Monday, 16 May 2022

7th Guest - Ghosts and Mazes

Written by Reiko

In the introduction to the game, we saw Stauf’s origins, met his guests at the front door, and experienced some of the ambiance of the creepy house. Now I’m ready to start solving some puzzles.
What garish wallpaper. And those chair backs look like spiderwebs.
As I face the stairs on the first floor, I decide to start on the left and examine the left-most room, which appears to be unconnected to anything else. When I go through the door, I find myself in an ugly dining room with a large cake on a raised cake platter in the middle of the table.
From left to right: Temple, Burden (obscured), Dutton, Edward, Elinor, Heine.
I move toward the table for a better look and find a ghostly scene playing: again the guests mostly complain about the food, although Elinor offers the clue that each guest is to receive exactly the same size piece of cake, including the symbols. Stauf is being a rather poor host and not attending his own dinner, as Dutton comments about having to "fend for ourselves."
Not only is the cake creepy, so are the cake plates, with their staring bloodshot eye design.
Focusing on the cake shows me my first puzzle: the cake is divided into a six-by-five array of square pieces, some of which have a skull or gravestone, and I have to divide it up such that each portion has two skulls, two gravestones, and one empty piece. When I click on a piece, it's raised up a bit, and when I click on four more adjacent pieces, the whole set lifts out and disappears.

This isn't a particularly difficult puzzle; the trick is getting each set of symbols to be adjacent to one of the empty pieces, three of which are in a line in the middle of the array. I start from the top right corner and work my way around, ending in the bottom left.
He’s married already.
After I complete the puzzle, another short scene plays in which Burden invites Edward up to her room and suggests she could help him. I'm not sure where Elinor is supposed to be at that point, but it certainly looked like a seduction to me. Later, when I'm accidentally wandering around the second floor, I catch a glimpse of Edward going into Burden's room, so I guess he took her up on that.

Now the table also has a "spooky" effect where the dishes will dance for a moment and rotate around the place settings before settling back down again.
The library looks cozy enough.
Instead of continuing from left to right, because the top-left room appears to connect to some back stairs, I move over to the far right room next, which again doesn't appear connected to anything, although I shortly find I'm not quite right about that. This room is the library. On a coffee table facing the door, there's a book that has the puzzle icon, but I think it's a way to get hints or something. The only page in it so far just says, "This puzzle is solved" and takes me back to the dining room if I click through.

Farther into the room, there's a telescope set up to look through a closed French door. To the right is a fireplace, which I notice I can enter. If I do, somehow I end up going through a passage and end up in the second-floor hallway. I turn around, but can't return the way I came, so I have to go down the stairs and around to get back where I was.
Nice alliteration.
The telescope is the second puzzle: when I look through it, it brings me to a close-up view of Mars with a number of letters connected by paths (perhaps a reference to Burroughs' Martian "canals" or some such?). The starting letter is forced to be the T at the bottom, and I can select a connecting letter to create a sequence. I can quickly see "POSSIBLE" as a valid arrangement of some of the letters, so it doesn't take long for me to arrange all the letters into the phrase "THERE IS NO POSSIBLE WAY". Bemused, my character comments, "What twisted crime of logic would merit such a sentence?"
Is Stauf speaking to me?
Completing this puzzle yields a scene where Stauf himself appears (well, his head and torso, anyway) and recites a rather creepy poem about six guests that never appeared, and blood in the house, etc. Who is he talking to here? This scene can be repeated (whereas the “story” scenes cannot). So now the library is done.
This looks a lot like Elinor, but another line mentioned “Mrs. Knox”...
I wanted to continue around to the top-right room, but that one seems to be locked or something still. The map also shows that it isn't available. So I continue back to the top-left room, which turns out to be a kitchen (which would make sense given its proximity to the dining room). There are two scenes available here; one is triggered from the right side, where Stauf seems to be speaking through a woman in pink called Mrs. Knox, informing us that there are clues about what must be done everywhere in the house, but the other guests are trying to do the same thing.

The other scene, triggered on the far side of the room, shows Heine busily working at something that sounds like some kind of block arrangement puzzle. It doesn't tell us whether she succeeded at it, just that she was trying to solve it, just as we will be shortly, I'm sure.

