Saturday, 2 November 2013

Game 37: Loom - Where is the Green Sheep?

Bobbin Threadbare Journal Entry 3: "These other guilds sure are filled with odd people. The Guild of Glassmakers sure are a clever bunch, but they really do seem to over-complicate everything. Then there's the Guild of Shepherds, who I must say have very strange ideas about hospitality. Luckily I'm learning new drafts regularly, and have been able to overcome numerous obstacles that might otherwise have put a stop to my little adventure. I've just now met a nice woman named Fleece, so I really hope she can help put me back on the path that will lead to me fulfilling my destiny...whatever that turns out to be!"


Curiosity killed the...

My second session of Loom was once again a productive one. I did get stuck a couple of times, but not for very long, and neither “solution” turned out to be anything like what I’d expected. More on that soon enough though, let’s go back to the Guild of Glassmakers, where I’d just discovered the diamond cut chalice that I could fill with wine, yet not drink from. Once I was satisfied that I’d tried everything I could with the chalice, I moved onto the little glass bell hanging from the wall at the end of the path I was standing on. To my surprise, ringing it caused me to disappear entirely, only to reappear some way in the distance, presumably next to another hanging bell. A teleportation system!!! I followed the only path available, which led through a doorway, only to reappear in the same room from out of another. It was reminiscent of the jester’s room in Hero’s Quest, but thankfully not as complicated. The two exits leading left and right from the central part of the room took me to new locations, with the first one I tried (the right one) taking me into a room where two men were having a conversation. The doorway leading outside this room was the one I’d originally seen at the base of the tower, but I had no interest in leaving just yet. I wanted to know what the large blue sphere was sitting next to where the two men were chatting. I listened...


These glassmakers sure are lazy. They've built teleportation systems that move them from one side of a room to another.


It's ok Bobbin. There are subtitles anyway.

The guy dressed in blue was clearly a member of the Guild of Glassmakers, but I wasn’t so sure about the one in green. I soon gathered that the guy in green had requested the guild make him the sphere, and now he was there to ask how it was coming along. His name was Bishop Mandible, and he seemed frustrated that the sphere they were making would only “see” four to six hours. He reminded the guild member that they’d agreed the device would be able to see eight, to which the man in blue responded. “Each of the Spheres is unique, Bishop Mandible. It is impossible to predict how deeply this particular Sphere will look.” Bishop Mandible departed in a huff, making demands as he left: “EIGHT hours. See to it, Master Crucible.” Once both men had left the room, I began looking around to see how I might get over to the sphere. There didn’t appear to be a way, but I did discover another hanging bell. I pulled it, this time being teleported to yet another location in Crystalgard. This room had another bell hanging on the other side of it, but it was the two guild members standing on the platform in front of me that drew my attention. They appeared to be making or polishing a scythe that was hanging by ropes from the ceiling. My sudden appearance didn't please them!


Beam me up Scotty! (I'll give you another CAP Draconius if you can figure out this highly challenging reference!)


Oh...um...sorry guys! I...uh...didn't know...um...what are you doing exactly!?

They demanded to know who I was, and when I responded that I’d come by accident, told me it was a restricted area. They rang the bell, and I was teleported back to the room I’d just come from. I hadn’t been given any opportunity to weave any drafts while I was in the room, so I figured there must be something else I needed to do before attempting to go back there. Just then I remembered that I still hadn’t taken the second exit from the room containing the chalice, so I headed back there to do so. This exit led outside, yet at the other end of the city to the one I’d started at. There were some stairs leading to a path that appeared to wind up into a mountain. I took them, and followed the path round and up into a wooded area. There the path turned either left or right of screen, but I decided to go right. Just as I’d hoped it would, it led back to the beach where my makeshift boat had dropped me off. It always feels good to get your bearings while playing adventure games, and this gave me a much better sense of where I was. I hopped back onto the path, and this time made my way to the left of screen.


The builders of Crystalgard were clearly global warming denialists.


