Video Game / The Shivah

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/shivahLarge_5208.jpg

Sometimes the line between salvation and damnation is a mighty fine one.

Rabbi Russell Stone is a conservative Jew who is slowly dying inside. His congregation has mostly left him, his synagogue is falling apart, and he is starting to lose faith in God's benevolence. Then, one day, he receives a bit of good news, albeit of the bittersweet variety: A former member of his congregation has died, and left him thousands of dollars with which to pay his overdue rents and keep his synagogue together... there are, however, a few problems.

The dead man, Jack Lauder, is someone from whom Stone had been estranged for years, so it was quite odd that Lauder would mention Stone in his will. Furthermore, Lauder was murdered, and Stone is a suspect.

Rather than take the money and quietly accept it, Stone decides that he will investigate Jack Lauder's death himself, to clear his name and find out what really happened. To start, he'll make a Shivah call on Rajshree Lauder, Jack's widow...

The Shivah is a Wadjet Eye Games project from the mind of Dave Gilbert. For other Wadjet Eye games, see Gemini Rue and The Blackwell Series. Originally released in September 2006, the game got a Updated Re-release in November 2013 with enhanced graphics. This version is called The Shivah: Kosher Edition.

This Game provides examples of:

  • Alter Kocker: Rabbi Amos Zelig.
  • Arc Words: "You call yourself a Jew?"
  • Armor-Piercing Question: A critical game mechanic. Stone gets involved in a few Rabbinic Duels during the game, where his ability to provoke doubt in his opponents will literally determine if he lives or dies.
  • Artistic License - Judaism: Although the game gets a number of things right, some details about Judaism are incorrect. It's implied that the entire plot takes place during the course of a single Friday evening, and that Rabbis Stone and Zelig are both Orthodox rabbis. That leads to some inaccuracies:
    • Traditional Jewish services cannot take place without a quorum of at least ten men (women don't count), known as a minyan. The service depicted in the opening of the game has only three people in attendance, one of whom is a woman.
    • A number of everyday activities are prohibited on the Jewish Sabbath, which lasts from Friday night to Saturday night. These include using electrical devices and using money. Rabbi Stone uses several computers in the course of the game, and explicitly takes the subway to one of the in-game locations. An actual Orthodox rabbi (or any traditional Jew, for that matter) would not do these things on the Sabbath.
    • Even carrying objects from one location to another is prohibited on the Sabbath, which means that Rabbi Zelig would have been unable to give Rabbi Stone his business card. There is a concept in Jewish law called an eruv, though, which allows the definition of "location" to get a bit fuzzy. If an eruv was in place, both Rabbis Stone and Zelig would certainly be aware of that.
  • Big Applesauce: Set in New York, though the plot could take place just about anywhere both Jewish congregations and organized crime can be found.
  • Clear My Name: Part of Stone's motivation, although the case against him is pretty weak (motive, but neither apparent means or opportunity), and he's more driven by curiousity.
  • Dialogue Tree: Notable mostly for the use of Rabbinic Answers.
  • Film Noir: Certain elements are definitely there.
  • Middle Management Mook: Zelig. He acts like a Big Bad, but since his role is mostly to reroute hapless people who are asking him for financial advice in exchange for kickbacks, he comes out looking like a Smug Snake along with this trope.
  • Minored In Ass Kicking: Rabbi Stone used to be in a boxing league. Harmless old Jew, he isn't.
  • Mistaken for Murderer: Stone gets involved in the mystery after finding out he's the prime suspect.
  • Multiple Endings: There are many variations on the ending, most of them dependent on your actions in the last scene.
  • My Greatest Failure: Rabbi Stone feels a lot of guilt about excommunicating Jack Lauder over his relationship with Rajshree. See the Judaism page for notes about inter-faith/intercultural marriages.
  • Non-Answer: Every time you are asked a question, you can choose to respond with a "Rabbinic Answer," which is always another question. Some are rhetorical, while others appear to be deliberately evasive or designed to make the questioner guess the real answer. Most people respond with impatience to the Rabbinic Answer.
  • Psycho for Hire: Joe Demarco
  • Loan Shark: Rabbi Zelig's secret is that he hooks up members of his congregation with these, and has anyone who asks too many questions killed. Jack was one such victim.
  • Private Eye Monologue: Rabbi Stone's style of narration. Descriptions of items that the player clicks on are also in past tense, to tie in with the feel of the monologue.
  • Shiksa Goddess: Invoked for Rajshree Sharma Lauder.
  • The Verse: The game shares some elements with The Blackwell Series. Rosangela Blackwell contacted Rabbi Zelig (presumably about an obituary), Sam Durkin is a recurring character in the Blackwell series, and both games have spam e-mails by Tomo. The Blackwell Deception also shows that Rajshree contacted Rosa to see if the ghost of her husband (Jack Lauder) was 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".

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/VideoGame/TheShivah