I move forward, which advances the view right up to that far wall. I look around and find that there's a door to each side, but I can't move through either one. I suspect that one door might well be a rear door out of the building, so of course I can't leave, but the other door should be to the back stairs, but apparently that passage isn't available (yet?). Turning back to the far wall, I trigger the third puzzle, which causes the wall to open up into a pantry full of cans with letters on them.
WHY is Y the only vowel here…?
I can swap the positions of any two cans, but unlike the previous two puzzles, it's not clear at all what's to be done here. Each can has a single letter, and they all start out in alphabetical order except for the fact that eleven Y cans are all placed above/before all the rest of the cans. There are 33 cans total, arranged in groups on four shelves.

I try swapping cans around for a while but accomplish basically nothing. I alphabetize them all properly, then reverse alphabetize them, then mix them up some more. There don't seem to be enough vowels to make a phrase out of all the letters (the only vowel available is Y, in fact). Stauf just taunts me at one point, saying "I don't think you CAN do this." (Har har) But what exactly is it I'm meant to be doing?

The only anomaly I find, which may or may not just be a bug, is the way that the H can ends up out of position if I try placing it in the left-most slot of the second row. If I place it there and then move it anywhere else, an offset image of it remains behind whatever can I put in its place.
No dots, either. The dots mark unusable nodes.
Perhaps I'll get a clue somewhere else. I reluctantly move on for now and begin working my way along the second-floor corridor. I go into the first bedroom along the left side, where I'd seen Burden invite Edward in. The bed contains the next puzzle, a spiral of letters and symbols. Stauf gives an initial clue of having to move by "threes and fives," and after I select the first letter (there's only one choice, the first T, like the telescope puzzle), the PC mentions that there are no spaces, only stars. So I have to move around the spiral to form a sequence, skipping by three or five spaces at a time, and separating words with stars.

It helps that there are only ever two or three possible choices at most. I don't quite twig to the phrase right away; I can't see it the way I could the telescope sequence, but trial and error gets me past every ambiguity. The graphics are a bit muddy here, too, which doesn't help; at least once I missed the right path the first time because I was misreading the letter (a Y looked like an X, I think). The only trouble with starting over is that I have to listen to Stauf's clue and the PC's comments every single time, and I can’t seem to click through or get the puzzle to respond until they're done talking each time.

Eventually I get a sequence that says, "THE SKY IS RUDDY, YOUR FATE IS BLOODY." Stauf sounds angry that I actually solved the puzzle, but there's nothing to be done about that.
Stauf said only one guest would win, though…
Then I get another scene, this one the follow-up on what Burden and Edward were doing. I was right, she was seducing him and trying to team up with him. He seems very passive here and just lets her do it. She literally snares him with her scarf or whatever it is she's wearing, and they fall on the bed. After the scene, the "spooky" thing you can trigger with the bed is literally just noises of the two of them getting it on. Ugh.
The voices don’t sound like just Elinor talking.
The bedroom across the hallway briefly shows Elinor sitting on the bed, looking at the floor and sounding excited about doing a maze. Before looking at the puzzle, I look around the room a little and find a short scene in the mirror where Elinor appears and I hear some unintelligible voices. The subtitles are a huge help here, though, because they show text that appears to just be written backwards (it's a mirror, duh), so I can use my screenshot to transliterate the text to read this: "No one knows what happened next, there's no one left to say. But if you should see Old Man Stauf, get on your knees and pray." Nothing critical, just more creepy atmosphere, but I find it interesting that it's accessible this way.
That the puzzle wasn’t a maze was a surprise.
The rug does look like a maze, but instead of having to solve anything there, the cursor icon just appears as the puzzle icon again, and when I trigger it, the view slides up toward the bed and the actual puzzle displays eight bishops on a small 5x4 chessboard area (it looks bigger than that, but the usable spaces are only 5x4).

I move them around a little, not sure what I'm supposed to be doing, but eventually decide I have to switch their positions. They start with four black bishops on the left and four white on the right. But they can never directly attack each other, so it's tricky to move them around in the small space. Once I understood the rules, I made more progress, but getting the last two bishops switched is rather difficult and I'm honestly not sure exactly how I managed it in the end.
The mirror image doesn’t match the original anymore…
Oddly enough, the rug still acts like it's a puzzle, but I can't seem to do anything more with it, and the map indicates that the room is solved, so I move on. Most of the rest of the second-floor rooms are still locked, so I start working my way down the right side.