It's cool how well the backgrounds of each screen tie the various locations together

All of a sudden the outline of a few men appeared around me, with each of them shimmering into view as a note was heard. I managed to record the threads of a draft, which were C,E,E and G, but before I could look it up in the Book of Patterns, the four men began speaking to me. They demanded to know why I was sneaking into “their realm”. “State your business with the Guild of Shepherds!” When I responded that I was looking for a flock of swans, the shepherds informed me that swans don’t live in woods. Then one of them had an idea. “Say! You don’t suppose this is the wizard Fleece told us about, do you?” The four of them conversed about whether or not I could be a wizard, and then told me I could gain passage into their realm if I could prove that I was. I figured that task would be quite easy, since I had numerous drafts at my disposal by now. However, the only thing I could select on the screen was the shepherds themselves, and very few of my drafts seemed likely to achieve anything. I couldn’t see how Opening, Straw into Gold, Twisting, Night Vision, Emptying or Dyeing could work on the shepherds, so I opened the Book of Patterns to see what this new draft I’d just learnt might be all about. As usual, it didn’t take me long to find what I was looking for!


Over time the School of Witchcraft and Wizardry transformed into the less controversial sounding Guild of Shepherds


No problem! Now, do any of you have something that needs opening? No...what about emptying? Hmmm... dyeing!?"

“Invisibility: When spun upon a person or group, Invisibility frays the focus of their vision, rendering the spellweaver quite difficult to see. The provenance of this draft is uncertain. It seems to have been acquired (under questionable circumstances) from the Guild of Shepherds, whose genius in the art of stealth is probably unrivalled.” So the shepherds had been invisible when I arrived, and must have reversed the draft to reappear. That meant the draft to become invisible would most likely be G,E,E,C rather than C,E,E,G. I tried weaving it, only to be told: “We are the masters of stealth, little wizard. The camouflage trick won’t work on us.” I tried reversing it, but no luck that way either. The shepherds were blocking my path, so there had to be a way out of this situation! I have to admit that I spent about fifteen to twenty minutes weaving every single draft I knew in both directions, and pixel hunting the screen well after I knew there was nothing else there to interact with. I was pretty stumped, yet the knowledge that there are no dead ends in Loom made me persevere. Eventually I figured out that the shepherds were only blocking my path in one direction, and I was simply able to walk away to the right of screen. Facepalm!!!! In hindsight I’m not certain why I immediately assumed I was unable to leave the scene. I guess it was just that the shepherds demanded I convince them that I was a wizard before I could continue, and then appeared to be guarding the way in both directions.


I am?! Why yes, I am!

The shepherds mocked me as I walked away. “Not much of a wizard , eh? Better luck next time!” I was happy to not be stuck, but I wasn’t at all certain what to do next. I believed I’d explored every room I could get to in Crystalgard, but perhaps I’d missed something. When I reached the front entrance I once again discovered that I could select the workers at the top of the tower. Looking at the little image in the bottom right corner of the screen gave me a eureka moment! These were the two workers I’d seen working on the scythe in the room I’d teleported into. I began weaving drafts at them, starting with the invisibility one I’d recently learnt. When I weaved it, the blue sparkles appeared over the tower, meaning I’d achieved something! A message appeared saying “That felt right. I think it worked.” What worked!? I could still see the two workers in the tower, so nothing appeared to be invisible. Would I be invisible if I now entered the tower?! That seemed stupid, but I went back inside and made my way to the bell that would transfer me up there. Just as I’d suspected, I was teleported into the room yet made invisible on arrival. I was happy to be progressing, but I must say I didn’t like this puzzle much. It isn’t very logical, and the developers knew that enough to leave a message basically telling the player that they’d just done the right thing, even though they had no real reason to be doing it in the first place.


Did anyone else find this a bit too contrived?

Anyway, it was time to concentrate on what was going on. The two guys in the room were unaware of my presence, so chatted away as if alone. Man 1: “Did you get a load o’ that Bishop Mandible? Swishin’ ‘round here like he owns the place!” Man 2: “What do the Clerics want with a Sphere of Scrying, anyway? Thought they didn’t believe in the future.” Man 1: “Your guess is good as mine. Crucible thinks they’re up to no good again. He figures if the Clerics are lookin’ for trouble, we’re gonna be ready. That’s why you and me’s up here doin’ major overtime.” Man 2: “Ouch! I see whatcha mean. One look at THIS little baby’ll make them Clerics think twice ‘bout messin’ with US.” So now I knew that this Bishop Mandible was  part of the Guild of Clerics, but that wasn’t all I learnt in this room. After their conversation was complete, a message appeared telling me that “They’re REALLY sharpening that thing”, and a draft was heard (A,A,A,G). I didn’t have enough experience to weave an A thread, so I’d have to “level up” before I’d be able to sharpen anything, but I looked it up regardless. "Scissors, pins and knitting needles are the usual benefactors of this simple draft. In ancient times, however, warriors often submitted their blades to our Guildmembers for treatment. A formal protest by the Blacksmiths resulted in the Whetstone Bridge Treaty of 7550, which specifically prohibits the use of the Sharpening draft on weapons of war."


