The Ship is an online multiplayer-focused game developed by Outerlight and published by Valve. It had humble beginnings as a user-created modification using the Half-Life game engine. Its fanbase grew large enough for a new version of it to be made. This time it was professionally developed for the Source engine, first being distributed through Valve's Steam service and later through retail stores.
The mysterious Mr. X has invited you to be a passenger on a luxurious cruise ship in the 1920's. But this is no ordinary cruise. It is revealed to you that you are a pawn in a twisted game of kill or be killed. You are given the name of a passenger and you must dispatch them. But that is not as easy as it sounds because there is someone else on the ship with your name, coming after you!
You do not start off with any type of weapon. Instead you must make use of whatever you can find. Luckily (and unluckily) for you, there are many items that can be used as weapons. A straight razor is no longer used as a means of keeping your keen look, the frying pan is no longer cooking your breakfast and the handgun is no longer just a bulge in your pants. These, and many other things, are now things you use to protect yourself from your would-be killer and for your target.
You are awarded money for killing your quarry which varies depending on how rare the weapon you used is. Although a gun is an easy way to kill your target it may award less money then if you were to use a golf club. The player at the end of the game with the most money is the winner. This mechanic allows players to win through skill and imagination even if they have less kills than others.
The game has another depth, as its not just running around swinging golf clubs and firing blunderbusses. You also have to watch out for security guards and cameras. Get caught by either of those and you'll be thrown in the slammer. But don't worry, the game makes sure to tell the person hunting you that you are in prison, allowing them to wait for you to be released. So, like in real life, it's probably best to not to be seen wielding a katana in the ship's lobby.
During each round players must pay attention to their characters basic needs including: Hunger, Sleep, Hygiene, and Entertainment. Failure to micromanage these needs could cause you to be allow your hunter a larger window of opportunity to attack you when you are unaware.
There is a single-player component to the full version of the game, but it is just the online version of the game. Instead of playing against human opponents, all the other passengers are bots, allowing players to enjoy the game at its purest, without idiotic griefers or trolls ruining the experience.
According to the main website for The Ship a sequel to the original retail game is in the works by the company. In 2010 Outerlight released Bloody Good Time, a spiritual successor to The Ship, in that it uses the same basic gameplay ideas.