Thursday, May 31, 2007

Snowcraft

I don't know how I've managed to miss this game for all these years, but it's quite fun. Snowcraft is just a bunch of kids having a snowball fight, but the sound effects in particular are enormously entertaining. And the game itself, though simple, is rather addictive.

To play, just click on one your of your kids and hold the mouse down while you position him, then let go and he'll throw a snowball. If you don't hold the mouse button down long enough, your snowball won't go very far. But it's not hard to get the hang of that part. What gets hard is when you become outnumbered, one or two extras are manageable... but I haven't managed to get much further than that yet.

Have fun!

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Monday, May 28, 2007

The Crimson Room

Originally posted 4.07.2005 on Limes with Orange.

I was playing The Crimson Room, a mystery/puzzle game on eBaum's World, but it was kind of frustrating because one of the clues points to a website that no longer exists.

So if you're trying to solve this game, the memo with the url "http://www.datacraft.co.jp/takagism/rr/history.html" is supposed to lead you to the number "1994".

The other puzzle piece that gave me a bit of grief was the thing that is supposed to fall out of the curtain. I must have clicked those damn curtains about 20 times before I got what I needed. There are walkthroughs out there, but I doubt you'll need them as long as you've got the "1994" info. (Though if you want one more hint: don't click the crosshairs until AFTER the movie finishes. I hope that's sufficiently cryptic.)

I also found the prequel and sequel at MilkandCookies.com: The Blue Chamber and The Viridian Room.

For hints on those two games Read more...

Hints for The Blue Chamber:
1. This room was the prequel and is pretty simple, there was only one point that I got stuck on... have you ever noticed that a skull and crossbones looks a little like the star (*) on your phone?

Hints for The Viridian Room (without giving too much away, I hope):
1. Once you fold back the blanket, click lots on the object underneath because one of the things you're trying to find doesn't show up until you click a few times;
2. You can't collect the blanket until you've found everything that you need underneath it;
3. If the trash can refuses to budge, make sure you examine every item in your possession then try again (and after you've examined items, click "try to escape" to get back to the game);
4. The dates in the diary might come in handy;
5. Don't give up after a few blank pages;
6. Apparently hair is for burning.

Enjoy!

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Escape the Library

Escape the Library is a fun and fairly simple escape the room game. The trick is to watch out for red herring objects, because once you've picked them up you're stuck with them and you might run out of inventory spots. (You can, however, put stuff back on the table if you've taken it off of the table in the first place.)

What you're actually looking for is a bunch of little tiles that you'll solve a puzzle with later. Although, as usual, there are other objects that you will need in order to find all the tiles. The trick is figuring out which ones will be useful and which are the red herrings.

I'll give you one hint and one link...
Hint: Some drinks really need straws for drinking.
Link: Quad Puzzle - This is a variation on a puzzle that you'll need to solve in the course of this game. Thought it might be good for practice.

If you want more help than that, check out the Escape the Library thread at Nordinho.net. If you want a walkthrough, there's one in the comments over at the Escape Library.

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Mazito 2: Text Map

Originally posted 5.23.2005 on Limes with Orange.

I seem to be getting a lot of hits from people looking for hints or answers to Mazito 2. Well, I'm working on the puzzle but haven't solved it yet. So far the routes I've taken are:

1-2-3-4-5-96-26-39-49-56-76

1-2-3-4-5-96-26-39-49-54-44-17-71-37-92-10 ---> so I have the first piece of paper

1-2-3-4-5-95-34-63-47-51-79-68

1-2-3-4-5-95-34-63-47-52-84-30-42-81-35-94-12 ---> which gives me the third piece of paper

1-2-3-4-5-91-27-57-41-69-187-89-98-31-74

1-2-3-4-5-91-27-57-41-69(url change)-73-11 ---> finally have the middle piece of paper

Read more...