Well it is pretty impressive. Can you actually wield the thing though?!

Still invisible, I was able to walk straight past the two workers and use the bell on the wall behind them. This teleported me back to the room with the blue sphere, but now I was standing right next to it! Clicking on it gave me a close-up of it, and I witnessed a scene within as you might expect from a crystal ball. It showed me walking amongst the shepherds, then weaving a draft that scared them all away (D,F,F,D). I’d previously seen a draft named Terror in the Book of Shadows, so I went to read all about it. “This draft reweaves the spellweaver’s appearance into a form drawn from the deepest anxieties of the being the threads are spun upon. In effect, it turns you into the thing the recipient fears most. Terror works only on sentient beings, but its potency more than makes up for this limitation. It is approved for limited therapeutic use by the Guild of Psychotherapists.” Excitedly, I left Crystalgard and made my way back to the shepherds. As soon as they surrounded me I weaved the Terror draft, thrilled when Bobbin temporarily transformed into a dragon. This of course scared the shepherds out of the minds, and they left even quicker than they’d arrived. The path ahead was now clear, so I walked to the left of screen into a location I’d not previously visited. There I found a shepherd asleep standing up, while four sheep grazed in the grass. I clicked on the sheep, which caused them to jump over the fence one by one. For each sheep that jumped, a thread was played, forming a new draft (A,F,E,D)! I received a big hint as to what that draft might do when the last of the sheep was over. Blue sparkles covered the shepherd, who then woke up.


Visions and dreams you can see in the cryyysssttal baaaaaaaalll!!!!!!!!!


Run away! Run away!!!


The Khaleesi's displays of strength never failed to inflict fear into the hearts of her enemies


Sheep jumping over a fence creates the sleep draft. Clever indeed!

The shepherd wasn’t thrilled with what I’d just done. “Hey! What’s the big idea? You’ve got my sheep all upset! Now I gotta round ‘em up again.” He forced them to jump back over the fence, which once again produced the draft, putting the shepherd back to sleep. “Sleep: It would be difficult to find a pillow, baby bonnet or sleeping bag that has not been imbued with the soothing properties of this popular draft. The Guild of Nannies requires its use in all household fabrics, and the Anesthesiologists have approved an industrial-strength version as an alternative to chloroform.” I still hadn’t gained the required experience to weave drafts including the A thread, so I was going to have to look through my other drafts to figure out what to do next. As soon as I saw the Dyeing draft, I thought it was a strong candidate. I weaved it on the sheep and they turned green, making them all but impossible to see amongst the surrounding grass. This was great and all, but what could I possibly achieve by turning them green? I clicked on them to make them jump over the fence again, which in turn woke up the farmer again. “Hey! Look at my sheep! LOOK at them! What did you do to them? They look ridiculous! How am I supposed to watch sheep I can barely SEE?” The farmer forced the sheep (still green) to jump back over the fence and went back to sleep. What now?


I know! Cool isn't it!

I unsuccessfully weaved a few more drafts on both the farmer and the sheep, then sat back to ponder what I was really trying to achieve here. The only other time I’d really got stuck was with the shepherds, and then I’d incorrectly assumed that my movement was limited. I suddenly wondered whether I was doing the same thing now! I tried walking to the back of the screen, and watched as Bobbin walked around the fence and across the field in the distance. It hadn’t been at all obvious that I could go that way, and I doubt I’m the only one to spend way too much time playing around with the sheep before trying to simply walk past them. At the end of the field was a little home, which I entered. Inside the cosy little house I found a lamb sitting in some straw in front of a fireplace, but that was seemingly all. When I walked towards the lamb though, the outline of a shepherd appeared through the round window. Once they removed their invisibility, it became clear that it was a woman. I asked to know who she was, and she responded with “I am she who sent for you. I am named Fleece, First Chosen of the Guild of Shepherds. And you are obviously the mighty wizard I hired from the Guild of Mages.” Uh...yes...obviously! I was intrigued to find out where this conversation was going to go, but I’ll save that for the next post. Hopefully I’ll have a bit more time to play and post over the next few of days. I've had a busy work schedule lately.


