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May 18, 2011

Alice is Dead
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 10:40 PM * 120 comments

A little Flash puzzle-game.

The episodes are very brief.

Forget it, Jake. It’s Wonderland.

(ROT-13 hints and spoilers, please.)

Comments on Alice is Dead:
#1 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2011, 11:15 PM:

Well, I'm completely unable to make anything happen at all.

#2 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2011, 11:19 PM:

Lila, you click different places on the screen to pick up objects. You click on the objects you've collected, then click on the screen to make things happen.

Sometimes you have to combine objects.

#3 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2011, 11:21 PM:

Alice can't be dead -- she's only resting.

#4 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2011, 11:22 PM:

Yep, Jim, I got all that but everything I have tried to do with the 5 objects I managed to collect so far has been denied by the game. Will try again tomorrow when I have more functioning brain cells.

#5 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2011, 11:38 PM:

I can't combine objects either.

#6 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2011, 11:39 PM:

Ah! Never mind. Made a key discovery and thereafter quickly solved part 1. Onward to bed, and tomorrow will tackle part 2.

#7 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2011, 11:56 PM:

Oh, there it is. Found my way to a different place, will try again tomorrow.

#8 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 01:19 AM:

Gah. V sbhaq gur 6 uvqqra ahzoref, juvpu fheryl unir fbzrguvat gb qb jvgu gur oevrspnfr ybpxf. Ohg jung?

#9 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 02:09 AM:

Texanne #8:

Gur ahzoref ner gur pbzob gb gur oevrspnfr, va beqre sebz yrsg gb evtug (pyvpx ba rnpu ahzore ba gur pnfr gb punatr gur ahzore). Gur frdhrapr fgnegf ba gur jnyy bs gur pnir jurer lbh sbhaq Nyvpr'f obql.

#10 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 06:21 AM:

Jim: Thanks. I was starting with the wrong one.

#11 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 07:17 AM:

For ROT-13: Bookmark this:

javascript:inText=window.getSelection()+'';if(inText==''){void(inText=prompt('Phrase...',''))};if(!inText)%7BoutText='No%20text%20selected'%7Delse%7BoutText='';for(i=0;i%3CinText.length;i++)%7Bt=inText.charCodeAt(i);if((t%3E64&&t%3C78)%7C%7C(t%3E96&&t%3C110))%7Bt+=13%7Delse%7Bif((t%3E77&&t%3C91)%7C%7C(t%3E109&&t%3C123))%7Bt-=13%7D%7DoutText+=String.fromCharCode(t)%7D%7Dalert(outText)

#12 ::: Tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 08:03 AM:

Or get the Leetkey plugin for Firefox.

#13 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 08:35 AM:

It's nice to hear Henry Hall getting work. This song is on my iPod, along with his "Broken Record" novelty hit from roughly the same time.

#14 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 08:52 AM:

Finished Ep 1. This may be my last moment of glory here. Anyway, on to my appointed rounds.

#15 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 09:13 AM:

I'm inclined to suspect that the conversation tree in Part 2 is, on one level, a fraud: it looks like you get the same responses in the same order whichever option you choose to say.

On the other hand, it contributes to the storytelling even so: the options you choose tell you something about the kind of person you're playing. Polite and well-spoken? Grumpy and insulting? Even if it doesn't affect the course of events, it does colour the story.

#16 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 09:53 AM:

I may have finished Ep 2. Done it twice. Seems finished. I just don't know if it's satisfied with what I did.

#17 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 10:01 AM:

If you're not sure you're done, you probably aren't.

Have you encountered the birdbrain yet?

#18 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 10:35 AM:

me @ #17:

Duh, of course there's an obvious way to tell if the episode's done: the end credits will roll.

(Don't neglect to watch through to the end of the credits. You might miss something important otherwise.)

#19 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 11:06 AM:

Seems like it's over now. Whatever.

#20 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 11:08 AM:

I believe I've gone through the paces. Credits rolled.

#21 ::: Beth Friedman ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 11:33 AM:

I always hate how stupid these things make me feel. I'm bogged down in Chapter 1. I've gone through all the pictures, and collected a bottle, bone, stick, card, and rock. I've tried applying these items to various items like the box (can't open it) and a couple of things hanging on the wall (no response).

Now I'm going around the same six or seven pictures in circles, with nothing new to do.

What am I missing?

#22 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 11:43 AM:

I cannot get the objects in Ep 1 to combine, usefully or otherwise. I feel dumb. Sigh.

#23 ::: Beth Friedman ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 11:54 AM:

Madeleine, I'm so glad I'm not the only one. On both counts.

#24 ::: Ross ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 11:59 AM:

I seem to be stuck in Episode 2.

