Thursday 30 January 2014

Guest Game 1: Circuit's Edge - Leads to Nowhere

Trickster's Note: The below post (and indeed all posts for Circuit's Edge) was written by guest blogger Zenic Reverie.

Night 2: "I bumbled through the better part of the night. The leads I stumbled upon leave me even more stumped. To pass the time and get my juices flowing I've taken up a regular seat at the baccarat tables. Strange that there's only a single gambling den in the whole Budayeen. I'm not even sure how they stay in business with odds like these, but nothing left to do except buy everything I can."

I've lost all faith in the parser.

It's difficult, at least for me, to stay interested in a game that doesn't give clear objectives. I've circled the city at least twice looking for leads. I'm just not sure what the game expects me to do. Take the holodisk I have. There are viewers in the adult store, and I can rent a video for my pleasure; however, there's no other way to interact with the viewer. No way to view the holodisk in my possession. Interaction with the environment is extremely limited; it instills a sense of hopelessness. I'm sure at some point I'll find myself in the possession of a viewer, and will finally watch the video. Then I'll be really lost knowing this game.

For a game so ensconced in debauchery, there's currently no way to partake in it.

I entered every establishment like a drunken fool name dropping everyone I could think of, "HEY! Do you know Mack Dixon?" "My good friend Mustafa, have you seen 'im?" It's a wonder anyone took me seriously, but what would normally seem strange in the real world is normal in this game. With zero regard to tipping off Mack Dixon that I was looking for him I stumbled into every dive, every brothel (he seems to frequent them), and every open store asking about him, Mustafa, and Kenji Carter. I got results, but currently all my leads dead end into further obstacles.

Finally, someone knows something about Mustafa

And a lead on Mack Dixon, now we're getting somewhere... I just don't know where yet.

Mack Dixon seems well outside our reach unless I randomly run into him. I currently don't have a good way to convince the attendant that I'm in desperate need of Mr. Dixon's assistance in solving two murders he may or may not be involved in. In any case, I followed up on the lead that Mustafa sold off the items in his store to another pawn broker. A tip from AAA Loans suggested someone named Friendly took out a loan to make the large purchase. Arriving at the shop and asking about Mustafa prompted Friendly to take the ticket from my inventory, look up the item number, and inform me it was 20 kiam. Kiam is the local currency (in case I failed to mention it), and I have a total of 1100 at present.

It goes quickly though as I buy up an answering machine for 154... if only I knew how to use it.

The pawn ticket, plus 20 kiam, bought us an unlisted item: half a ring inscribed with "MAAL MOS." One possible lead down, and I'm now even more confused. I bought an answering machine from friendly. My new answering machine allowed me to play out the answering chip. I can't believe the police couldn't tell me how much of a waste of time this would be tracking down. I mean... just look at the message: "M-C-D-I-X. He'll kill me if he finds me first!"

Chinese-2-Go wouldn't even translate the rest of the message; guess it's not Chinese.

I ended up buying out the pawn shop because, why not? Nothing too relevant at this point, but I'm sure it'll become useful. The lens is for a holographic camera, allowing low light hologram creation. Mr. Lightning is a daddie that doubles my agility. I scooped all this up without actually spending anything since I spent the majority of my time at the gambling hall raking in cash at the baccarat tables.

The Natural

The sure bet seems to be on winning as hitting an 8 or 9 puts me in a win unless the dealer gets the same. Ties don't count as a win or loss. I can choose to draw one card or stand, and about the only time I want to draw is if I'm already losing. I'll take the tie if offered, but the majority of cards will lower my total value as it wraps from 0 - 9. Face cards are equal to 10. To get the total, add up the cards and look at the ones place. Odds have strangely fallen in my favor the majority of the time and I don't even have a gambler moddie (not sure if one exists).

Speaking of moddies and daddies, look who finally decided to open.

I stopped by Laila's shop, high off my winnings at the gambling hall next door, and found she'd opened up since the day before. I haven't saved up enough to afford everything here yet, but I picked up Super Spy, Muscle Man, and Alpine Jack, which basically max all my stats. I'm fairly sure The Outlaw is a gunslinger moddie, Rad Hacker is a computer hacker moddie, and Kung Fu Master is a bare handed moddie. This is all guesswork though, as there are no descriptions before I buy them. I also picked up English 101 (not sure how it'll help, but it's cheap), and Julius Caesar, which oddly enough turned out to initiate a hint on 'McDix'.

Does that mean Mack Dixon is a red herring, or is he still useful?