The next bedroom has a scene with Heine looking in the mirror, lamenting her lost youth when she had beautiful hair. The image in the mirror somehow starts getting younger, but it goes too far, and she starts panicking as she turns into a child. Before the scene fades, we see and hear a crying baby crawling on the floor. That's one way to get your heart's desire, I suppose.
Where is this blood going after it exits the maze?
This room also has its puzzle in the rug, and this one is actually a maze, but it's a maze with a twist: a heart pumps blood through the maze, and I have to adjust valves along the path to direct the flow to the exit. I don't think I've actually seen a maze like this before, so props for originality. It wasn't very hard, though, especially when I tried following the path backward from the end. Still, I think this is probably the best puzzle so far. The effect is only slightly spoiled by the cheesy "You win!" graphic in the blood when I solve the maze.
I guess Temple doesn’t get what he wanted.
Afterward, another scene plays, this one with the sixth guest who didn't speak at the beginning, called Temple. He's speaking to a boy, Tad. This is the first we've seen of Tad; does he count as another guest? He wasn’t in the parade of characters at the beginning. What is he doing there? Temple thinks Tad should leave with him, but it's too late. The scene shifts and Tad's gone, but Heine appears and starts strangling Temple. I thought she got turned into a baby though? Now I'm more confused. Is this all we'll see of Temple?

Just to summarize, we have Burden seducing Edward and trying to team up with him to solve the puzzles, Stauf being creepy in the library, Elinor enjoying a maze which wasn't actually the puzzle in her room, Heine getting younger and turning into a baby, and also at some point strangling Temple. Presumably Dutton is also around somewhere but I haven't seen him since the dining room scene.

Puzzles solved: 5

Session Time: 1 hours 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hours 45 minutes

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 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!

58 comments:

  1. Couple notes regarding the things you were a bit confused about:

    "On a coffee table facing the door, there's a book that has the puzzle icon, but I think it's a way to get hints or something. The only page in it so far just says, "This puzzle is solved" and takes me back to the dining room if I click through."
    As the manual explains, yes, this is a hint feature. If you're currently working on a puzzle, you can click on this book to receive a hint, and eventually just have the book solve the puzzle for you. Ie cheating, so just ignore this one.

    "This looks a lot like Elinor, but another line mentioned “Mrs. Knox”..."
    Her name is Elinor Knox. The game is pretty bad at telling you what the characters' names are.

    "Stauf seems to be speaking through a woman in pink called Mrs. Knox"
    This is her reading Stauff's letter, it's the same effect you saw in the scene with Mr. Dutton earlier.

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    1. Thanks, that makes sense. I wish they'd at least put a character list with full names in the manual or something. Honestly, I'd be even more confused if I didn't have the subtitles. In scenes with characters that don't speak, I don't follow what's going on as well.

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  2. Ah, you've found what TV Tropes called "Solve The Soup Cans". That is, you cannot enter the back stairs until you deal with the soup can puzzle, but there is no in-world explanation why your character can't just walk past the soup cans and enter that door.

    Your goal there is to znxr n shyy fragrapr, naq ab lbh jvyy abg trg nal uvagf naljurer rkprcg jvgu gur fgnaqneq uvagobbx va gur yvoenel. Guvf unq zr fghzcrq nf n puvyq orpnhfr V whfg qvqa'g unir gur ibpnohynel sbe vg.

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    1. The soup cans are such moon logic. Granted Stauf is presented as being several cans short of a full pantry himself, but *really*.

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    2. I've seen the TV Tropes pages. Yes, it really doesn't make any sense.

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    3. I mean, is it really that much of a mystery? Its just locked and solving the puzzle unlocks it. I seem to remember some other door in-game functioning on much the same logic, though I could be wrong.

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    4. ALL the initially locked doors in the game are connected to one or more puzzles. That's how the game works, you walk around the house, find the puzzles in the available rooms, and solve them to unlock more rooms with more puzzles. Even the manual explains that to you. It's not SUPPOSED to have much real in-universe logic to it.

