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Contradiction: The All-Video, Fully Interactive Murder Mystery Adventure or Contradiction - Spot The Liar! or simply Contradiction is a Full Motion Video mystery game, made by Tim Follin and released on iOS and PC.

You play as Detective Inspector Frederick Jenks, who has been called into the small village of Edenton to investigate the mysterious death of Kate Vine, which everyone believes is a suicide. However, once you get there certain things start to not add up - particularly involving the Atlas business course that she and several other locals were members of.

The name of the game comes from the primary way you move the story along. You must interview people and then search for any contradictions they might have made earlier.


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Provides examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: Due to budgetary constraints, quite a few plot threads had to be left unresolved. See Cliffhanger below.
  • The Ace: Kate, despite her drinking problem, was such a good student that she was in the running to become the Prime Candidate, the Atlas course's name for the best student; successful Prime Candidates go on to get guaranteed jobs with good salaries.
  • The Alcoholic:
    • One of the first things you learn about Kate is that she was a heavy drinker. Almost everyone says it as the first thing they know about her.
    • And the random town drunk wandering around the woods!
  • All for Nothing: Kate's murder, as Rebecca did it because she thought she was punishing Kate for sleeping with her husband. It was actually Emma who slept with Rebecca's husband, so Rebecca killed Kate for nothing.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Subverted. It's clear that Paul and Ryan Rand are up to some very shady stuff, and they may or may not be responsible for the death of Liam a year earlier—but, for the case of Kate's death that you're investigating, the aristocrats are not responsible.
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  • Armor-Piercing Question: Jenks hits Paul Rand, after the latter's Motive Rant about the importance of enjoying what you have now in the present, with "and what do you enjoy in the present?" This seems to strike a nerve in Paul, who no longer seems to have much to do.
  • Be as Unhelpful as Possible: Nearly everyone. Some characters just respond to things with one sentence or one word answers. Practically nobody wants to be completely honest with you, and if they are honest with you, there's a good chance they'll just dodge the question entirely or avoid bringing it up in the first place.
  • Big Bad: Rebecca, with Atlas serving as the Bigger Bad and main Red Herring in an unusual combination of tropes.
  • Big Fancy House: What the Atlas course takes place in.
  • But Thou Must!: An interesting reversal with the 500 Pound cheque for Kate clue. If you've played through the game before and know the ending, it is tempting to try talking to Rebecca about it. However, the game does not allow you to do so. The game simply says, "It's probably best not to ask Rebecca about this". It's one of the few times the game blocks you from asking about something in a manner that's not justified by the plot. Most likely done to preserve the game's final reveals.
  • Character Tics: Subtle, but there. Every character has some sort of tell when they're either lying or setting themselves up for a contradiction, except for the times when the characters aren't making contradictions (because they just haven't clarified something for Jenks) or just don't know they're lying. Notably:
    • James grows more sarcastic or aggressive.
    • Ryan laughs a lot or scoffs or gets jittery.
    • Emma bites her lip or looks depressed.
    • Paul is a special case; he usually likes to clam up during questions and exude an air of smug superiority. You know he's lying or setting himself up for a contradiction when one of Jenks' questions catch his interest and he engages with Jenks a bit more than normal.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Two of them: the piece of tape with a fancy pattern on Kate's driver's license, and the piece of tape with the exact same pattern that was used to tape the pub's broken window (you can see the latter piece of tape in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it shot the first time Jenks investigates the broken window).
    • Kate's driver's license itself. It is the only clue you have at the beginning of the game, and no one you talk to has any meaningful thing to say about it. Yet, one of the first things you learn about Kate, a college student, is that she liked to hit the bottle, and thus its presence as a major clue naturally throws suspicion on someone who sells alcohol and would be in the business of checking ID's.
  • Chewing the Scenery: A big appeal of the game. Jenks and the Rands are the biggest examples. Word of God says this was on purpose, to compliment the eerie and otherworldly tone of the entire game.
