Tuesday 18 June 2013

Game 32: Neuromancer - Loaded Bases

Tricky Journal Entry 10: "Man do I love this Sequencer software! It's given me the opportunity to expand my reach and access numerous bases that were inaccessible to me previously. I've picked up a few other cool bits of software on the way (including Comlink 5.0), and uncovered both what I assume is the codeword I needed on Freeside and the location of the Holy Joystick for Nolan the Pong Monk. Who says spending time online is a waste of time!!! I'll be in cyberspace in no time. I can feel it!"

Yet another bit of information that I somehow overlooked earlier on!

I’ll say straight up that this is unlikely to be a very visually appealing post. I spent the majority of the last hour going from one base to another, and while I made a heck of a lot of progress, I’m going to be hard pressed to make this interesting. Let me know how I go! Right, so at the end of my last session I’d just discovered what Sequencer 1.0 was for, so I was pretty keen to start using it on all the bases I didn’t yet have a password for. Before I did that though, once again there was a screenshot that I’d come across while preparing my last post that I needed to follow up on. I actually have no idea how I missed it the first time, and can only assume that I hadn’t yet started my spreadsheet. Matt Shaw had sent a message to Harpo on the Regular Fellows bulletin board saying the following: “Checked on the password for Asano’s second level as you requested. It’s PANCAKE, but it seems to be encoded.” I’d only accessed the first level of Asano Computing, so I loaded a random save game and used the Cryptology skill to decode the password (VENDORS). I tried decoding the Musabori password I’d gotten out of Julius Deane (PLEIADES), but wasn’t able to, even with Cryptology 2.0.

I'd much prefer pancake to vendors!

I made my way back to the Cheap Hotel and accessed the Asano Computing base with my second level password. The only addition gained through my upgraded permission was a second menu item called Manufacturers. Going into it revealed the link codes for all three Japanese manufacturers! I’d already guessed that the Fuji Electric code is FUJI, but I was unlikely to guess that the Hosaka code is HOSAKACORP and the Musabori one MUSABORIND. I added both to my spreadsheet and prepared to systematically access all bases on the list. Before I did that though, the amount of software versions I had on my deck was starting to bother me, particularly as my RAM of 10 limits me to that amount of programs installed simultaneously. I erased Comlink 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0, leaving my Gaijin with only BattleChess 2.0, Scout 1.0, Comlink 4.0 and Sequencer 1.0 installed. I then accessed the Citizens For A Free Matrix base, finding two menu options available with my first level password. 1. Software Library and 2. Statement of Purpose. I’d hoped to find something new to download in the software library, but discovering no less than five different warez available in there came as a surprise!

It sure feels good to clean up my hard drive

The five different bits of software were Blammo 1.0, Toxin 18.0, MegaDeath 4.0, Centurion 5.0 and SnailBait 14.0. I had no idea what any of them might do, but assumed from the names that they would likely only be useful in Cyberspace. It turned out that I was only able to download Blammo 1.0, as my deck was incompatible with the rest, and trying to use it confirmed my belief: “Cyberspace Only”. The Statement of Purpose was a rather lengthy affair, being an essay on how all citizens should have full access to cyberspace and that “only through the free flow of information can the human organism reach his ultimate potential!” It went on to describe how the people behind CFM believe destruction and anarchy are the keys to change, and spoke of the philosophies of Marx. Finally it mentioned that “BLAMMO is particularly effective in accomplishing our revolutionary aims.” I didn’t really get anything useful out of any of it, so I moved onto the first base that I didn’t have a password for: The Eastern Seaboard Fission Authority. I used my Scout 1.0 software to find that there were two access levels to the base, and then used the Sequencer 1.0 software to find that the first level password was LONGISLAND.

A shibboleth!? I had to look that one up! You learn something every day.

The base contained three menu options, being 1. Company News, 2. Software Library and 3. Message. The Company News section spoke about an idiot computer operator at the New Jersey Nuclear Power Station leaving his access code hoping for any response from the Free Sex Union, instead allowing dangerous lines of code to infiltrate the company network and funnel all power into the Chernobyl / Kiev grid. Clearly referencing the Chernobyl tragedy, I doubted this had any relevance to anything else in the game, so moved onto the Software Library. In there I found Comlink 5.0, which I downloaded successfully! Surely this would give me the ability to access all the bases I had codes for. To my surprise, the Message Board section had 12 messages on it, with one of them addressed to me. As usual, I started at the top and made my way through them. Message one, which was from The Chairman to Inspector Boggs, gave me something very exciting indeed! “The moving allowance you requested has been cleared and deposited in Bank Gemeinschaft. Codeword: AGABATUR.” Could this be the codeword I needed to get into the bank on Freeside?! I thought it just might be! Messages two through to seven were related, yet seemed less important. Someone named GrnMtn was concerned that the Hampshire/Seabrook plant might be showing signs of “a runaway reaction”, and The Chairman responded to say that an inspector would be sent to the site.

Oh please be the codeword for the machine on Freeside! Please!!!