paper jump ---> 101-138-146-16-75-129-65-93-167-77-58-24

paper jump ---> 101-138-146-16-75-129-65-93-167(url change)-86-25-74

paper jump ---> 101-138-146-16-75-129-65-93-167(url change)-86(url change)-21-53

paper jump ---> 101-138-146-16-75-129-65-93-167(url change)-86(url change)-21(url change)-19-1 (going in circles)

paper jump ---> 101-138-146-16-75-129-65-93-167(url change)-86(url change)-21(url change)-19(url change)-1a-2a-3a-4a-5a-178-77 (going in circles)

paper jump ---> 101-138-146-16-75-129-65-93-167(url change)-86(url change)-21(url change)-19(url change)-1a-2a-3a-4a-5a-178(url change)-8-"file not found"-60-132-70-15-164-18-66-145-22-80-85-128-88-136-82-48-61-14-31

paper jump ---> 101-138-146-16-75-129-65-93-167(url change)-86(url change)-21(url change)-19(url change)-1a-2a-3a-4a-5a-178(url change)-8-"file not found"-60-132-70-15-164-18-66-145-22-80-85-128-88-13-143-107-198

paper jump ---> 101-138-146-16-75-129-65-93-167(url change)-86(url change)-21(url change)-19(url change)-1a-2a-3a-4a-5a-178(url change)-8-"file not found"-60-132-70-15-164-18-66-145-22-62-20-126

paper jump ---> 101-138-146-16-75-129-65-93-167(url change)-86(url change)-21(url change)-19(url change)-1a-2a-3a-4a-5a-178(url change)-8-"file not found"-60-132-70-15-164-172-83-25-74

paper jump ---> 101-138-146-159-50 (going in circles)

1-6-33-50-40-23

My instincts tell me that the path with the "file not found" is the right one, so I think I've gone astray somewhere between Room 60 and Room 31 on that route. I'll post hints when I'm finished (if I ever am). In the meantime, I recommend checking out the forums at Nordinho.net or I Am Bored.com.

P.S. If you're looking for my hints for the first Mazito, go here.


P.P.S. Here's the post that I wrote after I solved Mazito 2.

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

A Sampling of Simple Games

A few simple, soothing games for your enjoyment:

Boomshine
Crazy Ladybugs
Grid Lock
Sobics

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Friday, May 25, 2007

Human Joysticks

Like most people, I hate ads before movies. Well, maybe there's an end in sight. According to Boing Boing:
MSNBC.com has done a deal with cinemas in the US to replace the dumb pre-movie ads with a giant, participatory game. The game is Newsbreaker, a simple break-out style game that rewards you for clearing lines by dropping real-time RSS news headlines, but the gameplay is the cool part: a motion sensor in the theater allows the entire audience to control the paddle by swaying in unison from side to side.

Check out this video of audience members moving as one to become a giant human joystick:

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Mazito

Originally posted 5.05.2005 on Limes with Orange.

Came across another cool puzzle game called The Mazito. It's a url fabrication game like Not Pr0n with an interesting maze-like twist. A few general hints:

1. At least one "File Not Found" and/or "Dead End" page is lying.
2. Beware of hidden words or numbers.
3. Sometimes you need to look at things backwards, sideways or upside down.
4. Some questions have more than one answer.
5. Photoshop is very helpful for matching colours.
6. The url info at the bottom of every page may seem redundant and repetitive, but ignore it at your peril.
7. Some links that may or may not help with some of the puzzles:

Ascii Table
Chemistry - The Periodic Table
Freecell
Google
Introduction to Cryptography
Inventors Hall of Fame
Morse Code
Number Converter: Binary/Decimal/Hexadecimal
One Across - Crossword Puzzle Help
Quotations Page
Resistor Colour Code
USA Maps and Information Page
Wacky Wordies
Wikipedia List of Occupations
Wikipedia article on pianists

Read more...

And if you need more specific help, you can always check out this forum:
Nordinho.net Forums - The Mazito

Some other riddle type games that I've discovered while I should be doing other, more productive, things:

The New Quiz (pretty straightforward... temporarily offline)
The Stone (challenging, time consuming but satisfying... oh, and you need to set up a profile before you play)
Zest (more difficult than Mazito, less satisfying than The Stone, but pretty cool nonetheless)

P.S. For the overwhelming number of people who end up on this site after searching for "http://www.datacraft.co.jp/takagism/rr/history.html", you probably want to head over to my Crimson Room post which is soon to be bumped off the front page and into the blog archives. Ditto for those of you looking for hints for Arcane: The Miller Estate & The Stone Circle.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Hoshi Saga

I found another simple little game called Hoshi Saga. The goal is to discover the star hidden in each of the 36 levels. It's more soothing than exciting, but still kind of addictive.

