Alkemstone: Still Searching   9 comments

I’m slowing down a little on finding clues just because being thorough is incredibly tedious. My procedure when checking a particular room is to

a.) look at each wall and pause for about five seconds, then repeat 3 or 4 or 5 times

b.) look at the ceiling and slowly turn three full circles, pausing about 4 seconds each step

c.) repeat with the floor

and even then I have come near to missing things.

Let me bring out two theories posited in the comments last time:

1. Continuing from the idea that “Albert” is the Albert Einstein statue in Washington, D.C. (it was unveiled only two years before the game was made; the timely connection makes it more rather than less likely) I noted two JFK-associated locations and the natural history museum (there’s a reference to the Pleistocene).

These nearly form a line, especially because the JFK center extends south a little from where Google has marked it. Still easily could be a coincidence, but given the repeated JFK references and the mention of Zachary Taylor I’d say the chances this is the area we want are at least over 50%.

2. I need to explore this more, but note one of the clues read “144”. There are 144 angles across the sky that can be found by combining two astrological symbols, and there are two specific symbols mentioned (Sagittarius as the symbol itself, Aquarius in words) in addition to a reference to “billions of stars may show you the way”. This is combined with multiple temperature references (like “Warmer Than Others”) to suggest that we *don’t* want to use the dead of winter (since Zodiac signs represent both a time of year and an angle).

I haven’t sat down and fully worked out how this would play out on the map, though, so if anyone wants to go wild in the comments, feel free.

Here are the clues I’ve found since last time.

I am suspecting the assorted word fragments need to be joined and anagrammed. This was used at the start of Kaves of Karkhan, Level-10’s previous game.

You may wonder why the color is different here. This is from the opening area, a 6 by 10 rectangle on the lower-right corner of my map. Everywhere else has the white walls.

Are these signed initials?

Sometime next week I am going to get back to playing regular adventure games and intersperse these posts. I’d like to finish at least one thorough pass through Arkemstone looking for clues, first.

Posted February 7, 2020 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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9 responses to “Alkemstone: Still Searching

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  1. For what it’s worth, Zachary Taylor was initially interred in the Congressional Cemetery, before being transferred back to Kentucky. And the Congressional Cemetery is kinda on the same line as the other things.

    Those T.S. initials don’t look like T.S. Eliot’s actual signature, but that’s what I associate those initials with (Taylor Swift not having been born yet).

    • I went through about half this list but nothing rang any bells.

      https://peoplebyinitials.com/?q=TS

      • That’s a pretty post-1981 list!

        Eliot is definitely where my mind goes with this one, but I expect that the solution is likely to be some moon logic thing that only the designer can fully comprehend, along the lines of “In each painting, a line must be drawn from each depicted creature’s left eye through the longest digit on its left hand, and out to one of the letters in the page border.” And if it’s something to do with a playground, that seems like one of the most likely things to have been demolished in the meantime.

  2. Eliot observed that “April is the cruellest month.” Judging by this game he may have been two months too late.

  3. Y’know, it looks a little like Tau Zeta to me. Which… could be some initials of Zachary Taylor? Though they’re in reverse order. I had thought Tau Zeta and then I saw Zachary Taylor’s name up there and it made me think of it.

    Other thoughts:
    The thing on the ground in front of the “Zachary Taylor” in your first post reminds me a little of a broken snake, like the “Join or die” snake though it’s a different shape.
    Maybe the line about “a billion stars” there has something to do with the National Air and Space Museum? That’s approximately in the same line as everything else, though really, many things are.

  4. I am trying to build a compendium so the clues can be tracked along with the map and notes for easy reference. I will post a link once it’s up, but for the immediate moment I am having trouble collating the existing clues. I cannot find anywhere on the map image that corresponds to:

    1) mclue.png (“-cide”)
    2) xclue6.png (“My Third…”)
    3) xclue7.png (“My First…”)
    4) The second “Wherever you may roam…” (there’s one on the map, but Jason has posted two – mclue2.png and zclue9.png)

    I was also wondering if it would be possible to get full-size images for all the clues? I’ve noticed that some are very cropped (xclue3.png, xclue18.png, etc.), and it seems like the placement on the wall/floor/ceiling could be relevant, since not everything is centered. But without the full image, it is impossible to tell where the clues were placed.

    Much appreciated if anyone can help me out.

    I also noticed that the MobyGames screenshots included a “sun shadowing a pyramid” kind of thing, that is says was a “subliminal message flashing on and off”. Does that mean it periodically blinks up on the screen while you are looking at the normal title screen?

    Thanks,
    – Casey

    • As mentioned in the post, the -cide one is from Mobygames. I don’t know where it is either.

      The double “roam” one is because the first screen came from Mobygames, but I found it myself so I took a second picture.

      Xclue6, 7, and 8 are all from the exact same place. You head into a dead-end and turn left to see 6, face forward to see 7, and turn right to see 8. (This is the only place where this happens, which led me to suspect it was a meta-clue-organizing clue, but that’s still up in the air.)

      I might get some re-shots sometime but it will be a while.

      You can try the online version to see how the title screen looks (although keep in mind it was meant to run on an Apple ][, not a //e, so it’s a little faster than it should be)

      https://archive.org/details/Alkemstone4amCrack

      I

    • Just to keep you in the loop, my next Alkemstone post will likely be Wednesday.

      I’ll try to get a couple of those screenshots then.

  5. I haven’t had time to work on it yet, so it’s not really usable, but I put up the zygote at:

    https://caseymuratori.com/alkemstone

    The idea is that you can look around the map, click on any room you want to see the clue for, and the clues are “sticky” down at the bottom so you can study sets of them at a time as you ponder. When I get a chance I’ll clean up the UI and make it usable (it’s total garbage right now), as well as attach the current best theories about each clue from the comments here. Feel free to e-mail directly if you think it’s useful and have modifications in mind.

    Cheers,
    – Casey

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