V gnyxrq gb gur Znq Unggre, naq ur gbyq zr V arrq gb svaq n ahg. V'ir pbyyrpgrq n oryy, n ohggba, n funeq bs tynff, naq n cvrpr bs furrg; naq V pbzovarq gur ynfg gjb gb znxr n qnttre bs fbzr xvaq. Ohg abguvat V unir frrzf gb qb nalguvat hfrshy jvgu nalguvat va zl pryy abj. V'z thrffvat gurer'f fbzrguvat gb qb jvgu gur gbvyrg gung V'z zvffvat, ohg fb sne V pna'g znxr nalguvat unccra jvgu vg.

#25 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 12:10 PM:

Beth: I'm wondering if the fact that I'm on a Mac has any bearing on my complete inability to combine objects. I've got the poem, the rock, the shovel handle, the empty bottle, the rock and the leg bone, but can't get them to do anything. It would be comforting to think that it's machinery and not stupidity that is stalling me.

#26 ::: Ross ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 12:13 PM:

Beth/Madeleine:

Spoiler:

Nffhzvat vg'f abg na vagresnpr vffhr, gel pbzovavat gur ebpx naq gur obar -- vg fubhyq erfhyg va n funecrarq obar.

#27 ::: Beth Friedman ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 12:24 PM:

Madeleine: By "poem," do you mean the sheet of paper that says "Kill the rabbit"? Because that's what I have, plus the other items you mention. Do you have something else? And you're missing one item. (Vg'f n cynlvat pneq.) You have the rock twice in your list, which is why it took me a while to realize that we didn't have complete overlap.

It's not a Mac vs. PC thing -- for me, at least. I'm on a Windows box. (I did encounter those kinds of problems when I tried to pay Fool's Errand on an online Mac emulator. I managed to play through most of the game, but some glitch wouldn't let me into the very final puzzle. Grr.)

#28 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 01:07 PM:

Was it supposed to end jvgu zr qrnq naq fbzrbar ryfr xvyyvat gur Dhrra, or did I just blow it somewhere? Is it that way for everybody?

#29 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 01:07 PM:

Strange that Alice would be dead in her own dream. What a sad child.

#30 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 01:47 PM:

Ross #24:

Spoiler.

Gel syhfuvat gur gbvyrg gura encvqyl ybbxvat va gur gbvyrg objy orsber vg ersvyyf. Lbh fubhyq svaq gur ahg.

#31 ::: Bethe Friedman ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 01:47 PM:

I completed Part 1, with help from the various ROT-13 comments.

Go me.

#32 ::: magdalen ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 02:14 PM:

It's not a Mac problem.

Would you say Ep 2 cannot be completed without turning the sound on ? (I'm not where I can do that right now)

#33 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 02:40 PM:

Episode 2 can be completed without the sound. I suspect Episode 3 could too, but there's a lot of context and ambiance you'd miss.

#34 ::: Beth Friedman ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 03:18 PM:

Can ep 2 be completed if I didn't manage to do whatever I was supposed to do with the nut before the time ran out?

V jnf va Yrjvf'f obql, naq V xvyyrq gur fanxr, ohg gurer jnf fbzrguvat ryfr V jnf cbxvat ng, naq V sbhaq gur fbsg fcbg, ohg pbhyqa'g fgno ng vg orsber gvzr ena bhg.

#35 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 03:24 PM:

I'm not convinced that you can solve one problem (gur bar jvgu gur oveq cvpgher) in Ep #2 without sound (at least, without a lot of trial-and-error).

Beth #34: Purpx gb frr vs gur pryy qbbe vf bcra abj gung lbh'er bhg bs Yrjvf. Vs vg vf, lbh'ir qbar rirelguvat lbh pna

#36 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 03:29 PM:

Jim @35:

Good point. I'd forgotten that one.

#37 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 03:31 PM:

Correction to Jim @35:

Gur qbbe jba'g or bcra. Vg'yy or haybpxrq.

#38 ::: Beth Friedman ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 03:45 PM:

Jim @35: Thanks for the hint about sound. That was what I needed, and I've now finished #2.

#39 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 04:52 PM:

I was in the midst of writing a lengthy rot-13'd post about being stuck in episode 2...when I suddenly had the idea to glcr gur "xrl" sebz gur Unggre'f abgr vzzrqvngryl nsgre glcvat gur haybpx pbzznaq, engure guna glcvat gur haybpx pbzznaq, uvggvat Ragre, gura glcvat gur cnffjbeq. Fhqqrayl, vg'f envavat svfu, naq V'z gur ernfba Nyvpr vf Qrnq!

Off to try episode 3...

#40 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 05:16 PM:

Syd @39: Well, that happened to me even though I didn't do exactly what you did. Much of the game seems predetermined.

I think it was churlish of them to credit somebody with "music" and regard the work of Henry Hall and Al Jolson and others as sound effects not even worthy of listing by name.