This didn’t appease GrnMtn, who sent her kids to their grandmothers in Devil’s Gorge since one of The Chairman’s colleagues lives next door. As good as this plan seemed on paper, other messages between a Mrs. Waxman to an Inspector named Boggs suggested Devil’s Gorge was in an even worse state: “Listen Boggs, my cat glows in the dark and has lost all its fur.” Inspector Boggs promised a supervisor would contact her “as soon as he gets a new rad suit.” Message eight was from Deathangel’s Shadow (who had shown up on the Regular Fellows board) to everyone, and found him boasting about how he’d infiltrated the Eastern Seaboard Fission Authority’s upper section. “Check out the new addition to their software library.” I assumed this was the Comlink 5.0 software I’d just downloaded, so I moved onto Deathangel’s Shadow’s message to me. “Be careful if you cruise near the Citizens for a Free Matrix db. Someone said they’re running a Trojan Horse program, you know, with viruses in it.” I’d just downloaded Blammo 1.0 from the CFM base, and was now concerned that it might infect my deck somehow. Message ten was from Sumdiv Kid, asking Matt Shaw a question I wanted to ask him myself. “You gonna do another rev of BattleChess?” I’m still hoping to get an updated version of the software so I can get some easy cash, but unfortunately there was no response from Matt.

Things haven't really changed all that much have they!

The last two messages on the ESFA message board contained extremely useful information! Message eleven was from Modern Miles to everyone, inviting everyone to access free warez on the Gentleman Loser DB using password LOSER. I’d only used password WILSON so far, so it seemed likely this would give me increased access. Finally, message twelve was from Gabby to Deathangel’s Shadow: “Thanks for the tip about Finn. He does have loads of stuff, he even tried to sell me a joystick. Like what would I do with that?” I knew exactly what that joystick was. The Holy Joystick that Nolan the Pong Monk was looking for! Well, that base was certainly worth visiting, offering up Comlink 5.0, the codeword for Bank Gemeinschaft, the second level password to Gentleman Loser and the location of the Holy Joystick! Speaking of Bank Gemeinschaft, the next thing I did was try to access the bank’s base now that I had Comlink 5.0. I was successful, and my Scout 1.0 software revealed that the base had two levels. Sequencer 1.0 revealed that the first level password is EINTRITT, so I logged in with it to find a menu system with three options. 1. List of Services. 2. Current Rates and 3. Recommended Securities.

How could you hold the Holy Joystick and not feel its power!!!???

The Bank Gemeinschaft list of services included Automatic Funds Transfer (they boast that their AFT program runs 3.7 nanoseconds faster than their competition), Investment Counciling (they claim to be a force to be reckoned with and promise to inform their customers if and when they decide to “rock the boat”), and Fully Automated Bank Transfers (“Need an anonymous deposit in a discreet account at another bank? We do that easier than pouring cash into a paper bag.”). The Current Rates section explained how the bank's fees and interest rates work, with the only interesting info I got from it being that all “securities” are held in their “ultra-secure vaults” and that there is slightly more interest charged for drug transactions. Finally, the third section contained a list of Recommended Securities, including Bell Europa, Musabori, Hitachi Biotech, Maas Biolabs, Fuji Electric, Tessier-Ashpool and Allard Technologies. Overall I didn’t get anything useful out of the bank’s base, yet I imagine the list of securities could come in handy when I get into the vault on Freeside. I still wasn’t able to get into the Bank of Zurich base, even with Comlink 5.0, but I felt like the banks would eventually play a role in increasing my funds to the point where I can finally get a cyberspace compatible deck.

Over 600 years and counting would make you feel like your money is pretty safe. Makes me want to steal it even more!

Scanning my link code list, I decided the next thing I would do is visit the Gentleman Loser base using the LOSER password I’d picked up on the Eastern Seaboard Fission Authority message board. As expected, this password gave me second level access, adding two further options to the menu (2. Sorceror BBS and 3. Software Library). There were seven messages on the board, so let’s get to it. The first message was from Bert to Ernie, thanking him for turning him onto the PikUpGirls software on the Loser library. Apparently Bert now knows what women really want and has so many after him, he barely has time to jack in. The second message was from Matt Shaw to me, warning me about the BLAMMO software. Apparently it could “put my eye out”, and given this was the second warning I’d received about software downloaded from the Citizens for a Free Matrix base, I intended to erase Blammo 1.0 as soon as I left the base. The third message was from Count Floyd to Chipdancer. He seemed very concerned about someone named Quixote, who had disappeared while “on his way out to Bank G.” This didn’t seem to concern Chipdancer, as the fourth message was from him to Don Quixote: “After those windmills again, eh? If you’re serious about hitting Bank Gem. again, EINHOVEN should make it easier.” What was EINHOVEN? Software? A skill chip? A base?

Hey Bert! I've found this great software beginning with the letter P!

