Russell Stone is a Jewish Rabbi at a poor synagogue in New York City. He is a devout man with a problem. Membership is way down and he lacks the funds to keep his synagogue open. Things are looking very bleak, and he has grown progressively more cynical and bitter with the passage of time.
User reviews: Very Positive (368 reviews)
Release Date: Nov 21, 2013

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Buy The Shivah

 

Recommended By Curators

"... it will be an enjoyable and thought provoking experience anchored by a strong and memorable main character."
Read the full review here.

Reviews

“The Shivah fits a compelling moral conscience over a tight decision tree, and compared to [other titles], its rewards are subtler and more satisfying.”
B – Onion AV Club

“It's in games like this that gaming really starts to measure up to conventional literature for emotional and intellectual integrity.”
PC Gamer

“The Shivah's interesting clues system, well-written dialog, logical puzzles and fascinating commentary make it easy to recommend.”
4/5 – Adventure Gamers

About This Game

Russell Stone is a Jewish Rabbi at a poor synagogue in New York City. He is a devout man with a problem. Membership is way down and he lacks the funds to keep his synagogue open. Things are looking very bleak, and he has grown progressively more cynical and bitter with the passage of time.

Just as he is on the verge of packing it all in, he receives some interesting news. A former member of his congregation has died and left the Rabbi a significant amount of money. A blessing? Or the start of something far more sinister? Can Rabbi Stone just accept the money and move on? His conscience says no. Step into his shoes as he travels all over Manhattan in his attempt to uncover the truth.

Features rabbinical conversation methods, a unique method of fighting, an original score, and three different endings!

System Requirements

    Minimum:
    • OS: Win 2000 or higher
    • Processor: Pentium or higher
    • Memory: 64 MB RAM
    • Graphics: 256-colour: 266 Mhz or above
    • Hard Drive: 150 MB available space
    • Sound Card: Supports all DirectX-compatible sound cards
Helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
1.6 hrs on record
Posted: June 20
Dislikes:

--The slow, unskippable monologue you have to sit through every single time the game starts. Or if you die and need to load a save, you have to sit through it AGAIN before you can get to the load menu.

--Final confrontation feels a little too trial and error.

--UI/HUD elements feel a bit rough.

--Extreeemely short.

Likes:

--A rabbi having a crisis of faith is a character type I've never played before, and judaism more generally is a theme I've never played before, so I was very happy playing as a new type of protagonist in a new type of backdrop.

--Two cameos from Rosa Blackwell!!! And a cameo from Sam Durkin!!! Also, the apartment that the Lauders live in is Emil's apartment from Blackwell Epiphany! I LOVE IT!!!

--I like that the game has "moral choices", but that choices are not intended to be a question of whether you (i.e. Rabbi Stone) are good or evil (you're a good guy no matter what), but more a question of faith and principles. You're not just choosing between good/evil or goodcop/badcop. You're choosing between the human response and the faith response. Because you/Stone are depicted as having a crisis of faith and are therefore sitting on the fence in this regard, both choices make perfect sense and seem equally acceptable. It feels less like the game is judging your choice than it often does with the blunt good/evil type scenarios you usually get. And when I say "crisis of faith", it's not that Rabbi Stone is becoming an atheist or anything like that. It's not that kind of crisis of faith. He's just reached a point where he's unhappy with his life and starts to feel that his faith is not getting him anywhere, so he's having trouble putting his faith in god's will instead of his own. So your "moral choices" are a choice between giving a situation to god's will or giving a situation to your own will. I like that this gives the moral decisions a slightly different flavor than usual and it's something I wish would have been even more pronounced. (Although I am not religious myself, I still found this very interesting in character exploration terms.)

--In the final encounter, I was impressed with how many different outcomes that encounter could have depending on the choices you make in that scene and the choices you made in earlier scenes. I was also extremely shocked and saddened with one particular outcome of one particular choice.... daaaaang that was harsh. Fortunately I was able to avoid it on another attempt. Whew.

Final Thoughts:

While it didn't quite blow my mind the way that the Blackwell games did, it was an interesting new character and subject, and looking at moral choices through the lens of a crisis of faith was a kinda refreshing take on a tired old gaming trope.
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
2.2 hrs on record
Posted: May 16
The Shivah is the most Jewish game I've ever played. In what other game can you play as a down-on-his-luck rabbi? This opens room for all kinds of conflicts you can't find anywhere else, and The Shivah takes advantage of its unique angle, even though the story doesn't turn out to be anything spectacular. The game's creator, Dave Gilbert, has a bad habit of writing great down to earth, slice of life stories (as he did as well in the Blackwell series) that culminate in ridiculous situations which are a far cry from the relatable realism we see in the beginning. It was hard for me to take the final climax that seriously and I was disappointed that Rabbi Stone showed little to no character development.

If you enjoyed the Blackwell series, then you probably know what to expect in terms of gameplay from The Shivah. A point-and-click game with occasional bouts of frustrating stretches where you wonder back and forth between locations, trying to figure out what detail you are missing. Your choices in dialogue do cause some small deviations in conversations, and there are several different endings that depend on the choices you make in the last scene (I would save before entering the final location so you can try again if you don't like the ending you get).

Despite its flaws, I would recommend picking this game up on a sale, as the story is engaging for its short length (think around two hours to beat). And I mean, where else can you play as a rabbi?
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199 of 244 people (82%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
2.1 hrs on record
Posted: November 3, 2014
Oy vey, goyim, only a complete momzer would not buy this. Look, it is only $4.99, what a wonderfull deal! Now be a good mensch and get it.
On a serious note, it is a pretty good game, just way too short.
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175 of 225 people (78%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
3.7 hrs on record
Posted: February 24, 2014
Oy Vey, Goyim! Why haven't you donated your shekels towards this game!? You bring shonda to your kind.
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64 of 81 people (79%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
4.7 hrs on record
Posted: January 1, 2014
pretty excellent game for only 5 shekels
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