Not a bad view to wake up to every morning


I am he who didn't receive your message.

Session Time: 0 hours 45 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 00 minutes

Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: I've written a set of rules regarding spoilers and companion assist points. Please read it here before making any comments that could be considered a spoiler in any way. The short of it is that no points will be given for hints or spoilers given in advance of me requiring one. Please...try not to spoil any part of the game for me...unless I really obviously need the help...or I specifically request assistance. In this instance, I've not made any requests for assistance. Thanks!

39 comments:

  1. Here is our Green Sheep, fast asleep.

    Loving the kiddie book references

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    1. He missed the Star Trek reference. Does that mean he -loses- CAPs?

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    2. I didn't miss the Star Trek reference, I posted the Where is the Green Sheep by Mem Fox one (I have little kids too) before I had read the post. Now that I am reading it, I have picked up the incorrect Star Trek reference.
      OK, real nerd time coming. Kirk never once says "Beam me up Scotty." He does say similar things though.
      "Scotty, beam us up." - from The Gamesters of Triskelion and The Savage Curtain
      "Beam me up." - from This Side of Paradise
      "Beam us up, Scotty." -- from the animated series episodes The Lorelei Signal and The Infinite Vulcan.
      So no, I do not believe I should lose CAPs Aperama, and I would appreciate you staying out of my shameless crawl up the leader board 1 CAP at a time. (Blows raspberry, storms off in a huff to wish he was at home and not at work on a Saturday night, all night until 7am,and could watch Doctor Who which is much better that Star Trek.)

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    3. By the way there was also a Harry Potter reference. I AM ON FIRE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Please no one say the obvious put me out joke.

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    4. Oh look, Candlemas and A Song of Ice and Fire too.

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    5. Frankly I find this reference hunting for CAPs silly. I knew that it's a Star Trek reference and even that it was a misquote, but didn't bother rushing to way "First!". Besides, you can easily google it. I'd much rather earn CAPs for sharing actually useful info related to the game.

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    6. The Star Trek reference was an obvious joke, and as for the rush pressure, that's no different from any other riddle, is it? I think picking up references is fun, especially when they're clever and/or well hidden. Then they become basically invisible to those not in the know. I didn't notice the Harry Potter (though I suspect the dragon?) nor the Song of Ice clues and I don't even know what "Candlemas" is...

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    7. My take, in a nutshell: if you're doing it for the CAPs, you're doing it wrong :-)

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    8. It should be obvious that I really enjoy putting references in my posts. A lot of them go by completely unnoticed, which says more about my unusual tastes in things than anything else. I don't generally reward someone picking up a Star Wars or Star Trek reference, as they're way too easy. I only started giving Draconius one CAP for them for humour's sake, but I'm sure that joke will run its course soon enough.

      Candlemass though, and Where is the Green Sheep, deserve to be paid out though. I'm very surprised no-one mentioned the Monty Python reference though. ;)

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    9. Usually anything I can find as a reference has been picked up long, LONG before I'm awake and able to read the post.

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  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Yeah. You might want to delete that post and rot-13 it, as Corey suggested. Probably not much of a spoiler, but can't hurt to be safe

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    2. OK, I deleted it, but don't really consider it to be a spoiler myself. I didn't want Trickster to miss important foreshadowing.

      So, a small thing that you didn't do (now in ROT-13): Ybbx ng gur Fcurer zber guna bar gvzr.

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    3. V jnf tynq V unq zvffrq gur srne qensg ba zl svefg ivrjvat fb V jrag onpx naq erhfrq gur fcurer gb pngpu vg naq gura fnj gur erznvavat vzntrf. Bs pbhefr jura gur qensg pnzr nebhaq ntnva V jnfa'g ernql ntnva fb unq gb jngpu gurz nyy bire n frpbaq gvzr.