#41 ::: magdalen ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 05:40 PM:

Okay, in Ep 3 I cvpxrq hc gjb arj vgrzf naq hfrq bar, but now I'm stuck. Do I need to cvpx hc fbzrguvat orfvqrf craal naq oevpx? I tbg gur pbire bss gur xrlcnq, but I can't figure out what else to do to it.

#42 ::: magdalen ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 05:47 PM:

Oh wait! I see where to try, but I don't see any clues about WHAT to try. ??

#43 ::: Beth Friedman ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 06:10 PM:

Well, I finished #3. And I never did use the qnzarq oryy gung V pneevrq guebhtu cnegf 2 naq 3.

Definitely noir.

#44 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 06:18 PM:

Beth #43: Lbh qvqa'g frr nal fanexf, qvq lbh?

#45 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 07:52 PM:

Kip W @ #28:

That's the way it ended for me, too - and based on the poking around I did afterward, that's the way it ends for everybody.

I don't think any of these episodes have more than one ending.

Worth noting: Whfg orsber gur lbhat ynql va gur whzcfhvg xvyyf gur dhrra, gurer'f n oevrs synfuonpx bs ure va gur ubyr jurer lbh fgnegrq cneg bar, gnxvat bss gur jvt naq qerff fur hfhnyyl jrnef bire gur whzcfhvg naq chggvat gurz ba gur fxryrgba...

#46 ::: Ledasmom ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 08:07 PM:

Okay, does svqqyvat jvgu gur fybg znpuvar actually do anything useful?

#47 ::: Ledasmom ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 08:19 PM:

Ah, nevermind, got it.

#48 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 08:21 PM:

#42 magdalen:

Whfg pyvpx ba gur erq jver gb phg vg.

Ohg gung vfa'g gur bayl jnl gb fbyir gung chmmyr.

#49 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 08:42 PM:

OK, totally stuck on episode 1. Feeling really stupid. Can someone give me a hint?

V'ir tngurerq fvk bowrpgf. V guvax V'ir gevrq nyy gur bowrpgf jvgu nyy gur raivebazrag guvatf. Naq nyy gur bowrpgf jvgu (nyzbfg) nyy gur bgure bowrpgf, naq V unira'g orra noyr gb pbzovar NAL bowrpg jvgu nal bgure bowrpg. Gur abgr jba'g tb va gur obggyr, gur fgvpx jba'g nggnpu gb gur obar, naq ba naq ba. V xrrc pyvpxvat ba bar bowrpg, gura ba nabgure, naq nyy V trg vf gur frpbaq bowrpg.

#50 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 08:43 PM:

OK, NOW I've gotten two of them to combine. Let me try a bit more.

#51 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 09:32 PM:

I generally hate this sort of game, for reasons exemplified by the prior comments on this thread. Happily, these are short enough that I was actually able to finish 1 and 2 before my patience ran out.

#52 ::: Beth Friedman ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2011, 12:16 AM:

Jim #44: Abe obbwhzf, rvgure.

#53 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2011, 02:25 AM:

In the rant I was working on before my bright idea, I mentioned that my laptop lacks working speakers--even trying external speakers gets me nothing but dead silence.

I see that episode 3 includes, so far, n gryrcubar, na nafjrevat znpuvar jvgu 2 zrffntrf ba vg, naq n jubyr ohapu bs cubar ahzoref whfg orttvat gb or pnyyrq.

Am I sunk without speakers? If so, is anyone willing to provide rot13'd synopses of the necessary conversations to the point in the story where gur enoovg unf yvfgrarq gb uvf gjb zrffntrf, pnyyrq Naa naq gur Unggre (vs arrqrq), naq pnyyrq gur inevbhf ahzoref fpenjyrq ba gur onguebbz jnyy bs gur pyho?

#54 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2011, 06:18 AM:

Phew! Finally got through Ep 1 after finding that demned elusive ahzore avar va gur fcvqre'f ynve. I'll try Ep 2 later, but must now go and visit the Mother-In-Law Elect.

#55 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2011, 09:45 AM:

Back. Trying Ep 3, stuck at the club with a mushroom. Also, the tape messages and phone calls are in this episode are basically indecipherable to me. (Hard of hearing, especially with the background music in the club.) If the slot machine is supposed to be more than flavor, I can't see what it's supposed to do. Grr.

#56 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2011, 09:51 AM:

Never mind, I'd missed the number on the mirror (was it there before?).

#57 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2011, 10:16 AM:

OK, got through. Definitely a smaller example of all the reasons I hate this sort of game. Hell, I'm still not sure how I got the second tape, and the plot responses completely failed to recognize (1) when I'd already played two tapes before finding the third, and (2) when I hadn't read a message before I needed the "gift" it was supposed to tell me about.