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    5. It's true that there's no in-game explanation about why some initially-locked doors somehow unlock after some puzzle is solved or scene is viewed or whatever, so in that sense, the soup cans obstacle isn't any worse. But the difference is that with the other doors, something could have happened that you just didn't see. In the kitchen, once you solve the puzzle, you can immediately go through the door that wasn't passable before solving the puzzle, right? And you're RIGHT THERE the whole time, so what could have possibly happened to magically unlock this door? It's just purely game logic with no real sense to it.

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    6. Not sure if this particular bit of backstory has been revealed yet, but...
      Fgnhs, rira vs ur'f whfg qbar n qrny jvgu gur qrivy naq vfa'g bar uvzfrys, vf obhaq ol gur trarevp qrivy ehyrf, juvpu unf qrivyf obhaq ol gurve jbeq. Rkprcg va guvf pnfr uvf jbeq vf uvf chmmyr, naq fbyivat vg pbzcryf uvz gb haybpx gur qbbe.
      Non-spoilery answer, what Deano said.

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    7. I think it's a pretty easy connection to make that the connection between the puzzles and the doors is supernatural, but it seems like an own-goal to not signify this more directly. Something as simple as a visual effect of some kind of green "magic sparklies" flowing from a solved puzzle to a door would make the whole thing feel connected without even needing an explicit explanation.

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    8. I always thought the soup cans here got rather a rough go of it being the trope indicator. When essentially every puzzle is in the "a wizard did it" category, it doesn't bother me; _none_ of the puzzles make "sense" to be there. It feels like getting mad at a musical for having songs put in places where people wouldn't normally be singing.

      There are plenty of other games I've played which had the "soup cans effect" but were ostensibly semi-realistic, it seems like one of those would be a better trope carrier.

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    9. Fair point; "solve the soup cans" sounds snappy, but if you get the reference then you know it's not a very good example, and if you don't get the reference then the name is completely meaningless.

      Well, there was a time when TVtropes deliberately named their tropes after obcure references, but they've thankfully (mostly) gotten over that.

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    10. I believe referencing soup cans as synechdoche for confoundingly nonsensical puzzles was a trope among the online adventure gaming community long before someone (confession: it was me) told TVTropes about it.
      It was pithier than trying to make a reference to the sliding tile puzzle in the bondage club in Phantasmagoria.

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  3. Also, regarding the "props for originality" maze: that's the classic puzzle game called Pipe Mania or Pipe Dream or several similarly-named variants.

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    1. I don't think that's the same kind of thing. In Pipe Mania, you have to place puzzle pieces to extend the pipe with given pieces while the fluid continually advances along the placed pipe. In 7th Guest's puzzle, the pipe maze is already completely formed, and you only adjust the valves to make a complete path from start to finish. There's no time pressure, either; the blood doesn't start flowing until you trigger it.

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    2. This one is just like the water pipes world in Myst except you don't have to walk around to figure out the whole picture first.

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  4. oh you just found the tvtropes article named for this specific puzzle, so infamous that the amount of people who managed to solve it without hints or puzzles must be close to 0%. On day9 Mostly walking series, they managed to solve it, but they are 3 people playing the game, not sure if it counts.

    The hint book was very funny to me, I was wondering the house, found the book and said, hey cool another puzzle, let's check it out. And then it said "The puzzle is solved". Very confused on how I managed to solve the puzzle without interacting with it, but yeah .. turns out it's all in the manual

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    1. It's definitely not 0%, because I solved it back in the day. It's NOT the puzzle I bet CAPs Reiko wouldn't solve without help.

      The bishop puzzle on the other hand... I always get stuck on that one when I replay the game. It's extremely difficult to wrap your head around and I still can't remember how it's supposed to be done. Like Reiko, I end up just moving pieces around until I suddenly realize they're in a position where I can see a solution.

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    2. The key to the bishop puzzle is realizing that a bishop on a white square can never end up on a black square, and vice versa. So instead of one puzzle on twenty squares, it's actually two (identical) puzzles on ten squares. Then you can just draw it out on a piece of paper, because there aren't THAT many legal moves from each position.

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    3. I can't say if I solved it legit back when I played it, but its not that hard for a word puzzle. They probably could have chosen one that isn't quite so gimmicky though. Its fairly simple once you get down the right method for it. It just seems hard at first.

