Saturday, 11 August 2012

Game 23: Zak McKracken - Compulsive Hoarding

Zak McKracken Journal Entry 1: “I really hate my boss! Being a writer for a newspaper had always been a dream of mine, but now I find myself being ordered to track down two-headed squirrels in Seattle rather than writing anything of real social value. If only my life was as interesting as the dream I had last night! It was too weird to even describe, but strangely I saw a girl on TV today that I swear was in it! I can only assume that I’d seen that advertisement before and didn’t have some sort of premonition. Anyway, for some reason I decided to collect a whole heap of stuff today to take with me and possibly overspent at Lou’s Loans. Oh well, I’ve always wanted a guitar and a wet suit, and I had the cash. I’m off to hunt down that damn squirrel!”

I'm unlikely to have a job at this rate!

I haven’t progressed far enough into Zak McKracken to make any sort of fair judgement, but my first session was one filled with enjoyment and a fair amount of uncertainty. I don’t know what the rules of the game are yet, but I’m starting to get the feeling that this is not going to be any easy journey. I also have to say that Zak’s motivations, and therefore my own, are really very unclear at this point. I’m doing lots of stuff, but with no real purpose! I’m picking up everything I can find, buying crap-loads of things, and even stealing stuff, but with no real purpose at all. I assume as the game progresses that I’ll find puzzles to apply all this stuff to, but most games drop you into a situation where collecting stuff kinda makes sense. I’m not on an alien base, or in a fantasy land, or even in a monster infested mansion...I’m just wandering my hometown, collecting shit.

No...I can't explain it either.

The intro to the game is one the more bizarre you’re likely to come across. It begins with our hero, Zak McKracken, arguing with his boss about the stupid stories he’s being forced to write for The National Inquisitor. Clearly the newspaper is only interested in sensationalised drama, such as UFO sightings, and not the sort of serious, Pulitzer potential news articles that Zak is interested in writing. The boss gives Zak a ticket to Seattle to get a story about a two headed squirrel, and sends him on his way. As soon as that discussion is over, we’re thrown into the dream world of Zak, complete with aliens, cute girls, and giant nose glasses! I guess it’s a bit like a movie, where the audience witnesses a dramatic scene before experiencing a music-accompanied intro, complete with credits, and then finally starting the main character progression from there.

I'm not sure what it is, but I just feel like there's something between us right now.

Once I had control of Zak, I found myself in his bedroom, with no real motivation apart from the ticket to Seattle in my inventory. What did the dream mean? Who was the girl in it? Oh well, it was time to go find out I guess! Having already played through Maniac Mansion, the SCUMM interface was immediately familiar to me, so I set about item hunting as adventure games often demand. I picked up a fish (humorously named Sushi) in a fishbowl, found a “kazoo” in the desk drawer, and a phone bill in the set of drawers next to the bed. The kazoo appears to be a wind instrument that plays a little tune when used, while the phone bill had the rather scary amount of $1138 on it!

After Psycho, the SCUMM interface is orgasmic (no...not really!)

I could see a green item underneath the desk, but trying to picking it up only succeeded in pushing it further out of my reach. I then noticed a part of the wall that looked a bit odd, and putting the cursor over it revealed it was a bit of torn wallpaper. I added that to my inventory too, and then tried playing around with the phone and answering machine. I knew of no numbers to call, and there were no messages recorded, so all that was left to do was try to get that green thing under the desk. I looked at my inventory, and the only item that looked even remotely like it might work was the piece of wallpaper. Using it on the green item worked, with the end result being that I now had a cashcard in my possession! I can only assume the wallpaper was sticky and allowed me to attach it to the card and drag it out.

I finally got a chance to rip into the horrible light blue walls that appear in most eighties adventure games

Deciding there was nothing else worth investigating; I open the door and walked out. Suddenly I was watching a cut-scene of two aliens standing in front of a large machine. The machine had two settings on it, both of which were on, and the aliens made reference to a boss called The King. I knew before playing the game that the plot involved a machine designed to make the human race stupider, but I didn’t expect to see it so early in the game. It immediately brought Maniac Mansion to mind, which also had numerous cut-scenes showing exactly what the bad guys were up to while the heroes made their gradual way through various puzzles. Anyway, it was obvious from the scene that the aliens aren’t all that smart themselves, or at least are just as affected by the machine.