#58 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2011, 10:24 AM:

David Harmon @57: Nsgre n ohapu bs chyyf, V tbg guerr teranqrf ba gur fybg znpuvar, naq jnf njneqrq n zrqny bs fbzr fbeg. V qba'g xabj vs vg urycrq zr va gur tnzr, be vs vg jnf fbzrguvat gung tnir zr oebjavr cbvagf ng gur fvgr vgfrys (V ertvfgrerq). V gevrq znal zber gvzrf, naq arire tbg guerr bs nalguvat ntnva.

#59 ::: Beth Friedman ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2011, 10:58 AM:

Kip @58:

V abgvprq gung V jnf tvira gur zrqny _orsber_ gur guerr teranqrf npghnyyl nccrnerq ba gur fybg znpuvar, juvpu znqr zr guvax V'q qbar fbzrguvat gb ranoyr gung. Abg fher jung, gubhtu.

V nyfb fcrag sberire ybbxvat sbe n guveq ivqrbgncr, naq gura riraghnyyl qvfpbirerq gung vg jnf va zl fgnfu nyernql. V unir ab vqrn jurer V cvpxrq vg hc.

#60 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2011, 11:33 AM:

David Harmon @ #56:

It wasn't the first time I looked. My read of the situation is that gur zvfgvarff bs gur zveebe (naq guhf gur ivfvovyvgl bs gur ahzore) punatrf jura lbh svqqyr jvgu gur gurezbfgng va gur xvgpura.

Kip W @ #58:

There is a sequence of events you can follow that results in orvat noyr gb unpx gur fybg znpuvar gb znxr vg pbzr hc teranqrf rirel gvzr. V'z abg npghnyyl fher jung trggvat gur teranqrf npuvrirf, gubhtu (V frnepurq gur xvgpura frireny gvzrf gb znxr fher vg qvqa'g zrna gur nccrnenapr bs na npghny teranqr, juvpu zvtug unir orra unaql). Zl thrff jnf gung vg haybpxrq cneg be nyy bs gur frperg ebbz, ohg gung zvtug whfg unir orra gung V qvqa'g trg nebhaq gb frnepuvat gung cebcreyl hagvy nsgre V orng gur znpuvar.

#61 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2011, 12:02 PM:

Beth #59 V unir ab vqrn jurer V cvpxrq vg hc.

Ehyvb tvirf lbh gur guveq gncr vs lbh unir gur svefg gjb jvgu lbh jura lbh gnyx gb uvz.

#62 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2011, 12:26 PM:

Syd #53: Reply to part of your request:

Oruvaq gur bcravat gvgyrf, n pbairefngvba tvivat gur onpxfgbel (Rcf bar naq gjb.)

Ba nafjrevat znpuvar:

Zrffntr bar vf sebz gur Unggre, vasbezvat Enoovg gung "gur Dhrra" vf va gbja, ng gur pyho. Hetrf Enoovg gb ivfvg gur Dhrra naq "tvir uvz n cvrpr bs lbhe zvaq."

Zrffntr gjb vf sebz Naa: "V pybfrq fubc. Rirelguvat unf orra fpehoorq. V'yy erznva qnex hagvy V urne sebz lbh."

Pnyyvat Unggre ba gur cubar, lbh trg uvf nafjrevat znpuvar.

Pnyyvat Naa ba gur cubar, lbh trg n ohfvarff nafjrevat znpuvar bssrevat "pyrnavat" freivprf.

#63 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2011, 12:38 PM:

Syd #53: Part two of your request:

Pnyy ahzore ba zveebe: Znyr ibvpr fnlf "npprff tenagrq"

Pnyy "sbe n tbbq gvzr" ahzore, ryqreyl ibvpr fnlf, "fgbc pnyyvat zr."

#64 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2011, 12:48 PM:

Syd #53 Final part of your request.

Gncr bar: Qbpgbe Enlzbaq Ohee "Grfg fhowrpg haerfcbafvir. Qrprnfrq. Trggvat pybfr gb oernxguebhtu."

Gncr gjb: Qe. Ohee ntnva. "Fhowrpg abg rkcverq. Fhpprff." Yvggyr Tvey: "Qnqql, ybbx! V sbhaq n xvggra!" Ohee: "Ab! Ab!"

Gncr guerr: Nq sbe pyrna juvgr grrgu.

#65 ::: Beth Friedman ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2011, 12:57 PM:

Jim #61: Evtug. Ng gur cbvag jurer Ehyvb tnir zr jung ghearq bhg gb or gur guveq gncr, V gubhtug V bayl unq bar. V sbhaq bar haqre gur gnoyr va gur avtugpyho, ohg V unir ab vqrn jurer be jura V npdhverq gur frpbaq bar.