  • The Chessmaster: Paul Rand fancies himself as one.
  • Cliffhanger: The game ends on one; while the mystery of Kate's death is satisfiably resolved, most of the other mysteries aren't (this was due to budget issues and may be addressed in the sequel). Some of these mysteries are even acknowledged by the game in the pre-credits scene. They include: the truth behind Atlas/Third Eye (and how true/false James' conspiracy theories about them are), where Simon went after he disappeared following your last conversation with him, what happened with that bizarre "ritual" in the woods that Jenks interrupted, the truth behind Liam's suicide, and most importantly the bringing of the Rands to justice.
  • Cold Ham: Paul Rand (played by Paul Darrow) doesn't need to raise his voice to take the whole scene.
    Paul: I'm sorry inspector, my house appears to be haunted... Would you mind closing the door?
  • Conspiracy Theorist: James who single handedly stopped a slave ring. It's not clear how false or true this statement is.
  • Conviction by Contradiction: The thing the game was named after. Used to learn new information from the various people you interrogate. Ultimately played with. While you naturally nab the killer after catching him or her in a contradiction, the killer is actually the suspect who contradicts him or herself the least over the course of the game.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: The express purpose of the Atlas course is to turn its students into these, by teaching them to reject the notion of guilt and be willing to do anything to get ahead.
  • Cowboy Cop: A sedate version of this trope, but still in evidence. As well as pocketing random objects he finds lying around, Jenks removes items from a locked outbuilding and a locked car – in both cases entering with the proper keys but without permission from the owner or any kind of search warrant.
  • Creepy Doll: Used as part of the Atlas course. They burn them in a trash can.
  • Cult: The Third Eye and Atlas, who are the Third Eye after an image change. One of the last images of the game even hints that they may be Satanic in nature.
  • Deliberately Distressed Damsel: Near the ending, Jenks stumbles upon what looks like Atlas human sacrifice taking place in the woods. He stops it but the woman he saves just sort of shrugs it off and wanders into the woods. Maybe it was all an act after all...
  • Did Not Die That Way: The entire point of the game is to find out whether or not Kate Vine's death was suicide or homicide.
  • Dreadful Musician: Ryan Rand was apparently this when he tried to dabble in playing the guitar, according to the other characters, though we don't know whether this is true or not since we don't get to see Ryan playing the guitar on-screen.
  • Evil Brit: Ryan and definitely Paul Rand give off these vibes. Despite this, they turn out to be innocent of the crime Jenks is investigating.
  • Fall Guy: While he is technically not responsible for Kate's death, Ryan attempts to deflect suspicion onto Simon. He leaves the implication that he was trying to cover for Rebecca, who was the real culprit.
  • Full Motion Video
  • The Hecate Sisters: Referenced via the symbol on the mask Jenks finds
  • Human Sacrifice: Jenks stumbles onto Ryan and one of his Atlas followers performing one in the woods. Ryan tries to convince Jenks that it's nothing but an Atlas training exercise.
  • It's All My Fault: In the year before the game takes place, Emma criticized Liam for having an ugly birthmark on his face, and in the present day, Emma blames herself for Liam committing suicide because she thinks Liam killed himself because of her. However, Jenks thinks it's highly unlikely that Liam would kill himself over Emma criticizing his birthmark once.
  • Kavorka Man: Ryan has a pretty wife that looks a lot younger than him and a mistress despite looking rather plain and being rather smug. His wealth and mannerism probably help a lot.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Frederick regularly swipes stuff that's clearly other people's property.
  • Large Ham: Jenks and Ryan Rand really take it up a notch compared to everyone else.
  • Left Hanging: Most of the plot threads regarding Atlas are left unresolved by the time the game ends.
  • Meaningful Name: The Atlas group, headed by Paul and Ryan Rand.