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  3. Ooh, I was going to put that in ROT13, Laukku.

    The bells are like Star Trek transporters, hence the reference to Commander Montgomery Scott, aka Scotty. (Hope I remembered the rank correctly, fairly sure he was a Commander at *some* point. :-) )

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    1. I hope your not trying to steal my CAPs as well Corey.

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  4. I completed the Steam version a week ago already (in Expert mode, because I'm a violinist and have musical education, so it's easy for me), and would like to talk about some changes that I didn't like related to these parts:

    Va gur gnyxvr irefvba, lbh trg n pybfrhc bs gur pbairefngvba orgjrra Znaqvoyr naq Pehpvoyr. Ohg vg'f boivbhf gung lbh'er abg fhccbfrq gb frr Znaqvoyr'f snpr lrg, orpnhfr ur'f oruvaq gur jnyy va gur RTN irefvba. Gur svefg gvzr lbh'er fhccbfrq gb frr uvz cebcreyl vf va gur frpbaq Fpelvat Fcurer - ohg rira gura, gur gnyxvr irefvba fghcvqyl unf gb cbvag bhg gb hf jub ur vf. Guvf whfg gnxrf bhg gur nhen bs zlfgrel fheebhaqvat uvz naq yrffraf gur vzcnpg bs zrrgvat uvz va crefba. V nyjnlf ungr vg jura nhgubef nffhzr gur nhqvrapr vf qhzo naq srry gur arrq gb haarprffnevyl rkcynva guvatf.

    Furthermore the dialogue tries to be more entertaining in a way I don't like - the shepherds make a lot more fun of Bobbin and Goodmold speaks in a more comical absent-minded tone, making everyone seem less dignified. The tone of the game is changed.

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    1. Mmmh, that last paragraph I find particularly worrying. It this limited to the Steam version, or does it affect the old VGA as well?

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    2. You mean the FM-Towns version? Don't worry, it's almost completely unchanged. It's the definitive version, if you don't like EGA and don't have or won't emulate a Roland MT-32. The Steam version is pretty much the same as the 1992 talkie CD.

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    3. I don't like it most of the time, but I hate it when they make a flash of a face a crucial plot twist; I'm horrible with faces, so when I see them out of context I don't recognize them.

      Oh, and I love the commentary during Blade Runner; it makes the world feel much more alive.

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  5. The entire Glassmakers section felt weak to me, especially that invisibility puzzle. I find it a flaw in the system that you have to cast your spells on an external object, rather than bobbin himself. Same for the night-vision.

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    1. I agree; both cases felt a little odd, and I lucked upon selecting the workers from the outside. I didn't make the connection that they were the same guys inside.

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    2. I disagree: The description very, very clearly states you cast it on the person you want to be invisible to. "“Invisibility: When spun upon a person or group, Invisibility frays the focus of their vision, rendering the spellweaver quite difficult to see. "

      This is how invisibility works in a lot of fiction, particularly those settings based on psionics. It doesn't make you invisible, just makes other people not notice you. I've seen it a number of times, often enough that I am frustrated by every book having to reexplain it, and you knowing that there is a very, very good chance that a camera is going to be involved as a plot point.

      The only example I can think of is Dr. Who's perception filters, but I've seen it a bunch, just can't think of where right now.

      Anyway, Tickster even quoted that section, I don't see why this is so confusing.

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    3. Same here; I read the description of the weave in the Book and found it very clear as to the usage. I didn't have any trouble with this bit as it's stated so plainly.

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  6. "I began weaving drafts at them, starting with the invisibility one I’d recently learnt. When I weaved it, the blue sparkles appeared over the tower, meaning I’d achieved something! A message appeared saying “That felt right. I think it worked.” What worked!? I could still see the two workers in the tower, so nothing appeared to be invisible. Would I be invisible if I now entered the tower?! That seemed stupid, but I went back inside and made my way to the bell that would transfer me up there. Just as I’d suspected, I was teleported into the room yet made invisible on arrival. I was happy to be progressing, but I must say I didn’t like this puzzle much. It isn’t very logical, and the developers knew that enough to leave a message basically telling the player that they’d just done the right thing, even though they had no real reason to be doing it in the first place."

    “Invisibility: When spun upon a person or group, Invisibility frays the focus of their vision, rendering the spellweaver quite difficult to see."