      Gur gjb gjb-yrggre jbeqf ner rnfl rabhtu gb qrpvcure, gurer ner n yvzvgrq ahzore bs gubfr gung pna raq va l, bayl gjb vvep, ol naq zl. Zl ol qbrfa'g znxr frafr, fb vgf fbzrguvat ol zl fbzrguvat. Ng juvpu cbvag lbh jevgr qbja jungrire jbeqf lbh pna guvax bs gung pna or qbar jvgu gur erznvavat yrggref, hagvy lbh pna aneebj qbja gur evtug pbzovangvba bs jbeqf.

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    4. Gung'f ubj V erzrzore fbyivat vg gbb. Ervxb'f ceboyrz guhf sne zbfgyl frrzf gb or abg ernyvmvat lbh'er fhccbfrq gb sbez n fragrapr va gur svefg cynpr.

      As for TV Tropes, it has that problem certain other places do as well, where if one person had trouble with something, anyone that didn't find it difficult is just going to get met with passive-agressive "well excuse me for not being as much of an expert as you" snark... which leads to the definition of "infamously difficult" pretty much just being "something you may not be able to do on your first try". Meh.

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    5. as someone who speaks english as second language, that puzzle was impossible without using the web for hints

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    6. English is my second language too. I managed. :)

      Also, I don't think we should judge puzzles like these on how hard they are for non-native speakers. I'd never be able to solve a perfectly average English-language crossword puzzle, but that doesn't mean I consider them impossible witchcraft that nobody have probably solved without cheating.

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    7. While you are definitely correct about TVtropes' dilution of difficulty tropes, the "Soup Can" trope has nothing to do with how difficult the puzzle is. Rather, it's about how there's no in-world explanation why it is an obstacle in the first place.

      So it's about immersion breaking, and related to tropes like NPC Roadblock and Insurmountable Waist High Fence.

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    8. Ahah, my bad, I was mixing it up with another page they had about "impossible" puzzles in adventure games. Sorry.

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    9. You're probably thinking of Moon Logic Puzzle (i.e. a puzzle that some random troper couldn't figure out); as well as Nintendo Hard (a whole game that some random troper thought was kind of difficult). Both suffer from a LOT of "trope decay".

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    10. Just not being able to figure it out myself doesn't necessarily makes something "Moon Logic". Like for example, the most recent time I've played through a game blind was when I played Curse of Monkey Island and Escape from Monkey Island for the first time last year. There were quite a few situations where I had to be told the solution from a walkthrough (I'm not that great at solving puzzles), but often I then went "Ohhhhh, because the thing, and the other thing. Right." The solution made at least some kind of sense after the fact and I could see how they had expected me to put two and two together. But there were also some that left me going "WTF??? how? why???" and those are the ones I think of as Moon Logic.

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    11. Yes Lisa, that is our point: that difficulty tropes such as "Moon Logic" are often misused for "some random person had some trouble with this" instead of the trope's actual meaning (which is more like "ridiculously unfair and almost nobody could figure that out on his own"). For instance, the rotten cheese puzzle in KQV.

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    12. I don't know how many people take it all the way to "some random person had trouble" but a lot of people conflate "The logic of this puzzle is not conveyed in is context within the game world" with "The logic of this puzzle is contrary to the normal operant logic of the real world". So any bizarre or otherworldly puzzle gets classed as "Moon logic" even if the puzzle is perfectly tractable given the context of the game it is in. That is, if you happen to already be on the moon, then Moon Logic is actually just "logic".

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    13. I've not necessarily associated moon logic with difficulty, but with ridiculousness. That is, the puzzle might have been even fairly easy to solve (especially in a game where I can just click everything on everything), but it just doesn't make sense, why the solution works.

