Every Halloween for nearly 20 years I always come back to Funeral Quest...
A Funeral Parlor simulator with dark humor. You had a certain number of turns per day to meet with clients that came to you to bury their loved ones. Your goal was to accurately read your customers and up-sell your grieving customers by figuring out their budgets and their mood. Some customers reacted well to sympathy. Some customers would spend more if you made them feel guilty. At the end of a sale you get bury points and casket tags. These tags allow you to purchase upgrades.
Customers come into your parlor and you try to up-sell them! The goal is to make the most money you can off of the poor folks coming in. You can see things such as “Class” which gives you a ballpark figure of what their overall budget might actually be. Sometimes a “Rich” person would come in and try to say their budget was lower than what you knew it was. That’s where the “Guilt” and “Sympathy” options come in!
Be warned- some people feel guilt when negotiating on behalf of the deceased and some are truly sad. Using sympathy on people that want your sympathy will placate them and they may be more willing to increase their soft budget. After-all it’s what your grandmother would want.
But! If you try to guilt someone that is truly sad, their mood will sour fast! But be careful! Once a customer’s mood reaches “pissed” they’ll leave and you’ll make no money at all! Afterall- in the town of Deathville there’s always another Funeral Parlor…
The town of Deathville is full of colorful locations!
You could go to University to learn how to be better salesperson!
The University allowed you to be able to see if somebody needed to be guilted or if they needed your sympathy.
It also allowed you to increase your health points!
The bank helps you exchange your casket tags. You can have wood, silver or gold casket tags.
The store allows you to buy all sorts of goodies for your parlor! You can buy padlocks and fire alarms to keep you safe. You can also get lockpicks!
Most importantly you can upgrade your hearse! By upgrading your hearse you can increase your daily turn count!
You can go to Yang's and get fortune cookies to increase your own luck stat or to decrease the luck stat of an opponent!
By far the coolest thing about FQ besides the gameplay was the addition of a chatroom.
The Cafe allows you to chat with others that are in the same server as you. You can also 'watch' TV and see if others buy anything, get a good sale or go to the hospital
If you yell loud enough at the cafe people can even hear you in their own parlors!
Yup! If you weren’t already sold on the gameplay loop of up-selling caskets and funeral service add-ons such as a “Crypt with Lower Bunk” or “Paid Mourners”, then this game was also multiplayer! Yes Multiplayer!
Funeral Quest uses an HTTP server à la BBS. BBS stands for Bulletin Board System. In Funeral Quest you could go to the local bar in town and chat with people in the server!
Anybody could host a server on their own Windows PC just by running an executable file. It was extremely user friendly- something that has made it difficult today to host.
You could actually visit other people's parlors and attempt to rob or attack them.
This lead to interesting counter-play. Do you attempt to go for the highest ranking person in the lobby even though they probably have a padlock, fire alarm or weapons? Or do you go for the easy pickings- the person that logged on the first day and they never got back on?
Call me sentimental- but there's just something so good about this hidden gem of a game from the early oughties.
There’s the cheesy graphics, the subtle flash animations and the amazing music and sound effects that just makes this the total package. The dark humor, the staggering good meta progression and gameplay loop really makes this game a classic- even if nobody’s ever heard of it.If you’re sold and can’t wait to *dig in* to FQ yourself- I’ve got bad news for you.
Funeral Quest was released in 2001. This 20 year old game has finally been- rather ironically- laid to rest.
For the last 20 years I’ve visited it from time-to-time, spun up an instance on my own computer and played a few rounds by myself.
This Halloween (2021) I wasn’t able to run it anymore. I went to see if anybody else was hosting it and all of their servers are down. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t play my beloved Funeral Quest. It’s odd how games like this stick with you.
Nothing really. Seth Robinson- the creator of the game details the postmortem at this link.
Because of the game’s massive dependence on Flash, it seems modern browsers cannot play it. Even my own instance at home won’t run because the server runs over HTTP. I wanted to try to run my own server for posterity- but alas, I need a dedicated windows machine, and even if I wanted to run it, it wouldn’t be able to run over HTTPS.
In Seth Robinson’s own words: “It uses the unholy combination of an MFC based C++ server and a Flash based client for the players.”
The game is completely free and open-source. I’ve thought many times about creating my own spiritual successor to the game, but there’s just something about Funeral Quest that can’t be imitated.
I give this game 5/5 golden caskets.
This always looks like Jesus holding a thumb and not his actual thumb.