I had a little trouble on level 11, not that it was tricky to figure out, but apparently my hand-eye coordination leaves something to be desired and my nudging was a little overly enthusiastic. The other ones that had me scratching my head a bit were 31 (again not hard, just tedious and no actual clicking involved which is what stumped me briefly) and 33 (I think my "slicing" was mostly too slow or in the wrong place). But all in all, a fun game that you can definitely figure out on your own with a little logic, a little patience and a little outside-the-box thinking (and a smidge of some super quick typing).

Or, if patience isn't your thing, there are hints available on Nordinho.net. And if you want a complete walkthrough, head over to Jayisgames.com. Have fun!

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Mazito Games

I will gradually be moving all of my Mazito posts over from Limes with Orange. For now, I'm just collecting them in one place. I'll update the links as they migrate.

To play the games:
The Mazito
Mazito 2
Mazito 3

For my hints, links and text maps:
The Mazito
Mazito 2: Text Map
Mazito 2 Solved
Mazito 3
Mazito 3 Text Map
I Did It!

Enjoy!

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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Bathroom Escape

For all you Escape the Room fans, here's yet another one: Bathroom Escape. This one is quite easy (although it's supposed to be harder than it is, but it's glitchy and the glitches actually make it pretty simple)... the main thing you need to figure out is what to do with the soggy toilet paper.

If you want to play it the way it was meant to be played, ignore that white blob to the left of the screen when you're facing the sink and window. I'm not sure if it's visible in every browser, but it shouldn't be there. (That would be the glitch.)

If you do run into any problems, you can always head over to the Bathroom Escape thread at Nordino.net.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Sony Losing its Lead

Has Sony priced themselves out of the market with its PS3? According to Ubisoft Entertainment's chief executive, Yves Guillemot, they have.

This article in the Globe and Mail stated that Guillemot expects the degree of the decline to be linked to pricing on the PS3. It currently sells for $600 (U.S.) in the United States, $200 more than the top-end Xbox 360 from Microsoft and $350 above Nintendo's Wii.

Representatives from the Paris-based Ubisoft worked closely with Nintendo developers to customize its games for the Wii's motion-sensing controller, which has become a relatively low-tech hit.

"The game play has to be the key factor. With very high-end machines, we tend to forget," he said.

Too true.

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Les Aventures d'Oriel

Originally posted 7.30.2005 on Limes with Orange.

I've had lots of people looking for a walkthrough for Les Adventures d'Oriel, so here are my tips: part walkthrough, part detailed hints. If you want to figure it out on your own (which is definitely doable), I would advise against reading the following because it contains major spoilers. (If you're one of the many people stuck on the 4th level: 2408, it's probably a question of timing not that you don't know what you're supposed to do. I'm trying to figure out a consistent technique for getting the right timing there... if and when I do, I'll post it.)

Level 1, Before the Colonisation:

1. Past the bear, who needs to be distracted with something so that the bear doesn't eat Oriel. Is there something else he might want to eat instead?
2. Across the river, but there's no bridge there. Is there anything long enough to be a bridge? And how could you chop it down?
3. Up the hill, but that raincloud looks menacing. I wonder how you could stop that raindancer from summoning the rain? Is there anything that you could cover him up with?
4. From hilltop to hilltop, but again there's no bridge. Any chance that he could walk across something as insubstantial as a cloud of smoke?
5. To the island hilltop, but Oriel gets scared by the chief. Maybe the chief could be scared away by something stinky...
6. But that stinky something will also scare Oriel, so find something to cover him up with so that Oriel doesn't even see him.
7. Down to the dock, but he'll walk right off it into the water if there's no vessel waiting for him.

Read more...

Level 2, The Fondation:

1. Oriel will be arriving by ship, but there's a whale and an iceberg in the way. How could you get rid of them?
2. Off the boat: It's always a good idea to moor the boat and unload its boxes before you disembark.
3. Around the town square: When the priest rings the churchbell, snow falls off the roof. Make sure it doesn't fall on top of Oriel.
4. Oriel gets startled by the giggling girls if they're still outside. Try to find someone to call them into their house.
5. Oriel can also be startled by the obnoxious guy selling ham, so maybe it's time to close up shop.
6. Up to the rooftops, but they look kinda slippery. A ladder might come in handy.
7. Off the rooftops to the top of the cliff, but no bridge in sight. But is there something that could work as a bridge?