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    14. Personally I would also add "doesn't make sense even in the context of the game's setting". For example: Day of the tentacle has a puzzle where you have to pass off a cat as a skunk, that's lifted straight from the old WB "Pepe le pew" cartoons - but since the game itself is quite cartoonist in the first place, it's not that hard to get into the right mindset and come up with the solution. By contrast, the infamous "cat moustache" puzzle (at least the "get the moustache" part) is not that dissimilar - but since the game up until that point has presented itself as a mostly realistic present-day setting, it comes off as ridiculous and absurd - at least that's what I think of when the term "Moon Logic" comes up (not that fantastic or comedic adventures can't come up with such example themselves, Too struck could sometimes be quite painful in that regard for example)

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    15. The cat moustache puzzle is a complex case; that particular bit of the solution (and probably several other steps as well) is indeed pretty moon-logic, but I often hear people complain about moon-logic with regard to the whole concept - that you need a fake moustache to pass for someone who doesn't actually have a moustache - when that much at least felt like something that emerged very naturally from the setup within the game world since they establish that gur gjb bs lbh ybbx gbb qvssrerag gb qvfthvfr bar nf gur bgure, fb lbh unir gb zrrg va gur zvqqyr ol qvfthvfvat lbhefrys naq qvfsvthevat gur cvpgher

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    16. I agree, that's why I only singled out the moustache creation part. :)

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    17. I was delighted to discover that the cat hair mustache puzzle is apparently bad enough that it merits its own Wikipedia article - and then, interestingly, there is also an article about a different puzzle in the same game that is apparently considered one of the best of all time. (Alas, I didn't immediately spot a category for "worst adventure game puzzles.")

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    18. I don't think you can categorize anything in The Seventh Guest as moon logic. It's a similar game to Castle of Dr. Brain, but with more ambitious graphics and acting. (In either case, they're on the border between adventure and puzzle games.) In Dr. Brain, I prefaced each puzzle with an explanation of what you're trying to do. But most of the ones in T7G are self-explanatory once you start playing with them.

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  5. Reading this entry triggered an old memories of mine: many years ago, I actually read the novelization of "The 7th guest". It was kind of weird, because they focussed strongly on the supernatural mystery/horror Plot going on, so that one was thoroughly spoiled naturally. But the author(s? Don't recall any names) really struggled with translating the central "Puzzle" theme into the book! It mentions that Drauf was compelled to create fiendish puzzles that his guests had to solve, but utterly failed to describe what he created exactly - or maybe they didn't want to spoil the solutions so a reader would still want to play the game (just for the puzzles and not the plot... I Guess?) The "Soup Can Puzzle" made for a particularly strange read, because in the book our protagonist watches one of the guests (Elinor I think? One of the female ones) manically sorting the cans, figuring it out and giggling to herself, and the protagonist just wonders what she's doing and why? No mention of a phrase, the whole only "Y" vowels or the hidden staircase either. It makes for a very bizarre read. (Frankly the rest of the book isn't really well written either, struggling to make much sense of the plot at hand. Pretty much just a quick cash-in that was made as long as the 7th Guest property was still hot).

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    1. "Stauf" of course, not "Drauf". Stupid autocorrection, I wish I could edit comments.

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    2. Yeah, there's a lot of things that work fine in a gameplay context that don't make good narrative.

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    3. Yeah, the 7th Guest novel is terrible, it's more of a poor walkthrough than a standalone story. At least it's a good showcase of how narratives that work in a video game can't just be transferred directly to other media.

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  6. Hello fellow adventurers. It has been a LONG time since I last made any contribution to this site. I just wanted to poke my head in and say that I'm delighted that it's still going after all this time. I have such fond memories of the years I spent making content and communing with the good folk here at The Adventure Gamer...oh hang on...what's this? The Adventurer's Guild?! And such a nice new banner!

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  7. Oh, and I've always wanted to play this game, along with it's sequel.

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    1. Welcome back! You should play along :D

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    2. It's The Trickster's second coming :o

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    3. Well, I didn't expect to see the return of The Trickster! Welcome back...even if you don't know me.

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    4. Pleasure to meet you Morpheus, writer of the infamously popular Alice in Wonderland posts!

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    5. Nice to hear from you, Trickster! Yes, we've done some updates to the blog and even changed the name to better suit the more communal nature of the blog, but I hope we've still managed to stay true to your original vision.

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    6. Hi Ilmari! It's still very much true to the original vision (it still has CAPs and the PISSED rating after all), although you're under no obligation to stick to the original plan. This place has clearly taken on it's own communal life since it was my baby. It always bothered me how close the site name was to The Adventure Gamers website, so it's good that it now has it's own clear identity.

