The BBC History website has launched the first episode in its multi-part adventure game, CDX. Acting as a companion to the current BBC series, Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire, the game's story follows a character who supplies a Roman dagger to the BBC TV production. Bad things happen, including memory loss (required in an adventure game), as you unravel the plot.
Previous games, Death in Sakkara and The Seven Noble Kinsmen are also available; these were also released alongside BBC TV shows, and all of their episodes are online to play.
We're interested in CDX for its production values and episodic bent. In our initial overview of the game, the graphics, sound, and pacing seem strong. We keep thinking of the episodic trend being suited to commercial titles, with Sin, Half-Life, Bone, and others coming out; but episodic gaming seems even more suited to Flash, where you can play without any software installation.
We also like to watch the intersection of marketing and gaming as the two sides mix more frequently. CDX has some puzzles that can best be solved if you've watched Ancient Rome, so the TV tie-in is obvious. There's a balance to strike between overt questions about the show versus questions that can also be solved by other means; CDX seems to satisfy that area, although it only took a minute for us to find a blatant ad to watch Ancient Rome. Still, when the gameplay is compelling, we'll put up with a lot.
When do you tolerate game tie-ins to other products or unrelated products being advertised in games? Is your patience different for free games?
See also: Should the BBC be doing games?
[Via Jay is Games]