  • Murder by Inaction: Rebecca tries to claim Kate's death wasn't murder because Rebecca just didn't do anything to save her while she was flailing about (though she tries to justify it by saying that it was too dark), but she then says that she took a stick and pushed Kate down into the water to make her drown.
  • Murder by Mistake: Rebecca caused Kate's death because she thought Kate slept with her husband, and she came to this conclusion after overhearing Kate and Emma arguing. It was actually Emma who Ryan had an affair with—so as Jenks points out before arresting her, Rebecca killed the wrong girl.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Rebecca has this reaction after Jenks makes her think about who really slept with her husband, and that she murdered Kate Vine for nothing.
  • My Local: The George and Dragon
  • Nice Hat: Jenks' fedora.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: A bit after you obtain a CD with Paul Rand's "pickpocketing stunt video", someone attacks Jenks, putting a bag over his head and stealing the CD. This theft of evidence might hamper the player—if not for the fact that the thief leaves the bag behind with the shop's name on it, which turns out to be useful in getting Paul to reveal information.
  • Only in It for the Money: Late in the game, Jenks finally gets Paul Rand to reveal that the Atlas course has a deal with several multi-national corporations: the Atlas course trains "perfect employees" to give to these corporations, and in return, the corporations give generous kick-backs to the Atlas course.
  • Posthumous Character: Kate and Liam.
  • Red Herring: Many of the clues Jenks gets from his conversations end up being these. Also ultimately applies to Atlas itself, at least in regards to Kate's murder.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: The game's scope, amount of characters and even its ending were affected by time and budget constraints.
  • Sequel Hook: The game ends with Jenks musing about the many unsolved questions regarding Atlas, and hints that even though they weren't responsible for Kate's murder, that they aren't exactly innocent.
  • The Stoner: It's hinted that James is this. You meet him smoking hookah and Rebecca says he grows cannabis.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Kyle, whose only apparent role is to spit "Pathetic!" and act like a tough guy rather than doing anything notable. He doesn't even do anything after Jenks finally has enough of his attitude and slaps him, except sputter and look shocked.
  • Tender Tears: Emma is crying when she reveals that she thinks she drove Liam to suicide because she criticized a birthmark on his face.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: It turns out that James is absolutely spot-on with most of the stuff he says regarding Atlas. Ryan even confirms that James was the one who shut Third Eye down, and Paul admits that James' ravings about making 'corporate slaves' is basically what Atlas does for money.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: Atlas has been compared as a cult and Kate's suicide is not the first incident the town had.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom:
    • Emma's affair with Ryan leads to Kate's murder. Funnily enough, she believes was the Unwitting Instigator of Doom in a separate death - Liam's - which is likely not the case.
    • Also, Simon gave Kate morphine as part of a "threshold test", which is why her body was found with morphine in it in addition to alcohol. While Simon certainly didn't mean for Kate to end up dead, Kate not having her full faculties is the reason Kate fell into the lake while reaching for her stuff, and also why she wasn't able to swim or climb out of the lake on her own, which gave the true culprit the opportunity to kill her.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Ryan has a pretty loud one in his last contradiction. Paul has a more subdued but still seething Motive Rant. Rebecca's, despite being the true culprit, is fairly tame.
  • Warding Gestures: Used by the students of the Atlas group.
  • We Were Rehearsing a Play: When Jenks stumbles upon Ryan standing next to an Atlas student holding a knife to another student's throat, Ryan claims it's nothing but a test and that no-one is going to get hurt.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: We never find out what happened to Simon, what James used the poppy pods for or if there was something truly fishy and satanic going on in Atlas.
  • White Mask of Doom:
    • The paper mache mask Jenks finds in the back of the pub.
    • The Atlas group uses plastic white masks as part of their training.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Jenks eventually finds out from Emma that she's been cheating on Simon with Ryan, and that Kate was planning to blackmail Ryan with this knowledge. This ends up leading, indirectly, to Kate's death.

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