    I feel compelled to defend the game's logic! The Book of Patterns explains it well enough. You wove the draft on the guards, making you invisible to them specifically, much as the Shepherds where invisible to you specifically until they unwove the draft on you. Which means that until you were actually in the presence of the guards where they would be directly seeing you, there was no reason for you to be shown as invisible.

    I imagine that the Shepherds did a similar thing on Bobbin while he was still off screen from them, thus they are invisible to him when he first arrives in their scene. From their point of view they'd be perfectly visible to themselves and anyone else who wandered along, but once Bobbin was on the screen, poof! Invisible to his point of view.

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    1. Also, one must take into account the fact that Trickster's path through the game is not the only one. One can.. meet the Shepherds first, learn the draft, then go to the city next, see the guards from outside, spin the draft, enter the castle, wander around, meet Goodmold, then visit the Guard's screen. If the game were to show the player invisible the entire time, between weaving the draft on the guards and then visiting their screen it would be more jarring and illogical, because suddenly you'd have to be visible for the talk with Goodmold when he explains the Conundrum and then back to invisible again. Really having the player invisible only on the screen where it's actually needed was the only way to go.

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    2. Yes, you're right Jarikith. The Book of Patterns does explain it if I'd read it closely enough. I don't think I completely understood the way the designers wanted me to play the game until a couple of sessions in. I was always treating Loom's puzzles as I would a typical inventory based game. If you read a bunch of the drafts in the Book, you soon realise they're all designed specifically to get around the choice not to let the player weave drafts on Bobbin himself. Invisibility does not make Bobbin invisible. It makes the person it is weaved on not able to see Bobbin. Night Vision is not weaved on Bobbin to make him see in the dark, it is weaved on the darkness to allow Bobbin to see in it. etc. etc.

      Knowing this makes the puzzle feel less contrived, but I still think it felt a bit wrong (despite it telling me that it felt right ironically). I won't be as harsh on it as I might have been prior to this awakening though. :)

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    3. Drat, should have read all the way to the end before posting.

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  7. A Candlemass reference in a Loom article. That just made my day!

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  8. Those damn sheep...
    I played along on this one, and have to admit that I spent A LOT of time figuring out what to do with the sheep before realising i could just move along. So no, you were not alone.

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    1. There were a few moments where it wasn't clear where you could walk to, which is a bit of a crime for adventure games. I didn't get stuck at that section, but only because I assumed he'd climb/jump over just like the sheep (he actually appears to walk around the fence...) It would have been better if they'd had something in the background (like the village) to point the way, and a gate or something in the fence.

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    2. I do have to wonder to whether these environmental challenges were put there to lengthen what is otherwise a pretty short adventure game (or so I've been led to believe).

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    3. You see challenges when there are none. Yeah, every Player may find different situations difficult and stuck at different stages but from an experienced adventure gamer (you know, it is 37th game on this blog) I wouldn’t expect this particular location design as an obstacle at all. I believe you’re in a minority. I didn’t read the rating post yet but deducting point(s) for a single moment subjective experience which stuck you for a while would be very harsh.

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  9. Ladies and Gentlemen. A Kickstarter for a new sequel to the 7th Guest (1993) and the 11th Hour (1995) is live.

    I'm a fan of those two games so I'm on it.

    Basically they're games that takes place in a haunted house and consists of solving various puzzles. You can buy the two current games on GOG.com.

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    1. The old games are also available on Steam.

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    2. And I've just realised I forgot to include a link...

      http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1559170459/the-7th-guest-3-the-collector

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    3. And in an interesting piece of timing, George Sanger (The Fat Man) who did music for the 7th Guest and the 11th Hour, also did music for Loom!

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  10. We get freakin' CAPS just for scalping out references from the strange mind of the Trickster, eh?

    Well, then...

    AIIIEEEEE!!! - Is actually Loom's tribute to Caveman, the movie starring Ringo Starr.
    RUN AWAY! - Reference to Monty Python's Quest for the Holy Grail; the only rational thing to do when facing a killer bunny.

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    1. "Run Away" was the response to the French knights catapulting the Trojan Rabbit back at the English knights. The rational response to the killer bunny was to throw the Holy Hand Grenade of ANtioch at it.

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