#66 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2011, 01:06 PM:

Kip W #58: The medals seem to be external to the gameplay. If I've got this right, Using the mirror message lets you trg vagb gur znpuvar naq force a jackpot, and the jackpot in turn unlocks n frperg cnffntrjnl sebz gur onguebbz gb gur frperg yno.

Paul #60: Ahh, that makes sense. I'd wondered why the gurezbfgng was there.

Jim #61: Be vs lbh'ir cynlrq (guhf ybfg) gurz, which is part of what I was complaining about above. Tvira Orgu'f pbzzrag, V fhfcrpg lbh bayl arrq bar sbe Ehyvb gb tvir lbh uvf. It's the *second* tape that I apparently picked up by random clicking, and missed when.

#67 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2011, 01:21 PM:

It sounds like the tapes nera'g nyjnlf va gur fnzr cynprf. Sebz zrzbel, V sbhaq bar gncr arne gur zveebe va gur onguebbz, gur frpbaq va gur qhzcfgre va gur nyyrl, naq gur guveq jnf tvira zr ol gur zhfuebbz qrnyre.

#68 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2011, 01:36 PM:

Paul #67: Ahh, I got the first two in the other order.

#69 ::: Beth Friedman ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2011, 02:32 PM:

Regarding the tapes: V oryvrir (univat qbar n ovg bs fpbhgvat ba gur jro) gung gur svefg gncr vf gur bar va n inevnoyr ybpngvba. Gur frpbaq vf nyjnlf va gur qhzcfgre, naq gur guveq lbh trg sebz Ehyvb. Fb vg'f gur qhzcfgre bar gung V zhfg unir cvpxrq hc jvgubhg abgvpvat, orpnhfr lbh pna'g trg gur guveq sebz Ehyvb jvgubhg univat gur bgure gjb.

#70 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2011, 04:23 PM:

Ep 2 ended with n fubjre bs svfu. Is that right? What would have happened if V unqa'g cerffrq gur ohggba?

#71 ::: Alan Hamilton ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2011, 05:03 PM:

From reading other walkthroughs, there seems to be only one ending to each episode.

#72 ::: JM ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2011, 05:05 PM:

I finished the game (with so much ROT-13 help -- this kind of game always makes me wonder whether I should really have been in all those gifted classes), but I never did figure out how to use either the oryy or the zhfuebbz. Anyone?

#73 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2011, 05:44 PM:

tykewriter @ 70:

Yes, that's right. The alternative is the game not ending.

JM @ 72:

They're red herrings.

In general:

Part one felt like your standard, small puzzle game. A couple of the puzzles were of the variety that I solved more by accident than on purpose, but at least they made sense in retrospect. And if it's a little kooky, it is Wonderland.

Part two felt more like it was trying to be atmospheric, and that less effort was spent on the puzzles. This led to some frustration.

Part three seemed like it was Telling A Story. Now, there's nothing wrong with telling a story in a puzzle game, or basing a puzzle game around a story. I would gladly buy the LucasArts point-and-click adventures that I don't own if they were readily available, for example. In this case, however, the puzzles felt tacked-on, and most were poorly cued. (Examples: Gur qhzcfgre gryyf lbh vg'f sbe qvfcbfvat bs guvatf. Jul jbhyq V ybbx va gurer sbe n gncr, cnegvphyneyl jura vg unfa'g tvira zr nalguvat orsber? Ubj nz V fhccbfrq gb xabj gung cynlvat jvgu gur gurezbfgng vf arprffnel gb bar bs gur chmmyrf? Jul jbhyq V gnyx gb gung thl nsgre gur tnzr unf gbyq zr V'z qbar jvgu uvz?)

In short, part three as it stands would have made a great short video, but it's a truly annoying and inadequate puzzle game.

Then there's the issue of how many different paths there are through a game. Computer games can be quite a good medium for stories with multiple narrative paths (although this has a tendency to choose-your-own-adventure-itis if not done well), but I don't insist on having multiple paths. However, part three felt very much like a case of let me show you my story, quickly fit into a puzzle game framework to match the first two.

#74 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2011, 07:49 PM:

KeithS, JM, #72,73:

Gur zhfuebbz vfa'g ragveryl n erq ureevat. Lbh pna hfr vg nf cneg bs na nygreangr fbyhgvba sbe trggvat cnfg gur obhapref vagb gur pyho.

#75 ::: Ledasmom ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2011, 08:12 PM:

Jnvg, nygreangvir fbyhgvba? Jung jnf gur aba-zhfuebbz fbyhgvba - uvggvat gurz ba gur urnq?

#76 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2011, 09:28 PM:

Ledasmom @ 75: Lrf.