It helps that the machine can only be set to ON or ON.

Once the cut-scene ended, I found myself in a lounge room, which contained a large TV that would no doubt have appeared futuristic when the game was made. I was pretty keen to see what was happening in the Olympics, so I tried turning it on. Sadly, there were no controls on it, but the infrared receiver suggested a remote control must be around somewhere. Where would I find a remote control? Under the lounge cushion of course! I picked it up and tried turning on the TV again, but it still didn’t work. The second cushion was rather oddly placed next to the TV, so I picked it up and replaced it, revealing that the TV plug wasn’t attached to the wall. Being in IT, I immediately had a hunch that plugging the TV in might then allow me to turn it on using the remote.  Unsurprisingly I was correct (years of experience I guess)!

There wasn't a lot of thought put into the positioning of the TV and the lounge

A news reporter spoke about a couple of co-eds that had travelled all the way to Mars, but before she crossed to one of the girls, an advertisement came on for The Society for Ancient Wisdom. The girl on screen, named Annie Larris, was the very same girl that appeared in my dream! She spoke about how important understanding the past is, and requested any artefacts be left in the drop slot on 14th Avenue. The reporter then crossed to Melissa China, one of the girls that had made the journey to Mars. Melissa spoke about dreams in which her and her friend had been given instructions on how to turn their van into a spaceship, which they then flew to Mars to await further instructions.

I wouldn't mind depositing my artifact in her drop slot! (sorry)

The TV soon went into a constant loop, but only after the reporter described the bizarre situation where the Earth’s inhabitants were getting more stupid. The cause of the epidemic appears to be a 60-cycle hum that’s coming through every telephone line on the planet. So things were really moving very quickly in Zak McKracken. I was yet to thoroughly explore the second room of my own house, and the plot was well on the way to being set up and I had no less than seven items in my inventory. I already had stacks of questions, but the only way I was going to get answers was to continue my exploration. The lounge room was connected to the kitchen, so I left the TV behind and went to see what was waiting for me there.

The only strange thing about that is that you actually did it!

The first thing I noticed in the kitchen was the butter knife hanging on the wall. I added it to my inventory, and then checked out the fridge, where I found an egg. In the cupboard beneath the sink I discovered a yellow crayon and also found I could interact with the pipe there. When I tried to open it, the game told me that I would need some tools for that. There was a button just above the sink that appeared to turn on some sort of processor, but the only thing I had in my possession that I was able to process was Sushi the fish, and that just seemed a bit...well...wrong. I restored and hoped the sink’s use would become obvious later. I didn’t appear to be able to use the stove at all, so I picked up the key hanging next to the door and left the house.

A bachelor with a tidy kitchen. Not likely!

Standing on the street, I decided to see if there was anything in my mailbox. It was locked, so I successfully used the key I’d collected inside to open it. There appeared to be no mail, so all that was left to do was to decide whether to go left or right. I chose Zak’s right, which was my left, and quickly found myself standing in front of a bakery. The door wouldn’t open, so I tried ringing the bell. An aggressive baker came to the window and told me they were closed and out of fresh bread, before disappearing back inside. I noticed that he left the window open, but I didn’t seem to be able to do anything, so I moved on. I wasn’t able to go any further in that direction, so I turned around and went the other.

Did I mention that I'm French, so cliche demands that I be rude and aggressive

On the other side of Zak’s house I found a shop called TPC. The telephone as part of the T suggested this was the telephone company, and given the aliens were using a humming signal through the phone lines to make people stupider, I imagined this place might play a significant role in the game. I entered, and found an odd looking guy behind a counter wearing a cowboy hat. The sign on the counter said “Please pay bills here”, which reminded me that I actually had a bill in my possession that needed paying. I gave it to the representative, who asked me for a cashcard, which I gave him, and payment was made. I had no idea how much cash I actually had on my card, but assumed the game wouldn’t let me pay for the bill if I needed that money elsewhere.

I hate telecommunications companies in real life, so hopefully I get to destroy one in this game

I couldn’t really do anything else, apart from collecting an application from the boxes to the left of the counter. I read the application to find it was for The King Fan Club. I wondered whether that was the same King that the aliens mentioned in the cut-scene, and skimmed through my inventory to see if I had anything to fill it in with. The crayon seemed the most likely choice, so I used it on the application and was told it was now filled in and pre-paid. I remembered the mailbox outside my house, took a mental note to put the application into it next time I went back there, before stepping outside to continue the exploration of my surroundings.

