Last time I explored the first of four dreams that make up the bulk of The Institute. I presented it as a streamlined narrative for your convenience, rather than describe all of my errancies. On my first run, for example, I examined the bronze statue from the inside as well. The bronze key let me unlock its door, and I was able to enter. I found myself in an empty chamber but looking up revealed a rope I could climb. At the top of the statue, there was a platform but the air was unreasonably thin. I suffocated and found myself back in the closet.
This is one of the core mechanics of The Institute. You need to die in every dream in order to wake up. Later ports redeemed this by enabling you to simply type “wake up” but in the original version, if you were stuck, you had to find a way to die. There are only a couple of dead ends I know of, and my first playthrough prompted me to plunge right into one of them. By not picking up the umbrella but rather suffocating inside the bronze statue with my father’s face (don’t you just love those sentences that only make a certain amount of sense in the context of game descriptions?), I didn’t have a key item for the second dream. Now you don’t get to choose: If you eat the powder for the first time, you’ll enter the first dream, and then you always enter them in the same order which means that you need to hold on to some key items like the red bottle with the powder, the cup of water to wash it down and – the umbrella. If you enter the second dream without the umbrella you can neither escape nor die but remain floating and eventually have to restart the game. Also, if you leave the red bottle or the cup of water anywhere outside the institute proper, you can’t enter another dream. I withheld all of this from you in order to provide a more readable account of my playthrough. It is in the same spirit that I will not relate all of my frantic dream-hopping in the second part but rather smooth it all over in order to provide some orientation.