#77 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2011, 10:43 PM:

Keiths #73: Amen to your criticisms! I'll add a few:

1) The whole pixel-hunt thing, admittedly generic to the genre.
2) At least one, and hints indicate two, puzzles in the jailhouse depend on timing, which is not heralded, and the games otherwise don't seem to involve real-time. (That's gur zntvp ahg, naq gur fgbznpu jbez/xrl.)
3) Annoying background music made it very hard for me to make out conversations, especially in Ep3 where they weren't shown in text. (Of course, there they were apparently not necessary for the plot.)
4) In this particular case, the "forcing" was pretty bad, to the point where "if you want to [go on], you'll have to play my game" sounded like an effyou from the developers. (Especially given what happened when you did!)

#78 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 12:46 AM:

You are in a maze of twisty rabbit holes, all alike.

#79 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 01:32 AM:

I can't figure out jurer V tbg gur oevpx, be jung V qvq gung svanyyl zbirq gur gbvyrg. Be ubj gb bcra gur pbzcnegzrag va gur onguebbz gung V'z cerggl fher unf gur gncrf va vg.

I give up.

#80 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 01:39 AM:

Re: James D. Macdonald @ 62-64: Thank you, kind sir! I shall give Ep 3 another try and see if I can get unstuck.

#81 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 02:16 AM:

Xopher @ 79:

Lbh tbg gur oevpx sebz gur fvqrjnyx bhgfvqr gur svfu cynpr.

Lbh bcrarq gur gbvyrg ol gheavat hc gur gurezbfgng (jung uvag jnf gurer gb qb gung ntnva?), pnyyvat gur ahzore ba gur sbttrq onguebbz zveebe, tbvat onpx gb gur fybg znpuvar, frggvat gur bqqf gb 1 va 1, naq hfvat gur fybg znpuvar. Orpnhfr gung'f fb boivbhf.

Gur pbzcnegzrag va gur onguebbz qbrfa'g unir gncrf va vg naq jvyy or bcranoyr yngre.

James D. Macdonald @ 74:

Interesting, there are alternate solutions for some puzzles in the third part (I found one for another puzzle while I was retracing my steps for Xopher). If anything, that just annoys me more because it shows there was some thought into the puzzles, but not nearly enough.

#82 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 06:21 AM:

KeithS @ 81 - do I hfr gur gbvyrg cncre gb pyrna gur zveebe?

#83 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 06:37 AM:

...no I don't.

#84 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 07:28 AM:

Now I've got guerr gncrf, and it's "gvzr gb svaq gur Dhrra", but I've lost the sound.

#85 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 08:04 AM:

KeithS: #81: Gurer jnf ab uvag nobhg gur gurezbfgng. Vg jnf whfg gurer, jvgu gur nffhzcgvba gung lbh'er tbvat gb cbxr ng rirel cbffvoyr gnetrg va ivrj, naq fbzr gung zvtug abg or va ivrj.

#86 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 09:52 AM:

Tried Ep3 on another machine with better resolution so that I could see the ebbz jvgu gur zbavgbe va vg, ohg raqrq hc qrnq.

#87 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 10:16 AM:

The last comment reminds me that one thing I did was to enlarge the picture (by plussing my browser) as much as I could. It seemed to help. I just messed with things, sometimes the same things over and over, and eventually it let me qvr naq or qbar jvgu vg.

#88 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 10:32 AM:

Sometimes the svefg gncr is in gur gbvyrg. Gur Dhrra trgf vg in the end. And I don't mean gur gncr.

#89 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 11:16 AM:

KeithS @ #73, David Harmon @ #85:

V guvax gurer vf n pyhr gb gur gurezbfgng, ohg V bayl erpbtavfrq vg nsgre V'q fbyirq gung ovg ol gur pyvpx-ba-rirelguvat zrgubq naq rira abj V'z abg fher vg ernyyl vf. Gur tenssvgv arkg gb gur zveebe fnlf fbzrguvat nybat gur yvarf bs "V'z urer, ohg lbh pna'g frr zr"; guvf vf creuncf vagraqrq gb uvag ng n zrffntr jevggra ba gur zveebe naq fgneg lbh guvaxvat nobhg jnlf gb znxr vg ivfvoyr.

#90 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 01:02 PM:

Well, I have found and "watched" (soundlessly--thanks again, James D. Macdonald!) gjb bs gur guerr gncrf. Ohg V pna'g frrz gb svaq gur guveq gncr, naq rirelguvat V qb--pyvpxvat ba nyy cbffvoyr gnetrgf, erivfvgvat cerivbhf nernf, rgp.--nccrnef gb unir ab rssrpg...

#91 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 01:04 PM:

Syd: #90

Lbh'ir tbg gjb bs gur gncrf? Tb gnyx gb gur zhfuebbz qrnyre.