Level 3, 1908:

1. Along the rooftop, past the obnoxious birds. I hear that birds are sometimes distracted by the smell of baking pie. Anybody in any of the apartments that could help you out?
2. Off the rooftop onto the wall, but how to prevent him from falling? There's an awning/umbrella that might be helpful somehow.
3. From the wall to the street, but the turret (that leads to a staircase, I guess) is too low. I wonder if you can adjust the height?
4. Past the newsboy, who is bound to startle the oh-so-easily startled Oriel. Unless you click on him making him get all itchy, stop shouting and drop his paper. Hey, I wonder if anyone might be interested in reading that paper?
5. Past the door: Make sure it doesn't open at the wrong time. Maybe you can block it somehow.
6. Past the strongman, who could also startle Oriel unless he's otherwise occupied.
7. Past the dog, another potential source of startlement... unless you can find him a bone...

Level 4, 2408:

1. Past the bus stop, so get rid of all the people waiting there... maybe by giving them what they're waiting for.
2. Past the crazy electric dome, which needs to be disabled. I wonder if there's any way to short circuit it? What shorts out electrical stuff?
3. Over the pointy roof (which apparently can generate a psychedelic force field bridge... temporarily).
4. Up to the next level... this part's very tricky since timing is crucial. Once Oriel gets to the yellow tree, mouseover it to bounce him up to the next level.
5. Up another level: a crane might come in handy right about now.
6. Go for a ride: but if you're gonna fly a spaceship, you better make sure it's all charged up.
7. Watch out for vacuums that could suck you up. Maybe you can plug the opening with something.

If you're looking for similar games, check out my post about point-and-click games.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Understanding Games

Play along with Bub and Bob!


Check out this series of short animation/games that set out to explain how and why video games work -- what they're composed of, how they're played, and how they're designed. A little simplistic but interesting and fun!

Understanding Games: Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3, Episode 4.

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Spooks' Spy Academy

Originally posted 1.20.2005 on Limes with Orange

I've been getting some hits on my posts about the Spy Academy over at the BBC Spooks site, so I thought I'd give my comments and tips (along with my high scores) for the various missions:

Trace — 99%
I quite enjoy this mission. One tip to help speed things up... if you lock in the symbols on the reels on both sides of a particular reel, that middle reel will automatically lock the correct symbol into place when it comes around again. That way you can focus on other reels.

Descramble — 91%
The first part of this mission requires you to clean up the scrambled transmission. This part is fairly easy. First use the slider to alter the amplitude (height). (The manual suggests reducing the height of all of the waves to start with, but I don't find the other waves distracting so have found the time taken to reduce them is just a waste.) Then use the dials to adjust the frequency (width)... just be careful to use small motions with the mouse since you want to stop your adjustments as soon as the wave goes grey.

Next it's time to descramble the message. Since the message will always be the same, your score should improve with each attempt as you become familiar with the order of the words and phrases: "Okay and meet me and collect the package from a hundred and twenty six ***** at 6:30. Then drop it off across town at the agreed location. Don't mess this up. We don't want to attract any unnecessary attention. And make sure you're not followed."
***[Is he saying "Chilton" here? I never managed to figure out this particular part of the message.]***

Read more...

Firewall — 60%
My worst score on the GRID is for this mission and I'm not quite sure how to improve it. My technique: Before each round, I quickly check the Functions. First counting the number of Splitters (good) and Combiners (bad) on each side, then counting the little arrows that represent Breakers (bad), then checking Boosters and Reversers (which look the same, but have opposite effects depending on which side they're on) and the colour of any orphan nodes (that don't connect to either side). Then I pick the side that looks most promising. Once the round starts, I first send charges to convert the nodes that have no access to the other side and the ones with Boosters. Once those are converted, I wait to convert the other nodes until after the computer, as recommended in the manual (trying not to wait so long that I run out of time). I find that an average result for me is three nodes left unconverted. I consider two nodes pretty decent and one node really good. Only once did I manage to convert them all. Anybody have any ideas on how to improve my score?

[Addendum: I managed to increase my score ever so slightly to 63%. This was with leaving only 2 nodes unconverted on the first round, 1 in the second, converting all nodes in the third, then leaving only 2, 1, 3 and 2 nodes in the final four rounds respectively. So that averages to less than 2 nodes left unconverted per round. I think something is very wrong with the scoring system on this mission. Perhaps it's time to email the game designer and ask what the heck they were thinking.]

Car Tail — 80%
Another mission that I'm not very good at. I just happened to luck out with that 80% one time. Not quite sure how I managed that since I usually score closer to 65%, so I'm afraid I don't have a lot of advice here.

