The Minskytron lives!

A long while ago I mentioned on the previous iteration of this blog that I was working on a JavaScript implementation of the Minskytron, that mysterious display hack mentioned in Steven Levy's book Hackers and archived in various places online. Well, it's good that I never actually posted the code, because someone else took the concept way farther than I could ever have. So I invite you to check out this page at masswek.at which not only displays the Minskytron but also several other classic PDP display demos, including the infamous "Munching Squares" hack.

So now that this project has been successfully completed by someone else, I can turn my attention to other work on my plate (and eventually waiting for it to also be done by someone else). One of my current pastimes is The Witness (no, not the Infocom game). This is the new game by the creator of Braid, a game that you may fondly remember.

The Witness is like Myst on steroids, where you're exploring a mysterious island trying to figure out what you're doing there. The main thing that The Witness has going for it is the huge amount of puzzles that it offers you.

100% of the puzzles that you are presented with are some variation of maze. Some are simple, some are incredible complex. Some mazes have little icons in them, and you have to figure out what the icons represent. (You have to split up some colors of small boxes, for example, while other colors can peacefully co-exist with others.) You apparently do not have to solve all of the mazes to complete the game, but that's cold comfort as you will be solving an awful lot of mazes during the game. At some points it feels like you're having to solve an entire book of puzzles sequentially, and while there are other locations to visit when you're frustrated on one particular puzzle, it's not unusual to have several areas all stuck on difficult points at any given time.

Oh, and of course you have to figure out the rules of each maze & icon as you play the game. No instructions are provided, because why would you? It's another example of a needlessly complicated world left abandoned by its creators, presumably because they all got too tired of forgetting the rules for each maze and simply moved to another island where you don't have to solve a maze every time you want to open a door.

I've solved three of the however-many-there-are areas as of this writing, and the ones that are left to solve look terribly complex. So maybe in about a week or two I'll be done with this, and then I can reflect on what it all means. For now, though, I'm frustrated at mazes and wandering about hopelessly.

This article is my 52nd oldest. It is 471 words long