A series of point and click adventure games, with a supernaturally themed mystery narrative about Rosangela Blackwell and her family legacy; Mediumship (the ability to communicate with the dead) and a ghost named Joey Mallone, who is her spirit guide in dealing with ghosts to “move on”.
The series has been made using Adventure Game Studio by Chris Jones, a free software development tool for creating adventure games, reminiscent of Sierra On-Line and LucasArts point and click adventure games.
The origins of the Blackwell series began in 2003, when series creator; David Gilbert, made and released for free, an adventure game called the Bestowers of Eternity – Part One; in the story, a young woman inherits the family ghost after the death of her aunt. In wanting to release a more polished version, Gilbert’s expanded and reimagined Bestowers of Eternity, in what has become The Blackwell Legacy. Gilbert, has said that as the series has gone on, each game has become longer, more complex and detailed as well as darker in tone.
Originally The Blackwell Legacy was a much larger and ambitious game, but due to Gilbert's limited time and resources at the time, he was unable to make it.. Blackwell Unbound which was originally a flashback sequence intended to occur in Blackwell Convergence, but became a separate prequel game on its own.
Rosangela was originally voiced by Sande Chen, but was recast after the 2011 re-release of The Blackwell Legacy with Rebecca Whittaker going to voice Rosangela in future sequels.
The Blackwell Legacy
The introduction to series protagonists Rosangela Blackwell, a freelance writer who reluctantly accepts her family's legacy; mediumship/spirit channeling and with it, a spirit guide named Joey Mallone, a dapper suit wearing wise guy.
A prequel in the Blackwell family timeline, the narrative is a glimpse into the life of Rosangela's aunt Lauren Blackwell, who also inherent the ability to communicate with the dead. Lauren and Joey learn battle the Duchess; a medium gone mad. Lauren fears that one day she will become like the Duchess.
Blackwell Unbound also introduces real world writer Joseph Mitchell who plays an important part in the third game.
The game takes places several months after the first, Rosangela has gotten used to her abilities to some degree, and begins to understand what she is capable of doing. By the end she sets up a Medium detective agency much to Joey's chagrin.
The series uses New York as a backdrop as well as some iconic landmarks - Roosevelt Island Lighthouse, Minnetta Tavern, Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park and others, have been recreated in game. An important influence was the crime and mystery writer Lawrence Block, who uses New York City as the setting.
David Gilbert has said that the Gabriel Knight series influenced the Blackwell series greatly, in the concept of merging real historical events with speculative supernatural conspiracies.
The Blackwell series have included real life people as the subject matter and NPCs - with some creative liberties taken. The New York Times reporter and nonfiction writer, Joseph Mitchell plays a major role in the narrative of Blackwell Unbound and Blackwell Convergence. Gilbert incorporated an actual period in Mitchell's life from 1964, where Mitchell would go to his desk job at The New York Times, but never wrote anything up to his death in 1996. Gilbert created a speculative reason as to why Mitchell stopped writing and was the main story arc of Blackwell Unbound.
Eccentric New Yorker, writer and drunkard Joe Gould also appears in Blackwell Convergence. Joeseph Mitchell was a friend of Gould's had wrote articles at the New Yorker and a book titled; Joe Gould's Secret (1965).
Gilbert also included a number of Bangsian Fantasy sequences into Blackwell Convergence, which tied the storylines between Rosangela and Aunty Lauren. Whilst in a limbo diner, Rosangela meets with the deceased Joeseph Mitchell and Joe Gould, tying together the storylines between Convergence and Unbound.
The game also features some easter eggs involving the wider Wadjet Eye games. In Blackwell Unbound, Lauren can look up David Gilbert and Russell Stone in the phonebook and then ring them up. Rosangela can also use the search engine on her computer to look up people on the interweb.