It’s a gray, rainy evening in New York
City. In a deserted office, there’s a knock at the door. Enter Rosangela
(Rosa) Blackwell, a talented medium who sees and converses with the dead.
After finding ghosts who are trapped, restless and often unaware of their
own deaths, Rosa frees them to continue on into the great beyond. This
mission was thrust upon her unexpectedly, and she is still struggling with
I came to The Blackwell Convergence as a Blackwell
newbie. I did not play the first two games: The Blackwell Legacy
and Blackwell Unbound. The Blackwell Legacy was based on a
true story of student suicides at a local university, a topic I found
particularly unappealing. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed The
Blackwell Convergence without any knowledge of the backstory from the
prior games. It’s a good place to start, knowing that you can pick up and
play the previous games if you like the most recent one.
In Old New York
The colorful, cartoon-like graphics have a retro look that evokes
feelings of nostalgia for the early days of adventure gaming. Unlike games
from a couple of decades ago, when pixelation was a consequence of
then-current technology, Convergence’s graphics are purposely low
resolution. I admit that I have fond memories of retro gaming in
fantastical or comical environments. However, contemporary urban
environments and retro graphics seemed a strange combination at first. I
tried running the game in a window, which made the environments soft-edged
and smoother. But the pixelated character models then “stuck out” even
more, and the game window occupied only half the screen. So I played most
of the game using the full screen option, and eventually acclimated to the
game’s graphical style.
Convergence pays homage to New York City, home to
writer/designer, Dave Gilbert. One iconic location in Convergence
is the Roosevelt Island Lighthouse, once associated with the treacherous
waters known as Hell Gate. Roosevelt Island, formerly named Blackwell’s
Island, is a strip of land in the East River between Manhattan and Queens.
In the past it contained multiple institutions, including a hospital, a
prison, and an asylum.* I’m assuming that the Blackwell name is not a
coincidence, that Rosa is descended from the Blackwells for whom the
island was originally named -- and that we’ll be seeing more of this
island in later games.
Right through the Very Heart of It
The game is well written and expertly voiced, and the personalities of
the various New Yorkers in the game ring true. Convergence contains
much dialog, some of which is optional, and you can click through the
dialogs if you wish. Since this game’s strength is its character
portrayals and banter, as well as the nuances of the mystery being
investigated, I recommend listening to all the dialogs rather than
When characters talk, you see a close-up of their faces in a character
portrait. This is true of both the ghostly and the living characters. The
character portraits are important because the low resolution of the
in-game character models makes it difficult to distinguish facial
Especially enjoyable is the character of Joey Mallone, Rosa Blackwell’s
spirit guide. Joey’s been dead for decades but has maintained a hardboiled
noir character reminiscent of fictional detectives. His verbal expressions
and attitudes are an entertaining contrast to those of Rosa -- a modern
female dealing with contemporary reactions and insecurities.
Character movement in this third person, point-and-click game is
surprisingly smooth – though of course the ghosts “float,” not ambulate.
In fact, amusingly, they don’t have any feet. The area below their knees
fades into nothingness.
Ambient sounds add atmosphere – the sound of rain falling, whispering
voices, a mournful wind, and a reverberating echo when Joey listens at
doors. Seductive cool jazz plays in the background.
It’s Up to You
Convergence does an unusually good job of using two characters
with distinct abilities throughout the game; it’s an integral part of
gameplay, not just an occasional novelty. An in-game map facilitates
traveling to each location.
The game contains some simple inventory puzzles and dialog challenges.
There’s also a computer search engine called “Oogle,” which can bring up
intriguing essential and nonessential information. (Try Oogling “Dave
Gilbert,” for instance). A not-too-difficult timed puzzle adds drama near
the game’s end. Rosa carries a notebook with phrases that can be directed
in question form at the various characters. However, important details
didn’t always appear in the notebook, so I couldn’t grill the characters
as much as I would have liked.
Challenges overall are on the easy side, partly because Rosa can ask
Joey what to do next, which eliminates any confusion as to the current
objective. Other characters also offer ideas that can be used as hints.
A Brand New Start of It
Convergence can be replayed with “Commentary” enabled. This is a
novel and welcome feature (though you shouldn’t enable “Commentary” for
the first playthrough because it breaks up the flow of the game). The
second time through, I listened to Dave Gilbert’s explanations as to why
decisions were made for the plot, locations and casting -- these enlivened
the experience considerably.
I encountered only one small glitch – for about thirty minutes of
gameplay, I heard a ticking sound in the background that persisted until I
quit the game. Saving and then resuming from that saved game eliminated
Gameplay in Convergence necessarily revolves around the mystery,
which supplies perplexing and beguiling moments. But it’s the game’s
characters that make a lasting impression. If you like character
interaction and development, you will enjoy this game. The game is a
satisfying length, though it’s closer to an episode than to a full-fledged
adventure game. I am quite curious to see what will happen to Rosa and
Joey in the next Blackwell game.
Top of the List for The Blackwell Convergence
Third person point-and-click mystery adventure with a supernatural
twist. Game Three in the Blackwell series. An involving story – a
mystery with an unusual villain and out-of-this-world characters. It’s not
necessary to play the first two games to enjoy this one, though by
skipping the previous games you will miss some backstory.
Retro graphics based on Manhattan and its surrounds. Lots of clever
dialog, occasional mild vulgarities, very good voiceovers.
Fairly easy dialog puzzles, “Oogle” searches, some inventory puzzles,
one not-too-tricky timed puzzle. No sliders, no sound puzzles, no mazes,
no color-based puzzles. About six hours of gameplay.
No problems with installation. One minor sound glitch. Thankfully,
there are unlimited save slots. Optional tutorial and eye-opening
The Blackwell Convergence is aimed at gamers who enjoy retro
graphics, memorable characters, and a New York sensibility.
Final grade: B
Section headings are from “Theme from New York, New York,” lyrics by
*Information about the Roosevelt Island Lighthouse can be found
The Blackwell Convergence is an Independent Production of Wadjet
Eye Games and can be purchased at the game’s
My Computer Specs:
Windows XP Professional
Pentium 2.80 GHz
2.00 GB RAM
Direct X 9.0c
512 MB NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GTX
SB X-Fi Audio