Would you trust this face?

Just to the right of the telephone company I found a bus. Hmmmm...I had a ticket to Seattle, but I didn’t feel ready to leave San Francisco yet (I didn’t actually know where I was before I saw the Golden Gate Bridge behind the bus). I was actually happy when I tried to open the bus door and was told the driver was asleep. Maybe the game wouldn’t let me go anywhere until I’d done everything I needed to? I didn’t yet have any idea whether Zak McKracken would even allow me to reach a dead end, but the fish shredding incident had suggested I probably shouldn’t trust the creators too quickly, even if they did belong to LucasArts.

I thought that was a dummy until I realised it was the driver sleeping with his head down

Walking along the path behind the bus took me to another set of shops, with the first one having a sign saying Lou’s Loans in the window. I went inside to find a wide range of unrelated items on shelves, with what I assumed was Lou behind the counter. I now had a Buy verb in the menu in place of Pick Up, so I set about seeing which objects I could buy. I wasn’t able to select all of the items, so I figured if I could, I should. I bought every single thing in the shop that I could select, and found myself with a guitar, some nose glasses, a hat, a tool kit, a golf club and a wet suit! I was already feeling a bit daunted by the amount of items in my inventory, but now I had no less than seventeen things to go through when trying to solve puzzles.

Nose glasses seem to be a common theme in this game

I was already a little bit concerned about the money I’d paid to the phone company, but now I really wanted to find out just how much money I could put on my cashcard. Surely I didn’t have infinite funds at my disposal! I thought I would try reading the card, just in case the amount on it was somehow visible. It was (which seems hugely dangerous), and despite having bought just about everything in Lou’s shop, I still had $10690 to spend. Happy days! There was something else of note in Lou’s Loans though, which was a large sign saying PLAY LOTTO! I bought a lotto ticket for $10, and was then asked to enter a four digit number. I hadn’t noticed anything in the game that might hint as to what the winning numbers might be, so I guessed 5280, and then left the store.

Zak McKracken returns the favour after Maniac Mansion had a poster in the games room

The next door up the street had a sign on it reading “Society for Ancient Wisdom. Deposit artefacts in slot.” This was the door slot Annie Larris, the girl from my dream, was talking about on TV! I looked through my inventory, but couldn’t find anything in there that might be of value to someone looking for ancient artefacts. I thought I would just try putting some things in there, hoping that the game would reject them. I guess I wanted to see whether I could answer my question about whether or not I was likely to run into dead ends while playing Zak McKracken. I was not able to put the ticket, Sushi, wet suit, cashcard, toolkit, golf club, guitar or lotto ticket into the slot, but I was able to put the kazoo, wallpaper, remote control, knife, crayon, egg, key, application, nose glasses and hat in there. Were those items now gone for good? Obviously I restored so I didn’t have to find out, but my assumed trust in the game was decreasing.

That should read "Deposit very small artiacts in slot."

The last location to visit in San Francisco was Bob E. Pinz’s Hair Salon. The salon had a sign saying “closed permanently”, but the oversized bobby pin hanging outside caught my attention. When I tried to pick it up, I was informed that it was connected with wires. I realised I hadn’t yet opened the tool kit I purchased at Lou’s, so I went about doing that. Inside was a monkey wrench, some duct tape, some rope, and some wire cutters. I used the wire cutters to detach the bobby pin, and somehow added it to my ever-increasing collection of random objects. From what I’d gathered, I’d visited all possible locations in my hometown and picked up everything I could find. It was time to have a think about how some of this stuff might be useful.

I paid a lot for this smile you know!

I think that might be a good place to stop for this post. I’ve progressed a fair bit further than this, and had some success applying some of the items, but this post has gone well over the two thousand word mark already (which is usually my limit and probably yours too). The initial parts of the game have required quite a bit of description, as there’s a lot happening, with numerous items spread around and heaps of things I could try. It took me just under one hour to get through all of the above, which should give you some indication as to how packed the game is so far with stuff to do. I should have enough time tomorrow to play more and perhaps post too.

Session Time: 1 hours 00 minutes
Total Time: 1 hours 00 minutes

Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: I've recently 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!


  1. I've been playing along with this game and have actually finished with the help of a walkthrough for when I got stuck.

