Nile. Hanging next to it is a picture of Ulysses S. Powell from When Barrels Fly.
- Kitchen: Sitting on the floor is a giant hamburger, which is even referenced in the interrogation at the end of the game. The kitchen is also charred from Basil's cooking, at least mostly.
- Evidence Scavenger Hunt: What the audience does throughout this game.
- Foreshadowing: The game features less about the robbery and more about the sub-plot involving Miss Henrietta Clifford and Stanley Larson.
- It May Help You on Your Quest: There are clues and objects scattered throughout the hotel that the audience can interact with, including a key, hair pin, and scraps of paper.
- Locked Door: Both Mr. X's Room and the Staff Lounge are locked at the beginning of Shady Acres Super Sleuth. They require the room key and lock pick to open, respectively.
- Locked in a Room: When the audience uncovers the crates of flammable materials in the staff lounge, someone locks the door to the staff lounge, trapping the audience. It's later implied that Miss Henrietta Clifford was the one who trapped the audience.
- Pixel Hunt: Mostly subverted. However, the hair pin plays this completely straight. It's underneath the sofa in the guest lounge, and it's so small, only the most observant audience members can find it to pick it up.
- Point-and-Click Game: What this game is.
- Shout-Out: The guest registry as seen in the lobby pays homage to Lois Banks, Miranda Banks, and Patricia, characters that were cut from the film.
- Originally, the informant tip sheet could be accessed immediately after entering the game. However, as that eliminated the possibility of exploring the hotel, as well as confused some players, the informant tip sheet is now only accessible once the player escapes from the staff lounge.
- The lobby in the game is modeled after the lobby set from the play, including placement of furniture and wall colors. This look dictated how the rest of the rooms look.
- Throughout the hotel, there are framed photos that make reference to other Mustache Maniacs Film Co. movies, including Johnny Thunder and the Wisdom of the Ancients, Gone Ice Fishin', When Barrels Fly, Old Home Movies, and others.
- In the hotel lobby is a framed photo of a Stuart Tank rolling across a desert landscape. This image was created for MEA 131 Modeling and Surfacing class at College of the Canyons, the class where the idea for this game originated.
- Online, this game no longer functions how it was intended, as YouTube's removal of annotations in 2018 has rendered this game unplayable.