Even with that additional information I have no use for it at the moment. My only hope is I'll stumble upon another clue that allows me to pick up the story soon; at this point my goal is to completely drain the gambling hall, and stock pile every item I can purchase from every store. My inventory and chips are limited to 10 each, so I've been offloading all excess items in my apartment strewn about the floor. I haven't really gone over moddies and daddies yet, but basically I can equip 1 moddie (personality modification) and 3 daddies (data skill chips). The only difference I've seen between the two is moddies add some flavor text as the personality pops out during conversations and wandering around.

Oh goodie, more junk to buy.

I really have no idea what any of this is good for yet, but I picked up the camera as having the most potential for usefulness. I'm fairly sure I'll have to get everything eventually, but with the gambling hall as my only source of income I'm starting to get picky. I've had to reload twice after bankrupting myself. Still not bad considering how random/stacked gambling normally is.

Well, not my only source of income, but recovering from a battle takes up most of that money.

Once again I have no idea where I'm going, and I'm now down to 2 leads to follow up on (the holodisk and Mack Dixon). I haven't found any new leads for MAAL MOS or 1409, but I'll keep them in mind if I trip over something relevant. In the meantime it's back to the tables and slowly becoming a hoarder. Wish me further luck for digging out this story as it's all but evaporated in front of me.

Session Time: 2 hours 00 minutes
Total Time: 5 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 Zenic requiring one. Please...try not to spoil any part of the game for him...unless he really obviously needs the help...or he specifically requests assistance. In this instance, he's not made any requests for assistance. Thanks!


  1. This really does seem painful Zenic! There's nothing worse than having that euphoric moment of victory when you think you've made progress, only for said progress to be pretty much indecipherable.

    Just remember you can always ask for assistance. One little piece of advice could set the dominoes falling.

  2. Zenic: Now that you've already found the pawn shop and the answering machine, I think I can point out that the game apparently expected you to visit a bordello called Leather Goddesses near Mustafa's pawn shop - it's owner would also have known that the goods were bought by another pawn shop owner.

    If you haven't noticed I wrote s ROT13d series of hints about the holodisk in the previous CE post. Reading it might also give you a Heureka moment about the answering machine. Let's just say that you seem to have made one false assumption - Xrawv jnf abg Puvarfr, ohg Wncnarfr; lbh arrq n Wncnarfr ynathntr puvc.

    1. Well, I'm avoiding rot13 for now, and I haven't gotten completely locked out of things to do; although I can't for the life of me find a Japanese daddie (I currently have Chinese, Korean, and English). I figured out that the video I was seeing in the holo vid store was the one from my inventory. I kept missing the line that said I could play the video that I have, which I thought was the one I rented. All the normal mod shops don't carry them, so I have to get lucky and run into the right street dealer apparently (this is where I picked up Korean).

      The limited inventory is really limited. My apartment is now full (thought it might be unlimited), so I'll have to offload some things from there. I bought a lot of random junk in case it became useful; that's the first to go. I'll get about another hour of playing in tonight hopefully, and write up on my progress, which is basically the last of my leads evaporating. Unless I find that Japanese daddie, I'll probably just gamble my time away. I'm fairly sure this is my very last lead.

    2. Zenic: Ah, you've managed to figure out that much, then my hints won't actually help you anymore (I was just basically pointing out that a) you had watched the right holo and b) the guy whose murder you are investigating has a Japanese first name).

    3. Right, but someone else mentioned Kenji was Chinese, which is why I figured the language chip would have worked. Maybe that was just misinformation though. The Japanese chip is very hard to track down, but I know where it's at now. The amount of effort to obtain it seems extraordinary compared to how I intend to use it.

    4. Isn't that just ordinary for computer games?

      Hero: I'd really need this McGuffin to take me over that small river that I could easily cross if I'd just knew how to swim.
      King: Right, but first you'll have to a) slay a dragon, b) collect five hundred gold pieces and c) learn to fly. Then I might consider giving you the McGuffin, if you just beat me in a duel - I'll take the machine gun, and you'll have this small knife. What do you say?
      Hero: Is there a swimming instructor around here?

  3. New game release: Serena.

    How long has it been? A man sits in a distant getaway cabin waiting for his wife Serena. Where is she? Things in the cabin evoke memories, and the husband comes to a disturbing realization... This short point-and-click adventure is the result of a massive collaborative effort between dozens of fans and designers of adventure games.

    Lets hope this is better then that werewolf one.

    1. Too much glitches and bugs. Broke the game in the first 3 minutes of gameplay.

  4. You can ask Laila about stuff she is selling. Probably other sellers know what they're selling too.

    Seriously, I see you made the game more difficult than it actually is.