The Shivah is a traditional point-and-click adventure game, designed and developed by Dave Gilbert and built using the Adventure Game Studio toolset. It was originally developed as an entry to an AGS competition in June 2006, which it went on to win. A new version of the game was created shortly adding additional content and features such as voice acting and commentary. The final product went on sale in September 2006 as a PC download by the newly formed Wadjet Eye Games. It is currently available to purchase directly from their official website.
Players control Rabbi Russell Stone, the bitter and surly head of a struggling synagogue in the Lower East Side of New York City. His fortunes appear to be turning after he learns he's inherited a large sum of money from an ex-congregation member. Not so fortunate is the fact that the man was murdered and long ago had a falling out with Stone, which raises the suspicions of the police. Determined to clear his name and learn the truth about the gift, Stone begins an investigation of his own by sitting Shiva with the victim's widow. As the mystery unravels a conspiracy is revealed, involving multiple victims, corrupt religious figures and a deeper understanding of Rabbi Stone's past. The game centers itself around Jewish culture and philosophy in a way that feels natural and true to the characters.
Rabbi Stone takes a Rabbinical approach to dialog trees, allowing him to respond to questions with a question. At certain points this ties into the story as he battles wits with other Rabbis with fists and words. Inventory, item use, puzzle solving, conversation, and new locations all play a role, a design heavily inspired by early graphic adventures from LucasArts and Sierra. The score consists of original Hebrew themed music composed for the game and there is a Yiddish dictionary included for additional reference.
The Shivah was featured in Jewish Weekly News and received considerable press and praise from Jewish oriented online publications upon release. The game was also well received by the gaming press, although often cited for having amateur presentation and a short overall length. The game helped creator Dave Gilbert transition from an independent developer to the CEO of his publishing and development studio, Wadjet Eye Games. Wadjet Eye continues to both develop and publish point-and-click adventure games for the PC including The Blackwell Trilogy, Emerald City Confidential and Gemini Rue. They are based in New York.