#92 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 01:12 PM:

Ep 3: About the mirror: V qvq cynl jvgu gur gurezbfgng, ohg V qba'g erzrzore abgvpvat, zhpu yrff pnyyvat, n ahzore ba gur zveebe. V cynlrq gur fybg znpuvar sbe gur urpx bs vg, naq jba nsgre n srj gevrf; fb V thrff V whfg tbg yhpxl. V gnxr vg gur fybg znpuvar haybpxf gur frperg yno? Orpnhfr fhqqrayl gurer vg jnf.

In the secret lab: the room to the left was completely black to me. I could see nothing at all. Nyy V tbg jrer gur enoovg'f pbzzragf nobhg n pevzr fprar. Nsgre znal nggrzcgf gb cynl gur gncr onpx va gur enoovg'f uvqrbhg, V raqrq hc cynlvat gur gncrf ol cher yhpx. "V pna'g frr nalguvat urer; yrg'f gel cbxvat gncrf ng vg."

That seems like poor game design to me.

#93 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 01:23 PM:

I liked the Ep. 1 the best, and found my pleasure diminishing as the story got farther away from Wonderland. I think a noir Wonderland would be a wonderful thing, but I don't think this was the best possible version for my taste. I also only made it through Ep. 3 by the good graces of the various walkthroughs I found by googling. I solved Ep. 1 mostly on my own, but Ep. 3 was, IMO, badly designed and extremely frustrating.

Having said all that...I feel like I'm complaining about the free brownies having too many nuts in. This game gave me more pleasure than pain, free and for nothing, and I feel bad about carping because it wasn't perfect.

#94 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 06:33 PM:

Cally @92: Gur ebbz tenqhnyyl tbg yvtugre sbe zr, nf vs zl rlrf jrer trggvat hfrq gb gur qnex be fbzrguvat. V qba'g guvax vg'f sebz nalguvat V qvq.

#95 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 08:01 PM:

James D. Macdonald @ 91: actually, I did that already. V sbhaq gur svefg gncr--"Yno 004" nf V erpnyy--ba n gnoyr va gur pyho'f znva ebbz, gura jrag gb gur zhfuebbz qrnyre whfg sbe tvttyrf naq erprvirq nabgure gncr; guvaxvat onpx vgf ynory, vg jnl jryy unir orra gur "pyrna grrgu" bar lbh zragvbarq. Juvpu zrnaf V nccrne gb unir zvffrq gur frpbaq gncr nygbtrgure...V jbaqre vs V'yy unir gb fgneg bire ntnva gb svaq vg?

#96 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 09:28 PM:

#95: Syd

Gura ybbx va gur Qhzcfgre.

#97 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 10:13 PM:

That's IT? ***COMPLETE ending spoiler for ep 3*** Nsgre nyy gung, naq svaqvat gur tha, naq gur grkgf sebz gur haxabja crefba (jub, vg vf vzcyvrq--ng yrnfg, gung'f gur vzcerffvba V trg onfrq ba univat ernq gur enoovg'f wbheany--vf Ohee'f qnhtugre), gur ryringbe bayl fgnegf jbexvat fb V pna trg qevyyrq orgjrra gur rlrf ol fbzrobql va pybja znxrhc?

Be vf gurer na nygreangr raqvat? V zrna, V chfurq gur qbja ohggba ba gur ryringbe--fubhyq V unir cerffrq gur hc ohggba vafgrnq?

Seems like a let-down to me.

#98 ::: Rymenhild ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 10:40 PM:

Syd @97: (with final spoilers)

Jngpu gur perqvgf.

#99 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 11:20 PM:

Oh, so you have to abg or fb naablrq ol orvat fubg, nsgre nyy gung jbex naq jvgu ab punapr gb qb nalguvat, gung lbh qba'g whfg fnl "shpx lbh, V'z abg jngpuvat gur qnza perqvgf sbe lbhe fghcvq shpxvat tnzr"?

OK, I'll go back one more time. Guvf orggre or shpxvat tbbq.

#100 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 11:35 PM:

No, still annoying.

#101 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 05:58 AM:

Thank you, Jim, for three days of cat-vacuuming frustration. I really enjoyed it, but couldn't have got through to the end without everybody's help.
I can't properly comment on the game itself, not being an habitual game-player, so I don't know if the mis- (and non-) directions are typical or reprehensible.
I loved the night-club singer's song - it still haunts me. And the club itself - authentically seedy - reminiscent of 70s gay bars.

#102 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 01:42 PM:

tykewriter is right. Loved the club and especially the singer.

I just hate it when there's literally no way to win. Univat fbzrbar ryfr xvyy gur onq thl nsgre LBHE punenpgre vf qrnq qbrf abg, VZB, pbhag nf jvaavat.