    A few things I did differently:

    I got the cashcard using the phone bill instead of wallpaper, so it's likely any thin object can be used to get the card from under the desk.

    Also, I found a way to get out of paying my phone bill. But don't worry, you aren't screwed.

    And as a note, this game came out before Lucasarts decided it was more fun to not allow deaths and dead ends, so it was probably a good idea to restore after shoving everything you own in the slot.

    1. You mean you started playing the same time I did and have finished already! Man, I've got no chance of keeping up with you guys. It took me about three hours to put a post together that covered only one hour of gaming. It's not always like that, but I often spend more time writing than playing. I'm not complaining by the way, just making an observation. :)

      I figured out the way to avoid paying it also, but yeah, I can see a lot of potential for dead ends already. Makes me nervous!

    2. Ah, it's easy to finish quickly when you're willing to cheat.

      Looking at my savegame times, it took me about 7 hours all up, so it's probably more a case of me having more spare time to spend gaming this week than you did.

    3. I really need a new way to know whether readers have really played through a game alongside me. I don't ever want to doubt anyone, and I have no reason to doubt you TBD, but if I'm going to hand out 20 CAPs everytime, someone's going to take advantage of it.

      Anyone got any ideas? My original plan won't work because I can't come up with things people need to find in the game when they play through it so much faster than me. I guess people can email me screenshots, but they're not hard to find online. Hmmm....

    4. My personal opinion is that the best solution is the honour system. Whatever solution we can come up with, if someone really wants to scam CAPS, they'll find a way.

      To avoid flooding the market with CAPs, you could perhaps only give CAPs to people who play properly (without a walkthrough) which will knock me out of the running for starters - I get impatient whenever I'm not making progress. :)

      Then again I may regret saying this when hundreds of poorly-paid Chinese CAP farmers start scamming CAPs, then selling them on ebay - only 99c for 10000 CAPS

    5. At least on some of the obscure games, you'll know when people are playing along.

      I also noticed I spend at least as much time, if not more, writing for my blog vs. playing games. My current game is mostly grinding with small bits of story between, but I can imagine in a story and exploration heavy game (most adventure games) you'll have much more to talk about.

    6. Of maybe send a screenshot of your saves page with your name on it?

      I agree with TBD on the honor too. I doubt a lot of people would scam CAPs just to get on the leaderboard or making you play Doom. Then again, I've seen people cheat for a lot of things on the internet...

    7. I think the six zillion pages of discussion we had about the game last time served as pretty good proof.

  2. Ah, good old Zak. I can see you're already making the game a bit harder for yourself later on. :p (Spoiler: Lbh cnvq gur ovyy vafgrnq bs trggvat vg "cnvq" sbe serr, tbvat gb raq hc univat gb fcraq zber gvzr trggvat zbarl.)

    I didn't remember the telephone bill was for $1138 though, sweet Lucas-shoutout to THX 1138.

    And you hurt Sushi, you monster! :(

    1. Lars-Erik, I wanna read that spoiler so bad!

      Must...not...decipher......but what if I'm heading towards a deadend....surely it can't ruin things too much...oh I probably know it already anyway...just one little teeny weeny hint...NOOOOOOOO....willpower Tricky!!!! ;)

    2. Hey, control yourself. He said a bit harder, not impossible! Live with your mistakes .. i had to ..

    3. It's not that bad Trickster. I decoded and read it for you, and you can recover.

    4. Bah. I was trying to see how long I could torture him with the possibility of something obvious he overlooked that'll come back and dead end him at the very end of the game...:p

      Nah, it was a spoiler when I typed it, but right afterwards somebody else said it openly and Tricky also said he found out how to avoid paying the phone bill, so it doesn't matter anymore.

      And it's not a dead end either.

  3. I haven't yet played it today, but I'm only slightly ahead of this post (in Seattle), but I'm going to have to go back, since I've obviously missed a few things! (didn't fill out the King form, or take the bobby pin...)

    My first attempt I found that slot and started putting stuff in, thinking it would only allow junk. Unfortunately one of the items it accepts is the phone bill, so I hit a dead end there (unless you don't have to pay it?).

    Reminding me that I'm not a huge fan of the SCUMM interface either.

