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Originally owned by James T. Blackwood in 1963, the house is passed to Christopher Milton after Mr. Blackwood is accused of murdering his wife. A couple of days later, Mr. Blackwood dies of a sudden heart attack though some in the town rumor he might have committed suicide. The police decide to close the case seeing there is no further evidence left. Furthermore, shortly after acquiring the house, Christopher Milton inexplicably disappears in 1970 leaving no visible trace.
The player assumes the role of the house's next inhabitant, Michael Arthate, an author seeking seclusion to work on his next book. He moves in only to find that the house still echoes its horrible past quite literally as scratches are heard all around, particularly in the basement and fireplaces, and soon becomes more interested in researching the house's history than his writing.
In the end, it is revealed the scratching noises were being caused by Robin, the deformed son of James and Catherine, who was locked in the basement. Michael flees the house after this discovery, finishes his novel, and becomes a prolific novelist as a result from his encounter.
In the Director's Cut edition of the game, a sidequest called "The Last Visit" continues the narration from where Michael had fled. A reporter is sent immediately before the Blackwood Manor will be destroyed. The place has become a scene of ruin; full of looting, vandalism, and graffiti.
James T. Blackwood: An eccentric gentleman, Mr. Blackwood had always been a prominent figure in Rothbury, his hometown since his childhood, being one of the most successful construction engineers in the region.
Catherine Lydia Blackwood: James Blackwood's enigmatic wife, an English teacher at a local school in Rothbury.
Christopher E. Milton: An intimate friend and long-time doctor to the Blackwood family.
Eva Mariani: Miss Mariani, an Italian immigrant and aspiring professional photographer, was the Blackwood family's maid for several years.
William Bailey: Mr Bailey, a now-retired police chief, was in charge of the investigation of the death of Catherine Blackwood in the early 1960s. He was convinced of Mr Blackwood's guilt, but was never able to convict him.
Michael Arthate: Michael is an up-and-coming writer. Sales of his acclaimed first novel, Vanishing Town (a reference to Dark Fall), left him with enough wealth to acquire an imposing Victorian mansion, a long-time dream of his.
Jerry Carter: An old friend of Michael, and a successful real estate agent.
Barbara Stiles: Michael hired Barbara as his assistant to aid him with fan mail and to contact magazines around the world, offering them his short stories.
Scratches uses a first person perspective to navigate around the house. Using only a mouse, the player can access various rooms and other places in order to solve the mystery of both Blackwood and Milton's disappearances. It features music and special sound effects by Cellar of Rats, which contribute to the fearsome ambience experienced at the mansion, crypt, greenhouse and church.
Scratches was first released in North America on March 8, 2006 through game publisher Got Game Entertainment. However, Nucleosys had plans to release several international versions of the game worldwide.
A German version of the game has been available since March 2006 (published by Rondomedia), as has the Italian version Graffi Mortali (published by Power Up). A Greek version of the game is also available.
The Spanish version of the game (Rasguños) was announced but was never completed.
There were plans to create a Directors Commentary with a few additional features but as a result of Nucleosys shutdown, it will not be released.