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    7. Hi Trickster, welcome back! We'll be glad to have you for a play along or whatever you have time for. We definitely slowed down through COVID, but the site is still running, thanks to the persistent dedication of the admins.

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    8. Wow, that's an unexpected return! Welcome back, Trickster! I wasn't around regularly when you were still the sole contributor to this blog but I've read all of your posts at some point. So I take it there's still hope that you will review the third Monkey Island game a few years from now? ;-) Also, are you planning on dropping in more regularly again? Are you still maintaining a blog somewhere?

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    9. I am planning to spend more time here again, and I'm also hoping to play along with select games. I don't think I can take on posting through games at this point, but I wouldn't rule out doing it at some point.

      As for whether I'm maintaining a blog elsewhere, I haven't had a blog since Retrosmack, but I have built my dream metal music website. At the end of the day, what I find satisfying is building communities of likeminded people, and I've tried my hand at blogging, podcasting and other website projects over the years with this in mind. For anyone interested in checking out where I focus most of my energy these days, my site's called Metal Academy (you literally enter metal.academy in your browser). I've created clans based on the many genres and subgenres of metal music, with new members choosing to be part of up to three clans. I've added nearly 40,000 releases to the site so far, with all of those releases being attached to a clan (or multiple clans). When people rate an album, whether or not they're part of the same clan as the release influences how their rating is displayed (it will impact either the Clan Rating or just the Site Rating). Obviously only metal fans will find the site valuable.

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  8. I also have an idea brewing at the moment for something that might add some additional value here at TAG. I've been collecting digital copies of all the major computer / videogame magazines from the 80s / 90s / 00s for many years now. This includes great magazines I read as a kid, including PC Zone, PC Gamer, CU Amiga, Amiga Power, C&VG, Amiga Format and many more.

    This means I have numerous previews, reviews, advertisements and walkthroughs for most of the games on the TAG list from multiple different magazines. I'm thinking it might be interesting to showcase the articles, either as a post on the site itself, or in a publicly available location and simply link to them from the intro post (or the final post if that's more appropriate). I really enjoy flicking through the mags, so I'd be happy to go through them looking for relevant adventure game content.

    This might not be the best place to start a conversation, but does this interest anyone? I personally feel it would be a fascinating view into how each game was received when it was released.

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    1. I actually tried to do something like that, but never bothered uploading it. Basically it only had stuff for the current year of 1993 and some scattered random crap. However, I gave it up due to time and never bothered uploading anything anywhere.
      I am curious, is that just English magazines and just adventure games? I am interested either way, but I've noticed that German and Finnish magazines tend to have interesting things to say about some titles, and the latter is entirely a selfish ask...

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    2. I've only downloaded English mags, but I know there are quite a few German mags around.

      As for "just adventure games", the mags covered all types of games, but I could easily flick through the relevant issues each year to uncover relevant content for each game being played through.

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    3. In this case I was going to ask about a game its unlikely I would cover on the blog, Galactic Empire by Coktel Vision, a sort of adventure game primarily identified as an action game online. Not because I don't like it, but because I've been playing it off and on for 2 years now and that colors my perception of the whole thing. If its not too much trouble, I would ask if you could find a walkthrough for it, or at least some hints.

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    4. Trickster! So nice to see you again. I am so glad that you like the banner and the slight reskin. It was important to us both to pay homage to what you built, as well as to acknowledge that we've grown a great community of posters/guild members. Lots of folks here now started after you left, but we owe their dedication and community to what you started. Thank you for that.

      I am positive that we would love to explore those magazines with you. You know I enjoy the research posts much more than the gameplay posts and having more primary sources is a dream come true for me. (Fortunately, Internet Archive has been a great source of many of the 80s and 90s gaming magazines.)

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    5. Hi Joe! It is indeed great to reconnect. I must apologies for going completely off the grid. In a way I felt like I needed to distance myself and let this play grow into something new (which it has).

      Let me spend some time going through 1993-ish mags (I have full sets of many publications) and I'll collate some content for a few games. I'm going to need a location to share it with you, but we can figure that out later. I'm really not sure what the best way might be present it, so I'd be open to ideas.

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    6. I've just been reminded of how you can't edit your own comments on this site. So many errors that I can't fix up! Sorry about that.

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