[Addendum: I have since improved my score to 99%. The trick is to keep the tail pretty hot and actually get too close a couple of times, making the subject race away. Just make sure that you do it by plan and not accident, so that you have another car ready for the subject to race towards. My mistake before was trying to keep the indicator on or below the middle, when it should average more like 3/4 of the way to the top.]

Lock Pick — 99%
This mission is pretty easy once you get the hang of it. I had problems with the appropriate amount of torque at first, but I settled into a routine of tapping the space bar on every other tap of the arrow keys (after holding it down for the first few taps to build up sufficient torque initially). The first level has four pins, each of which only needs to be tapped in two alternating directions (indicated by the arrows). The second level has five pins, still only two directions. The next level has six pins with three alternating directions. The last level has seven pins and uses all four directions. Practice makes perfect.

Surveillance — 99%
This one is pretty simple. Take note of the suspect shown in the video footage above "last visual contact." Pay particular attention to his hairline, clothing and backpack. Then watch the footage from the other cameras until you spot him. You can fast forward by dragging the scrolling playhead with the mouse, just be careful not to go so fast that you miss him. As soon as you see him, pause the video on a good shot of him (rewind if you need to). Then click the contact button to send the image to the field team.

Patch — 99%
This mission is my favourite. I think it reminds me a bit of Tetris in that you have to rearrange objects spatially... bringing order to chaos, as it were. The first couple of levels are very straightforward. Then you start to get interlocking circuit chains and new circuits being added as you're trying to re-route the original ones. The key at this point is to start with the chains that are already interlocking or running alongside each other. You may have to move several circuit chains to make room to complete one. Just try to figure out the fewest number of moves that will do the job. And don't forget that circuits can be aligned diagonally as well as horizontally. Oh yeah, and if you get ahead of the system and clear all the circuits on the board, don't send the charge (i.e. hit the CTRL key) until it tells you to "send charge"... more circuits may be on their way. And premature charging will fail and fry the system.

Garbology — 92%
I hate this mission. For one thing, it depends too much on what random objects you're given. But mostly, as far as I'm concerned, it requires too much fanciful speculation based on gross generalizations and not enough in the way of actual logical deductions. Basically, the narrower you can make the ranges, the better. (I assume that you can actually refine them too much but since the program doesn't provide that sort of feedback, I tend to ignore that possibility.) In general, unless there's anything to suggest the extreme ends of the spectrum, you can probably knock off things like very bad diet or obese, etc. Some ways that I narrow things down:
Gender: birth control pills, bra... female; wooly hat, work boot... male.
Age: birth control... under 40; wooly hat... under 25 (I know this sounds ridiculous, but it seems to work)
Language: there will usually be a newspaper that indicates this.
Education: pen, study notes, exam papers... increase; tabloid newspaper... decrease
Income: tube ticket, probable student... reduce income; airline tickets... increase income.
Diet: fruit, green tea... good; bacon, fried food, sweets... bad.
Health: medications, smoking... bad; gym membership... good. (And don't forget to factor a good or bad diet into health.)
Smoker: the obvious cigarette package & the less obvious box of matches.
Build: gym membership, good diet... smaller build.
Height: small shoe size... shorter; you can also make some assumptions based on gender here (i.e. chicks are shorter than guys).

Infiltration — 97%
If you're in story mode, once you complete your assignments you can go on an infiltration mission. The first part of the mission is a pretty intense session of patching. I recommend brushing up on your patch assignment before starting. The next section is creating a clean video loop (just watch out for the security guard... you don't want to catch him on tape or start playing your video loop when he's in the middle of your screen). The final section is a bit of lock picking. It's on par with the final level of the lock pick mission, so be prepared.

I'll add the training missions soon. Good luck & have fun!

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Introduction to My Inner Game Geek

I've decided to create this new blog in order to separate my game posts from my personal blog. I've realized that most gamers aren't so much interested in the rest of my blog and most of my regular readers just skip the game posts anyway.

So for my inaugural post allow me to suggest checking out I am Bored.com for an assortment of online games. My current addiction is Milpa. Don't ask me why, as it's a very simple point and click game where you rotate to get the same crops in a row. But I find it strangely relaxing. (My current high score is 14,160 in Year 12. I can't quite fathom how people manage scores like 40,000... am I missing something?)

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