Archive for July 2011

Stuga: Puzzles   5 comments

Two puzzles are spoiled below.

Click on the image for a PDF version of the map.

Work has delayed me a bit in finishing Stuga, but also Stuga itself has been stalling me; I’ve been having a hard time working up the energy to play it in my spare moments. I’ve being trying to isolate why. One reason is the puzzles (more on that in a second) but also because Stuga turns out to be another “find the treasures and gather them in the right location” plot, but without any time limit via expiring lantern batteries or otherwise. This seems like it ought to make it easier for me to want to play, but oddly once I realized there was no time pressure it was causing the opposite. I think it’s perhaps because there’s appeal in these old games still (and uniquely for the era) as an optimization puzzle, and I was having fun in Zork (for example) plotting out the best route to take to grab the diamond, like I was a real adventurer plotting over a dusty map. Stuga makes me feel not like I’m a character in some world, but an avatar of an avatar; like LASH, controlling someone not myself who is themselves controlling a robot from a distance. This is all weird and irrational and imprecise but that’s the best way I can express how it feels.

The puzzles, also, to use the words of Jimmy Maher, are either extremely simple or blatantly unfair. In my last post the word SESAME was mentioned in a room, prompting David Welbourn to say his next command would be OPEN SESAME. Well, it’s almost as easy as that — it’s just SESAME, and you use it at a locked gate and that’s that.

On the other hand, there’s a dark room. If you type TAKE (not TAKE ALL or any other variation) you will pick up a hidden lamp, and then be told the lamp will disappear if you leave the room so you should “stay put”. So you type STAY and then wait (in real time, yes, you actually sit still for 30 seconds) and then you get scooped out of the room and get to keep the lamp.

The Muppet sequence in my last post has been the best puzzle so far, just because it turned out to be a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure interlude with binary choices where figuring out the correct route led to a treasure. It was so unique and weird it was oddly fun to work out.

Posted July 2, 2011 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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