Funeral Quest is made by the creator of Legend of the Red Dragon and Dink Smallwood and is a suitably wry, fun, new free online multi-user game wherein you assume the role of an undertaker. The action is simple and takes place in the small town of Deathville—so named because people have a knack for keeling over often enough to sustain a multiplicity of funeral homes, enough for you and countless others to step off the Internet and take a shot at managing a funeral home.
Graphically, the game is sparse. Different tableaux allow you to conduct business. You may click on the "wait for customers" button and as if by magic non player characters show up, dead in tow. Two lines of text describe each NPC and their state. They may range from poor to average to rich to super-rich and numb, angry, impatient, dazed. When interacting with customers, you have four options before closing the sale. You may offer them guilt or sympathy (in hopes of making them more open to an up-sell) or employ a soft or hard sell technique. If you piss them off they will go to one of the other hundred-odd funeral parlors in town. The conversation screen is reminiscent of those of Civilization.
Each day you have a limited number of turns in which to conduct business in your parlor and also to explore the town of Deathville.
There is a theological university, a bar, a Chinese eatery, a hospital, a church a supply store and your competitors. Eating Chinese food will augment your luck. The hospital and church seem to only be useful once you become more renowned in the town (there's a lot of competition, much like any decent Internet community). Taking classes at the university ups your skills. The supply store will sell you security items and hearses.
Visiting your competitors gives you the chance to either attempt to abscond with cash or inflict bodily harm. Earlier today I tried to steal from another player and the server crashed. A few hours later the server was back; I tried to steal again and was foiled1; the server did not crash this time.
The game's currency is in caskets: wood, silver and gold. The bank in town will exchange currency for you. The town of Deathville is so thanatocentric that the local shops seem to only accept gold caskets in exchange for goods and services.
The game is worth checking out for the spooky soundtrack alone.
1 The player I attempted to rob was named Ginger. After being caught I found I had enough time to pay one more "visit" to a rival funeral home so I chose to return to the scene of the crime. Except this time I only wanted to rough up Ginger. Even though our hit points were equal I thought I had an upper hand on account of having the upper hand. Once the fracas began, my health depleted faster so I split. At the time I told myself that I chose to go after "Ginger" due to that player getting their name in the in-game newspaper for opening up two new parlors (one under their own name, the other under the handle "Ginger's butt") but now I suspect that I may have had other motivations in targetting this "Ginger". During a subsquent visit to the hospital I was not offered treatment. Maybe my health will magically regnerate on its own.