Tex Murphy is the protagonist of five adventure games released by Access Software during the years from 1989 until 1998.
Tex Murphy is a bumbling private investigator that lives in 2040s, post-World War III San Francisco who romantically dreams of being an early 20th century private investigator. Unlike his role models, Tex more often than not ends up comically solving his cases through slap-stick chains of lucky coincidences rather than intelligent deduction. Tex is a human who lives amongst the destitute of post-WWIII old San Francisco inhabited by mutants shunned by most of society, but make up the majority of Tex’s friends. The games contained plot lines including pharmaceutical control of the populace, class/race based genocide, and UFOs. Although the games’ plots contain dramatic events, they are intentionally better known for the comedic way in which Tex dim-wittingly solves his cases. The atmosphere in the games gives equal nods to early 20 century detective stories as well as futuristic dystopian sci-fi noir like Blade Runner.
Each title in the series boasted advanced technical features for the time of its release including some of the earliest examples of using VGA graphics, photography and video captured images, voice acting using the PC-speaker, and later full-motion, blue-screened video and fully 3-D real-time environments.
The fifth and final game in the Tex Murphy Series, Overseer, was a retelling of the first game, Mean Streets, to romantic interest Chelsee Bando by an older and wiser Tex. Although the bulk of the game is the past retold through flashbacks, the present day (2043 A.D.) events in the game were meant to serve as the opening to a Tex Murphy trilogy of games to be continued in further entries into the series tentatively entitled “Chance” and “Polarity.” Due to both the declining market viability for adventure games as well as the purchase of Access Software by Microsoft in order to continue the Links series of golf games as an Xbox/Windows exclusive, the remaining games in the trilogy were never produced.
Tex Murphy co-creators Chris Jones, who portrayed Tex throughout the entire series, Brent Erickson, and Aaron Conners, who wrote the scripts for the games starting with Under a Killing Moon as well as penning two novels based on the series, intended to conclude the trilogy for fans through a series of internet radio plays and flash-based low-budget 2D adventure games. Neither attempt proved viable leaving the cliff hanger ending of Overseer unlikely to be resolved. The return of the series seems even less likely given that the Salt Lake based studio responsible for the series was sold by Microsoft to Take-Two Interactive in 2004 and finally closed in 2006.