Sawbuck Gamer

Why Am I Dead?

Death Becomes You

Why Am I Dead? is like Clue, except you’re Mr. Boddy.

By Emily Gordon • December 6, 2012

Sawbuck Gamer is our daily review of a free or cheap ($10 or less) game.

It’s a dark and stormy night at a hotel, and murder is afoot. Specifically, yours. In a world where most browser games are brightly colored, flashy puzzle games, Why Am I Dead? is like the old, spooky caretaker who will tell you scary stories if you follow him around long enough. In this retro-looking mystery game—I felt like I was in elementary school again, playing games on the school computer during recess—you move your ghostly figure around a hotel, possessing guests to make them talk to each other about the murder. It’s the only way to get clues and find suspects. The guests have fairly complex relationships, so it’s often necessary to switch bodies and talk to people multiple times in order to get more information about the case.

The game is short, and its story reveals itself at a pace slow enough to maintain its intrigue and quick enough to stave off boredom. Though the “possession” mechanic isn’t really anything other than a way to play different characters, it’s a fun idea. (No one in the game is suspicious that a ghost detective is possessing people.) One hint: whatever you do, don’t bother trying to pick anything up. There was a piece of paper in the lobby that screamed CLUE!, but alas, it couldn’t be grasped by my possessed hands. Once I’d found my first plot twist, I patted myself on the back for my detective skills and dug in—no one was getting out until I figured out the who, the why, and the how of my own little browser version of Clue.

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113 Responses to “Death Becomes You”

  1. What charmingly Earthbound-esque graphics!

    (cue people correcting me with “Uh, I think you mean MOTHER 2, stupid!”)

    • PaganPoet says:


    • Girard says:

       Eh, it was actually called Earthbound here, so if some pedant corrected you, they would be the only thing worse than a pedant: a wrong pedant, and you could sit smug in the satisfaction that you were an inherently better human being than them.

    • Sleverin says:

       That was my initial reaction too, “Oh, look it’s Earthbound!”  Now if only they would release MOTHER 3 in America, the bastards.

      • duwease says:

        Just play the fan translation.. it’s swell.

        • Sleverin says:

           Oh I have, I’m a follower of and, I pre-ordered their strategy guide to the game, I have a PK Yomega yo-yo, 2 Ness caps, a few varieties of Franklin Badges….No, I don’t love Earthbound enough.

  2. David Opdyke says:

    I tried to play, but am waaaay too high… will try again.

  3. Deceleration Waltz says:

    I got post-traumatic flashbacks to Yume Nikki when I saw the screenshot for the headline.

  4. Mike Mariano says:

    I like that you start out playing as Dave from the NES version of Maniac Mansion. (“Cricket”)

    And that his dialogue is just as annoying as you’d expect it to be!

  5. Snowdens says:

    So I was pretty sure what I needed to do next in the game, but I became stuck with no new options opening up for me. I eventually even looked up a walkthrough and it confirmed what I was doing was right, but I still can’t seem to progress, even after starting over. Oh well. It was a fun little diversion for a bit.