    1. Really? I like the interface. Particularly when compared to everything else out at the time.

    2. With regards to the door slot: Two items that were shoved through would definitely dead end you pretty much immediately. The others.. I'm unsure of simply because I was never foolish enough to put anything besides what you're meant to put into the slot through there. So I can't say whether they can be recovered later or not. :P I'll probably give that a test later today when I can play through at least the beginning again. Yes I beat it already, but I'll own up to using a walk through for one particular area.

    3. Checked after I remembered I had a pretty early save that would give me the time needed. So, yes it's possible to dead end with the drop slot, but also possible to recover from anything but the /immediate/ dead end items.

    4. Well, it's just a preference thing. I quite like using text parser interfaces, and we're not far from King's Quest 5 and it's mouse-based interface. Possibly also due to me playing mainly Sierra games at this point (but Monkey Island 2 is one of my favourite games of all time, so it's not a deal breaker!).

    5. Now that I'm home again, if anyone's interested in the slot deadending here's the specifics: V unir npghnyyl abj sbhaq guerr vgrzf gung jvyy qrnqraq lbh jvgu gur fybg gur svefg gjb lbh trg va Fna Sena, znxvat gurz rnfvyl ybfg va gur fybg bs qbbz! Gur Lryybj Penlba naq gur Erzbgr Pbageby ner obgu erdhverq gb trg gur vgrz gung jvyy npghnyyl bcra gur qbbe jvgu gur fybg. Fb gubfr gjb orvat chg oruvaq gur qbbe jvyy qrnq raq lbh. Gur Yvtugre orvat chg va gur fybg jvyy nyfb qrnqraq lbh nf vg'f nyfb erdhverq gb trg gur vgrz gb trg vafvqr gur qbbe, ubjrire fvapr lbh trg guvf vgrz nsgre yrnivat Fna Sena vg'f yrff yvxryl gb or ybfg orsber cebcreyl hfrq hayrff lbh znxr n fcrpvny gevc whfg gb qb fb. Rirelguvat ryfr pna or erpbirerq bapr gung qbbe vf bcra.

    6. Just when I think I'm done with that slot of doom:
      Ntnva guvf jvyy gnxr n fcrpvny gevc onpx fvapr lbh trg obgu vgrzf nsgre Fna Sena naq cerggl zhpu evtug orsber lbh arrq gb hfr gurz. Obgu gur fdhveery'f arfg naq gur nonaqbarq arfg pna nyfb or fubirq vagb gur fybg naq ner arrqrq gb trg gur vgrz erdhverq gb trg lbh guebhtu gur fybg qbbe. Gubhtu bayl vs obgu ner chg guebhtu orsber hfrq ner lbh shyyl qrnqraqrq, fvapr bayl bar be gur bgure vf arrqrq naq abg obgu.

    7. Vs V'z abg zvfgnxvat, chggvat gur xnmbb va jbhyq qrnq-raq lbh gbb, fvapr lbh pna'g jnxr gur qevire hc naq gnxr gur ohf gb gur nvecbeg jvgubhg vg?

    8. Jnxvat gur ohf qevire npghnyyl unf nygreangvir vgrzf gb hfr. Gurer'f cynlvat gur xnmbb, ohg gurer'f nyfb hfvat na vgrz gb xabpx ba gur ohf. Gur ohggre xavsr, gur tbys pyho, gur jerapu, naq gur jver phggref jvyy nyy jbex sbe guvf naq gur ynggre guerr vgrzf ner nyy gbb ovt gb or chg vagb gur fybg fb lbh pnaabg nppvqragnyyl qb njnl jvgu gurz va gung znaare.

  4. Oh, I forgot to mention, it's fascinating that they chose to use 60Hz as the frequency to make people more stupid. For one, 60Hz was the frequency used as the refresh rate for the old clunky CRT TV's.
    Did they use it to make a subtle statement that too much TV makes you stupider?

    Also, the american continents are almost the only places in the world that use 60Hz for their mains electrical frequency, the rest use 50Hz.

  5. Regarding the rude baker...

    Jura V cynlrq guvf bire 20 lrnef ntb, V erpnyy uvz guebjvat bhg n ybns bs fgnyr oernq sebz gur jvaqbj. Gung zvtug or fbzrguvat lbh arrq yngre ba.

    Oh, and from what you have described and shown already in this one post, one can already figure out how the nose glasses are important in the game. That's all I'll say. :)

    1. Yeah and then again, the french are pictured as rude people! Well, ok, much of the french are rude people anyway ;)

  6. I thought readers who aren't playing along might want to check out the game intro. It gives a feel for the game and it's one of the things I remember vividly from this game.