#103 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 02:46 PM:

Sigh. Now I'm stuck in Ep. 2. V'ir tbggra bhg bs gur wnvy (jryy, fb unf gur Znq Unggre) naq V'ir bcrarq gur fnsr, ohg nf sne nf nalguvat ryfr unccravat, V nz ntnva srryvat ernyyl qhzo. Naq vs gurer'f n ohggba gb or sbhaq, vg vf abg ivfvoyr gb zr.

Perhaps I should go do something useful. Make the bed, sweep the yard, shoot the dog.

#104 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 02:55 PM:

Madeleine Robins @103:

Svaq gur cvpgher bs gur zna jvgu n oveq'f urnq, naq yvfgra gb gur qrfpevcgvba. Punatr qrgnvyf bs gur cvpgher nf fhttrfgrq.

#105 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 04:02 PM:

103-4: I got to that screen, then succeeded by clicking at random on things that looked clickable.

#106 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 06:04 PM:

Abi: Ah. Sound. Got it. I just kept amusing myself by changing things bootlessly.

#107 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2011, 01:35 PM:

Maybe I should find a better use of my time? Other than gur craal, gur oevpx, naq gur oryy, vf gurer fbzrguvat V arrq gb qrny jvgu gur vagrepbz va Rc 3 bapr V'ir tbg gur pbire bss? V unir pyvpxrq bire rirel fdhner vapu bs gur qnzarq fperraf.

#108 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2011, 02:51 PM:

Madeleine Robins @ 107:

Gurer'f n erq jver va gur hccre evtug bs gur bcrarq nern bs gur ryrpgebavp qbbe ybpx.

#109 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2011, 07:42 PM:

Wait, that's it? Gur enoovg tbrf hc va gur ryringbe naq trgf fubg? In terms of storytelling, if I finished a story like that I'd be rid outta town on a rail. It's just short of "and then I woke up and it was all a dream."

#110 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2011, 08:10 PM:

Madeleine, after that you keep watching until there is no more. Like after a movie. (I'm not saying it's rewarding, but there is more.)

#111 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2011, 11:09 PM:

Mad #109:

Erzrzore jub gur znva punenpgre vf. Vg'f Nyvpr, NXN Znel Naa, jub'f tbar qnex. Naq ure zvffvba (jr xabj guvf sebz rcvfbqr bar) vf "Xvyy gur Juvgr Enoovg." Jngpu gur jubyr ivqrb va gur pybfvat fprar. Vapyhqvat jung pbzrf nsgre gur perqvgf ebyy.

Nyvpr vfa'g ernyyl qrnq.

#112 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2011, 02:12 AM:

Jim: I watched it all, and yeah, I got all that. It's just...there's a beat missing. It sits weird.

#113 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2011, 09:16 AM:

Madeleine: Agreed. Feels makeshift.

#114 ::: SarahS ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2011, 02:50 PM:

At the end of Episode 1, the word briefcase is spelled wrong. Ouch!

#115 ::: Mark J. Reed ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2011, 11:01 PM:

A bit late to the party, but I can't seem to get ep 2 to start. I completed ep 1 fine, but on ep 2 I can't get the game to play. The cursor is the same little white dot that it was in-game for ep 1, but clicking all over doesn't do anything, certainly not on the PLAY or MORE GAMES text... =

It could be a player issue on my system (64-bit Ubuntu Linux 11.04, Chrome and Firefox, same results). I also had a lot of trouble getting the grkg gb fubj hc guebhtu gur yraf in ep 1, had to hover for a long time before anything happened...

#116 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2011, 11:54 PM:

Mark, do you have problems with other Flash-based games?

#117 ::: Cassandra ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 07:47 PM:

I very much liked these, but even more I adored the "Gretel and Hansel" series of flash games. (That's "Gretel and Hansel," NOT "Hansel and Gretel.")

#118 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 09:13 PM:

Agreed that this seems "makeshift" I get the feeling that the creators wanted to tell their story -- "scary Wonderland", "everyone dies", "no heroes", and so on, but they had no sense of how to turn it into a game. Aside from the functional issues like pixel-hunting, the few branches are essentially cosmetic, with no progress until you "play my game", and absolutely no control over the ending. It would have made a cool short video, but it barely qualifies as a game.

#119 ::: Cadbury Moose suspects another spamflood ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2011, 04:37 AM:

Post #119 here, and several showing up in the sidebar.

#120 ::: Cadbury Moose with a spam fritter ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2011, 04:39 AM:

This lot. in fact:

Billy Bovell on Open thread 110
Jutta Lipton on The new new TSA regulations
Ethel Sporcic on Alice is Dead
Vilma Luczak on Stop, Drop, and Roll
Chere Keele on The Holy Spirit gets around
Demetria Chitwood on We're not led, we're kept
Maribeth Bremme on Risk assessment
Michele Kellems on What perpetual copyright means to me
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Amie Pizano on Why I won't be doing steampunk this Saturday

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