The fifth message was from Matt Shaw to Count Floyd, basically telling him to chill out. Quixote had eventually “blipped into Gridpoint early this morning”, saying he’d had to “leave town because of a death in the family”. There was that Gridpoint place mentioned again! I was now convinced that I hadn’t come across it because it didn’t exist in the real world. Having no idea how cyberspace will be represented, I’m not sure whether that line of thinking is crazy or not. The sixth message was from Matsumoto to Dr. Asano, telling him that “Gorota’s missing and it’s all your fault you crazy old man! You activated that COMSAT for him at Mission Control! Now he’s way off in cyberspace somewhere!” What’s a COMSAT? Where’s Mission Control? Neuromancer has a tendency to bring in new terminology and language at every turn, making sure that I’m in a permanent state of bewilderment. Matsumoto finished his message by threatening to tell “the Turing people” about what Asano had been up to. Unfortunately for him, the seventh message on the board was from Turing, demanding to know what the “pet project” was that he was referring to.


With all the messages read, I entered the Gentleman Loser Software Library to find four different bits of software to download. The first one was PikUpGirls 1.0 (as mentioned above by the Sesame Street gang), although I sadly wasn’t able to download that due to my incompatible deck. I was able to download BlowTorch 1.0, Hammer 1.0 and Probe 3.0 though, so I did so. I’d seen BlowTorch 1.0 and Probe 1.0 for sale at Finn’s store previously, so now I knew there was no point purchasing them. All three bits of software are “cyberspace only”, so I have no use for them yet. With nothing else to do on the Loser base, I exited and erased my Blammo 1.0 software immediately. There you have it! Another thirty minutes of game time described in detail for your reading “pleasure”! I really don’t know how far into Neuromancer I am, but it concerns me that I haven’t even reached Cyberspace yet. Am I looking at twenty posts here guys? I’m committed now, so there’s no chance I’m going to stop. I might have to ask some questions before I commence any hybrid adventure games in future though to get a good idea just how much detail I should put into it. On the positive side, my next post will have some non-text screenshots at least!

Damn shame that!

Session Time: 0 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 6 hours 30 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!


  1. "Neuromancer has a tendency to bring in new terminology and language at every turn" - that's something it has in common with the book.
    BTW, don't worry, you're closing in.

  2. Pretty sure you avoided all the pitfalls I ran into. Good luck in Cyberspace; you'll get there soon.

  3. Pretty much everything half price at GOG.


    1. Damn my job keeping me from CAPS

    2. Of course, just as I've weaned myself off of Steam sales, GoG comes along and ruins everything.

      Another 25 games added to my account. :(

    3. Well, if it makes you feel any better, I bought about 20 too. Most of them weren't even adventure games either, meaning I'll probably never get to play them. The prices were just too good though, and buying games like System Shock 2 for just a few dollars never seems like a waste of money.

      I now have 240 games in my GOG library! That my friends is called an addiction!

    4. My point exactly. I just bought my...sixth? seventh? copy of Baldur's Gate today. The D&D pack for 80% is amazing value for money. Even though I've got stacks of copies on discs already AND got BGEE on my ipad, I can't find my NWN copies anywhere and just getting those and IWD would result in the same cost as just buying the entire thing outright.

      Probably going to end up with some more games during the sale, there was some I didn't get hoping they'll appear in some of the upcoming packs.

      Thankfully I'm nowhere close to your library on GoG, so I can feel good about that at least. :p

  4. Noooooo!! You are going against the Steam Sale Rule (TM)!!! Never buy a game not on a daily offer until the last day of the sale :p

    1. It was the last day of the D&D-sale, that's why I bought them. Actually it was a daily offer, which makes the entire sale the last day. :p

      I did buy a few games not on daily offer though, so you are correct and I am ashamed. I should know better.

  5. New 24hour sale on GoG as part of the Summer #NoDRM sale, Daedalic Adventure All-stars: Deponia 1-2 + Edna & Harvey: The Breakout + Harvey's New Eyes + The Whispered World + Chains of Satinav + A New Beginning for 75% off.

    Anybody tried any of them?

  6. Oh wow. Look at that. I'm all caught up after falling... waaaaaaaaaaaaaay behind, (like all the way back in Tex Murphy land behind) I blame it all on my allergy making me feel all blerghy and not like sitting in front of the screen reading the backlog of pages. But here I am now. Wheee.

    1. Welcome back! Are you planning to play along on Neuromancer, or are you happy just reading?

    2. I'll just be reading along, that's more than enough entertainment for me for this game. Next game I'll definitely be playing along with though.

    3. Yaaaay. I'm no longer a default avatar thingy and I'm still my chosen display name after jumping through a bunch of hoops to make it so. Now time to read the new post!

  7. I think Gridpoint was a cyberspace location in the book.


Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: There's 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 the reviewer requiring one. Please...try not to spoil any part of the game...unless they really obviously need the help...or they specifically request assistance.

If this is a game introduction post: This is your opportunity for readers to bet 10 CAPs (only if they already have them) that the reviewer won't be able to solve a puzzle without putting in an official Request for Assistance: remember to use ROT13 for betting. If you get it right, you will be rewarded with 50 CAPs in return.
It's also your chance to predict what the final rating will be for the game. Voters can predict whatever score they want, regardless of whether someone else has already chosen it. All score votes and puzzle bets must be placed before the next gameplay post appears. The winner will be awarded 10 CAPs.