    Here's the intro:

    You can even remixes the intro music on YouTube.

  7. Yes! I finished the game without a walkthrough! I'm particularly happy with myself because I can't remember the last time I managed that feat on an adventure game! I guess reading your blog made me better at adventuring! I spent a lot of time on it (especially because I was playing at work. I know, it's wrong) and I confess I started around the time you posted the Psycho final rating, so I got a head start. I hope you'll still consider that I've played along with you, but anyhow I'm proud of myself for what I consider my greatest "adventure game achievement" in years!

    I used a LOT of restoring old saves and doing things differently though, so I can't emphasize enough on the need of keeping saves from every now and then in the game.

    I agree that the beginnings are quite confusing, especially with the game throwing huge amounts of items at you very quickly, but things become clearer afterwards.

    Concerning the "getting the cashcard" thing, I did it with the butter knife so I guess the game holds a few puzzles with different solutions.

    And I paid the phone bill too, so I'm pretty curious to know how you can avoid doing that.

    1. Not sure how you managed without a walkthrough! I've already turned to one, because I was sure I was missing an item.

      Not really enjoying the game at the moment, feels like in every location all I'm doing is trying to take every item that's not nailed down, without having any real reason to do that. I don't even know if all the items I have are useful, since I've only used a few of them.


      Pheeragyl fghpx gelvat gb yvtug n sver, nsgre qvttvat zl jnl vagb gur fdhveery ubyr (jub V qvfgenpgrq jvgu zl va-syvtug crnahgf).

      Nsgre ernqvat n jnyxguebhtu, V sbhaq bhg gurer'f n ybg bs guvatf gb qb ba gur cynar, ohg rira jvgu gur jnyxguebhtu V'z svaqvat vg irel uneq gb nppbzcyvfu nalguvat.

    2. I had a hard time at the beginning because you're completely unsure of where to go but after a while it start making sense (at least part of it... the rest is videogame logic ;)

      I've made a lot of steps back in different places because I was missing things, and realizing it too late. That's why I was insisting on saving in a lot of places.

      Spoiler answer : Lbh unir n srj qvssrerag jnlf gb ohvyq gur sver, ohg lbh'er tbvat gb arrq na vgrz sebz gur cynar sbe gung.

      And about the plane : Jung znqr zr tb guebhtu gur cynar vf gur gubhtug bs jung V pbhyq qb gb qvfgenpg gur jnvgerff va rirel jnl cbffvoyr, fghpx gbvyrg cncre va gur fvax be chg fbzrguvat va gur zvpebjnir... naq qba'g sbetrg gb frnepu rirel pbzcnegzrag, jung lbh'er frnepuvat sbe vf nyjnlf va gur ynfg cynpr!

    3. I thought the part I was stuck on was bad... but where I am now is impossible.

      Not sure I have the patience to keep on trying, and my only other option is continuing to use the walkthrough.

      Either way, I'm not sure I have the stomach to finish this one. Will see tomorrow, after I've had some sleep!

    4. Well done, Alfred.

      And I agree with keeping lots of saves.

      I usually go overboard on that front though, and this was no exception - I ended up with 63 savegames.

      Andy, I'm not sure what walkthrough you're using but I find UHS-hints useful and not as spoilery as standard walkthroughs. Not sure if that site's been mentioned on this blog before.

      NOTE: The following uses a made up puzzle example

      On a normal walkthrough the tip for where you're stuck might be "Use the hat on the statue head" but the walkthrough you're reading assumes you've been following it all the way solving puzzles in the "correct" order so you have to read more of it, often spoiling other puzzles.

      UHS hints give you limited hints, hiding each one until you click on it, for example,

      How do I move the statue?
      1. You can't get through this part unless you do everything in France."
      2. Do you have anything that might be of use on the statue?
      3. Did you go to the hat shop in France?
      4. Buy the hat
      5. Where would you put a hat?
      6. Put the hat on the statue head.

      So you could read hint one, then get back into the game and go back to France being more careful to check stuff out. You get direction on what to do, but you still get some satisfaction for solving most of the puzzle yourself.

      As always, some UHS walkthroughs are better written than others. Zak is a really weird one that deliberately throws in fake hints to confuse people who read everything.

