Saturday, 27 May 2017

Fascination - Won!

Written by Ilmari


Finally!
I was so close last time. Reading the hints Voltgloss gave me in ROT13 showed that I had failed to see something quite obvious. Turns out, I had almost the right idea - I had to play the notes B, A+, D, G and E with the organ, when the correct zodiac sign was chosen on the wheel. What I did wrong was to pick the the birthday of Kenneth Miller, when I should have thought about the birthday of Peter “Doc” Hillgate, who actually owned this mansion. The problem was that the latter date was not given anywhere in a straightforward manner. Instead, I had read in a newspaper that Doc had celebrated his birthday couple of months ago (a suitably vague information). Combined with the current date, which I could find out from the newspapers I had been reading, I should have been able to determine a rough estimate of Doc’s birth date and his zodiac sign. Well, in practice I just tried through all the signs and at one point it all clicked.

At the end of the secret passage I found a cell, and in it, a prisoner who had passed out - was this perhaps the true Kenneth Miller?


How to get out of here?

My final task was to get me and the prisoner out. The cell door had an electronic lock, and the game underlined that the wires from the central unit were all bare. I found a lighter in the person of the prisoner, and I had been carrying all those newspapers with me. This was a familiar puzzle - I just had to light the paper and the sprinkler system would short circuit the wires leading to the lock.

What’s this then?


 
Basically this


Between highly appreciated Se7en (1995) and much praised Fight Club (1999) David Fincher directed a somewhat lesser known thriller, The Game. The movie follows the investment banker Van Orton - played in his regular wooden style by Michael Douglas - who receives as a birthday gift from his brother a voucher for The Game. In a typical Fincher fashion, it quickly turns out that The Game is more than it seems - it is in fact a highly convoluted conspiracy for relieving Van Orton of his fortune. After numerous turns of the plot - involving Van Orton killing his brother and committing a suicide by jumping off a roof - it is revealed that it was all, after all, just a game. The brother wasn’t dead and Van Orton’s drop ends on a safety cushion. Hey, what could be a cooler birthday gift for your beloved bro than a gigantic adventure game in real life?

The ending of The Game has often been ridiculed as its worst part, because it is nothing more than a variation of the cliched “it was all just a dream” -trope, with which lazy writers can return dead people to life and basically just cancel all the previous plot developments. Well, Fincher wasn’t the first person to use this particular ending, because, you guessed it, Fascination has all along been nothing but a game.

Yes, all the people I’ve met have been actors and it has all been just a “lifesize murder party”, which has been tested upon an innocent victim by a role-playing games company. This is literally where the game ends. I can chat up with the characters and hear what they think about my performance, but nothing else happens. I think I’ll save my comments about the plot resolution for the Final Rating.

Session time: 0.5 hours
Total time: 9.5 hours

9 comments:

  1. Congratulations on finishing! It's a very strange ending and I can't wait to hear your write-up.

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    1. Yeah, it's a bit like they ran out of ideas and just decided to stop the whole thing... It would have been a good ending for a different game (for instance, if it would have been an adventure game version of Monty Python and the Holy Grail), but now it just doesn't really fit the rest of the game.

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    2. You know that exists, right? (An adventure game version of Monty Python and the Holy Grail). Wonder if there's a way to get *that* going on modern hardware.

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    3. I have played that Holy Grail game but I remember it as being something of a click-fest without much of a game attached.

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    4. There are at least two such games, although only one of them is official:

      http://www.mobygames.com/game/quest-for-the-holy-grail
      http://www.mobygames.com/game/monty-python-the-quest-for-the-holy-grail

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  2. I actually liked the Game (the movie that is, never played this game) and the ending didn't bother me, but never knew it was David Lynch behind it. Kinda explains the surrealism of it though.

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    1. I liked the Game also, but I guess you confused David Lynch (Twin Peaks) with David Fincher (House of Cards).

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    2. Doh! My mistake, case of reading to fast and filling in the blanks, especially when everyone talks about David Lynch at the moment with the new Twin Peaks. Although I get the feeling that I have confused those two for a very long time.

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  3. Fun fact: You need to collect at least 5 of the 6 newspapers to solve the final puzzle. Otherwise, you can't get a big enough fire going to activate the sprinklers and short out the wires.

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