Goblins: Everything is Magic   2 comments

With everything (mostly) mapped, it was time to tackle the puzzles. I got two from meta-thinking.

The first one involved an animation:

Now, this comes from early in the game – in fact, it was the first thing that happened to me – and I had just happened to have read the in-game instructions, which mention DUCK as a command. DUCK, in fact, works to avoid dying, and you can pick up the boomerang afterward.

This is entirely a visual puzzle. I found it mystifying at first just reacting to something displayed on screen as opposed to parsing text and thinking about it.

I later decided it would be a good idea to hunt for verbs, so I went through a big test list and came up with some the game seemed to accept:

CUT, DUCK, PUSH, OPEN, UNLOCK, CLIMB, READ, WEAR, DRINK, EAT, JUMP, THROW, GIVE, KNOCK, PLAY, RUB, WAVE, HIT, BREAK, KILL, SQUEEZE

If a verb isn’t recognized at all the game says “I CAN’T DO THAT”. If it is recognized it will either attempt the action (for a verb like DUCK) or say “TRY TWO WORDS – MAYBE”.

This list isn’t necessarily comprehensive, but it gave me a starting point. In particular, looking at the fact KNOCK worked, and remember there was a place later with a locked door, I tried KNOCK and it worked, netting me a treasure inside. (This was yet another meta-solve; not really the sort of thing that makes sense if we imagine the “real character” in the world trying to figure the problem out, just me leveraging the system of the game.)

Also, this was another purely visual room, with no text description or feedback that the action solved a puzzle other than the graphics changed.

Unfortunately, further progress required the “try everything on everything” strategy. Essentially, you have to assume everything is magic, and the magic will do nothing unless you are in the right place. For example, there’s a piece of cheese that says “VERY TASTY” if you eat it – fair enough, maybe there’s a mouse later or someone you can bribe? Apparently, though, the magic works if you’re next to a tiny hole …

… at which point eating the cheese shrinks you down and you can enter. Really, this wouldn’t be bad except for it not making any sense the cheese only working to shrink the player when near the hole. Alas, this game falls to the too-common error of letting magic do anything with no particular logic to it, so the player is just forced to experiment wildly.

Take, for example this puzzle:

Would you think to DROP LIME?

I guess there’s … some sort of vague pun involved, because there is lime in some cement, but that’s a totally different kind of lime than the one you eat, and you can otherwise treat the limes like normal limes. If you THROW LIME in an adjacent room, you can get by the quicksand without dying, and find a caterpillar. The way things are going I expect the caterpillar to shoot out laser beams and open a portal to an alternate dimension as long as it’s dropped in a random spot in the forest.

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Posted December 19, 2018 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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2 responses to “Goblins: Everything is Magic

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  1. I’ve always wondered about the history of quicksand being a thing that people worry about. When I was a kid in the 70s it was definitely a thing that you were actually afraid of, and there were theories about what to do if you got stuck in quicksand and why quicksand was what it was, and then it seems like it completely vanished and in retrospect no one has ever gotten stuck in quicksand. What was up with that?

    Anyway I find the lime thing funny though even after knowing what was going on I would never come up with THROW LIME.

  2. Slate article with more than you ever wanted go know (including slightly nsfw parts) http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2010/08/terra_infirma.html

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