CSI 2003

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Hello and welcome! My name is Katosepe and I’ll be your host for today’s Video Game of the Day.

Most people by now are familiar with the hit crime show, CSI. Not only was it a lot of fun with great characters but it literally changed the way our trial system often plays out. There’s even a commonly taught phenomenon in the legal system known as the CSI effect, named after the show. With such a hit show, it’s only common sense to start making some video games with the license. Today, let’s talk about the first game in this series. Today’s game is CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, developed by 369 Interactive and released on PC in 2003.

While there were games based on the many spin-offs, and CSI: Miami had been going for a year by this point, CSI 2003 focused solely on the main cast of characters in Las Vegas. Favorite characters like Gil Grissom, Catherine Willows, and Nick Stokes are all here as your coworkers during your cases. Each of the game’s five cases pairs you up with one of the cast members and along the way, you’ll interact with other series mainstays like Greg Sanders and Jim Brass as well.

CSI 2003 has five main cases for players to solve throughout the game with the first acting as a sort of tutorial and the last tying the story all together. This is the formula that nearly all CSI games to come would follow. To solve cases, players must gather evidence like they do on the show. A particular emphasis is placed on forensic evidence: blood samples, hair samples, rifling marks, that sort of thing. Just like the show though, these forensic specialists also moonlight as interrogation specialists and work through all the angles to solve the crime.

Unlike many licensed TV-show tie-ins, CSI 2003 stood out for actually having the whole main cast voice the characters in the game. Any character you’re familiar with from the show is voiced by their real-life actor. Motion capture wasn’t big in games yet though so some of the characters do look a bit off.

CSI 2003 received moderate reviews on PC and negative reviews when it was later ported to the Xbox. The storyline was fine and many critics agreed that it would be fun for fans of the show but there was a bit too much hand-holding to appeal to hardcore detectives not already invested in the characters. Despite the critic reviews, the game sold remarkably well, reaching #3 in the best selling PC games of the week of its release. The CSI game franchise would go on to receive 11 more games with the final one coming out in 2014.

Thank you so much for listening and thank you to Geoff for requesting today’s episode. I was a big fan of the CSI TV show back in the mid-2000’s so it was fun to revisit this series. I hope you liked the nostalgia trip as well! If you did, it would be fantastic if you could leave a review for the show on Amazon. It helps spread the word about our show and bring in more listeners. With more listeners, I can start doing things like giveaways, Twitch streams, and more. As always, don’t forget to check back here tomorrow for another Video Game of the Day!

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Devin "Katosepe" Sloane is a long time gamer and host of the show Video Game of the Day. He firmly believes Darklands is the pinnacle of gaming achievement and this is a hill he will die upon. Where his nickname came from is a secret to everybody.