    5. Ah yes, I always forget UHS exists, even though it's even featured (sort of) in one of my favourite games (Space Quest IV).

  8. I got to the plane to Seattle, but I did things differently and missed some things you got. I also used the phone bill to get the card. I didn't buy anything at the pawn shop. I put my application in the slot at the artifact place.

    I did, however, look at a link that was posted earlier and read all the possible dead-ends in the game, so I didn't worry much about plowing ahead because I was fairly certain I couldn't dead-end myself at that point.

  9. You know, one thing i love about this game having a play of it again is the 'what is' verb. Makes pixel hunting a lot easier!

    1. Well having played a little more of the game, here's what i have to say:

      The 'what is' is a great function, but why the hell is there no look function? That's like the most basic tool in an adventure game, to understand your surroundings and your inventory. The game seems hampered because of it (unless i'm missing something).

      Oh and here's something that might help you out Trickster...

      Hint: Vg'f sha gb naabl gur serapu!

      Heh, that's actually my first time using Rot13. Go me!

    2. Yeah. I really missed a 'look' function too

      'Read' does the job for some things, but I found myself reading everything just because I wanted a closer look, only to be told there was nothing written on it most of the time.

  10. OK, you avoided killing Sushi with the garbage processor, but you still haven't beaten my challenge! We'll see how it goes...

    1. To round up as far as I've got (and I doubt I'll get much further, but we'll see)

      Navzny 1 vf Fhfuv, jub V'z fgvyy pneelvat nebhaq. Navzny 2 vf gur 2-urnqrq fdhveery, fgvyy nyvir (srq vg nveyvar crnahgf, qhaab ubj ryfr lbh'q trg cnfg vg). Navzny 3 vf gur Lnx? Abg fher jung gb qb jvgu vg (nygubhtu V unira'g gevrq hfvat gur oyhr pelfgny ba vg).

      Ubj znal bguref ner gurer?

    2. I am still not declaring you a winner, Andy! Gur tnzr unf dhvgr n ybg bs navznyf, ohg V qba'g guvax lbh rira pna uheg nyy bs gurz. Jr qb xabj sebz Gevpx'f cbfg ubj bar pbhyq uheg Fhfuv, ohg fur'f qrsvavgryl abg gur bayl bar.

    3. 2-Headed squirrel. Lbh pna pyho gung nobzvangvba bs angher vagb n svar chyc jvgu nal urnil vzcyrzrag, fhpu nf gur zbaxrl jerapu be gur tbys pyho!

    4. @Ilmari

      Got another two:

      Navzny 4: Gur oveq, srq vg oernqpehzof naq cbffrffrq vg. Navzny 5: Gur qbycuva, hfrq gur xnmbb naq cbffrffrq vg. Fheryl ab jnl lbh pbhyq uheg rvgure bs gubfr, rfcrpvnyyl fvapr lbh arrq gurz nyvir naq jryy gb nffvfg lbh!

    5. Cbffrffvat gur lnx vf sha rabhtu : nyy lbhe bcgvbaf ner punatrq gb "purj". Abg fher vs/ubj lbh pna uheg vg gubhtu...

    6. OK, Jarikith got the answer I was looking for (Ol gur jnl, V xvyyrq gur fdhveery nppvqragnyl jvgu gur onthrggr: V gubhtug V jnf srrqvat gur navzny, ohg nccneragyl gur onthrggr jnf fb uneq lbh pbhyq hfr vg nf n pyho), but I think Andy deserves also credit for listing all the animals in the game, so I declare both winners. I'll see at the end of Trick's play session, whether I have got some CAPs I can donate to both.

      Aflred: V'ir urneq n ehzbhe gung vs lbh rng nf n lnx znal gvzrf, lbh svanyyl trg n arj ireo (jung vf gur svany pbafrdhrapr bs rngvat...) Fbzrbar cynlvat gur tnzr evtug abj zvtug jnag gb gnxr n ybbx, vs vg gehyl vf fb.

    7. Whfg gevrq vg hfvat na byq fnir! Vg jbexf. Cresrpgyl hfryrff (rkprcg vs fbzrbar svaqf na hfr sbe gur lnx cvr nf n fbyhgvba sbe n chmmyr, juvpu jbhyq or njrfbzr), n ybiryl rnfgre rtt sbe n ybg bs puvyqera gb svaq :)